Each year millions of people set goals and a lot of people even set monthly goals as well. I’ve always been a huge goal setter but also know it’s important to focus on habits first. No one can reach a goal without developing solid habits.

Habits are those small decisions and actions we take each day that add up to larger results. For example, if you’re out of shape you don’t just one day wake up and be able to reach your goal of running marathon. Odds are, you have to develop certain habits to help you work your way up to this level of success.

When it comes to having a successful daily routine, eliminating procrastination and getting more meaningful work done, maintaining the right habits is key. I recently started reading a popular book called Atomic Habits where the author recommends readers focus on those small but powerful habits to make improvements 1% at a time.

The Importance of Getting 1% Better

One percent doesn’t sound like much, but it makes a huge difference when it comes to developing solid habits. In Atomic Habits, author James Clear shares the theory that habits are the compound interest of self-improvement. I completely agree. 

Even though a 1% change may not seem like much, it adds up over time and makes it easier to make a 2% or 5% change. Before you know it, your habits are worked into your daily lifestyle and you start to get the results you’ve always wanted.

It’s not about the goal so much but the systems you put in place for long-term results. The small atomic habits you develop will build on each other and compound your results over time. When you think about it, this is the only way people get things done and reach certain levels of success. You won’t magically wake up one day and be some super productive and intentional person. However, by developing solid habits, you can get the results you want over time and maintain them in the long run.

Here are 5 easy atomic habits that can increase your productivity and help you reach more goals.

Add 1 Hour Back to Your Day

This is one of my favorite atomic habits. It’s one of the first things I did when I started getting serious about developing solid habits. Right now, I wake up around 6:30 am on weekdays and 7:30 am on weekends. Some people ask why I wake up so early or how I do it and there’s really no explanation. It’s just a habit I’ve developed over time and my body has gotten accustomed to it.

I love waking up early because it adds more time back to my day where I can actively work on something. Granted, there have been times when I wasn’t such an early riser and that’s okay. You can still add 1 active hour back to your day by staying up an hour later as well. If you know you’re not going to wake up early, staying up later may not be a problem especially if you find it’s a time when you can be productive.

However, if you want to challenge yourself to develop a habit of getting up earlier, start slow. Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier each day until you’re waking up 1 hour earlier. If you feel like you’re already not getting enough hours of sleep, take 30 – 60 minutes of unproductive time in your day and redirect it.

For example, do you get stuck on social media or YouTube during the day? Do you ever find yourself just browsing on Pinterest or reading gossip blogs? Add 1 hour back to your day by redirecting that time to more lucrative projects and tasks.

Exercise for 30 Minutes Each Day

Exercising is one of the best things you can do for your body and mental health especially right now. We all want to be healthy, so start developing solid habits by adding exercise back into your daily routine. At first, it may seem like carving out time to exercise makes you unproductive or have even less time to focus on what’s important.

On the flip side, exercising will help increase your energy levels, overall focus and motivation. Plus, 30 minutes is easy to schedule in. You can do a light walk or a more intense workout. Dedicating 3.5 hours of your week to fitness will help you not only reach your health goals but other lifestyle goals as well.

Have 1 TV-Free Night Weekly

Americans spend almost 4 hours watching T.V. each day. No wonder why most people don’t have the time or energy to focus on getting important things done. You can definitely balance your TV and entertainment time with everything else and it starts by monitoring it better.

If you watch TV every single day, commit to having 1 TV-free night each week. Fill your schedule with other tasks during this time and curate better results in your life as well. Giving up TV for one night every 7 days is such a small habit but it can grow into something much bigger. If you take it to the next level and give up TV for 5 days out of the week, you could gain back tons of time and redirect your focus to other important areas.

Want to read a bedtime story to your kids each night? Longing to have more one-on-one talks with your spouse? Looking to start a side hustle despite having a lot on your plate already? Developing solid habits like watching less TV can make a big difference in your daily schedule and workflow.

Name Your One Thing and Create a System

If you usually feel a bit scatterbrained and like you’re often juggling a million things to do each day, start naming your one thing. Choose your one primary focus for the day that you must do. You may want to choose one thing in each area of your life, or just keep it simple with a single task.

Naming your one thing will help you get better at setting clear priorities and not overworking yourself. It’s a powerful habit to have which can lead you right into creating your own systems to follow each day. Whether it’s a work task, an errand  or anything in between, you can start to plan out how you want to achieve that one thing each day with a realistic system that works for you.

As you can see, developing solid habits is the first step to making progress with your goals and increasing your productivity. Which atomic habits would you like to start working on?