Micro Improvements for Continual, Gentle Renewal

Micro Improvements for Continual, Gentle Renewal

Posted on Jan 13, 2022

We’re here this month to advocate for a re-evaluation of our culture’s annual ‘New Year, New You’ tradition. 

January has become the month when we all take a hard, critical look at ourselves. When we arrest the slow physical and spiritual decline of the previous year, and assert to ourselves and the world that we’re going to start over.

Is it pessimistic, cynical and defeatist to acknowledge how rarely these good intentions stick? Perhaps. But the stats are there to back up the view – 80% of new year resolutions don’t survive into February.

Achievable change

Well, we want to take a more optimistic and positive tone here, because we do truly believe that personal change and transformation is possible, it just requires an adjustment of perspective.

Change and transformation is doable through small steps towards a near and known horizon; not through radical overhauls or sudden changes of direction.

Doing a few small things well – think micro adjustments – and doing them often, is ultimately easier than attempting one massive but unsustainable self-improvement project at the beginning of each year.

Small changes are easier to turn into habits that require less deliberate effort. And once a new habit has been established, you can spend that newly won effort on establishing the next new habit. Doing this gradually over time – with new but minor adjustments each week, each month, each season – is surely a better path to growth than the annual festival of short-lived personal renewal we currently demand of ourselves.

Finding your reward

One objection to this approach is that health improvements brought by good lifestyle choices accrue slowly over time; we don’t get the instant reward and gratification that comes with making a radical change – when even that reward is the shallow sense of good intentions, rather than the actual outcome of the choice. 

To counter this objection, just as we suggest setting near-term goals for self-improvement and habit setting, try looking further back when you reflect on yourself. Our recent personal history can easily dominate our thinking when we review our progress towards self-improvement. Instead, specifically reflect on how your behaviours and habits might have changed over months and years, and the sense of difference will be a much stronger motivational force than the you of last week. 

Keeping a journal helps. But in case that habit is one of the ones on the to do list, even browsing old photos, or news website archives might help with the recall of your earlier self. We’ll refrain from recommending a deep dive into your social media history though, assuming that partial withdrawal from social platforms is one of those incremental lifestyle improvements on your to-do list.

It’s in the context of forming micro habits that regular use of a Sensate comes into its own. While plenty of people have reported to us that they do feel instant benefits and quick improvements to their wellbeing, some of Sensate’s most profound benefits will be enjoyed through a regular and consistent use of the device, building up incrementally over time.