Science is fun, accessible, and useful to you. Don't believe me? Dive in!

5 tiny habits that make huge changes

Small hinges swing big doors. Some of the tiniest habits, outlined below, have profoundly benefited my health (both mental and physical!), happiness, and productivity:


Upon waking, I take 5 deep breaths and think of 5 things for which I’m grateful.

Few things are better than your health/happiness than gratitude and starting your day in a relaxed state (in which your parasympathetic nervous system can do its job!). This ~minute of focused deep breathing and conjuring up things that make me smile has a huge Return on Investment (ROI) and is an excellent kickoff to my morning routine 🙂


I listen to podcasts on double speed.

Podcasts are one of my favorite things, as they are a constant source of knowledge, different perspectives, and inspiration. Since I set my podcast app to double speed (I tried 1.5 speed for a day, then bumped it to 2x), I can listen to twice as many podcasts!! It’s incredible!!


I fill my water bottle before I leave work. 

I’ll outsource the lecture on the importance of hydration and just tell you what makes it easier for me: arriving to my desk with a full water bottle. Does it make sense that this tiny action changes how much water I drink? No, but it works, so I’ll keep doing it!


I stopped looking at my phone when walking up stairs.

In addition to lowering my stumbling incidence (I’m clumsy enough anyway), resolving to not look at my phone while walking up stairs opens up a lovely window for reflection and awareness. I instead visualize the people I’m going to see or the tasks I will accomplish when I ascend, and I often feel grateful that I have legs to take me up stairs or notice something amusing. While I definitely falter and somehow find myself scrolling down my Facebook feed, I have definitely enjoyed this resolution to maintain more distance from my phone.


I apply the “over/under 5” rule t0 buy packaged food.

I aim to only purchase packaged foods (cereal, granola bars, etc) that have 5 or more grams of fiber and 5 or less grams of sugar. While conflicting dietary advice abounds, almost everyone agrees that excess sugar wrecks health and consuming adequate fiber is beneficial, especially for our microbiome. This pro tip was shared with me by some great friends, Jodi and Jamie Desak, who recently got in epic shape through reasonable, intelligent nutrition and exercise strategies!


from an excellent book, The Compound Effect


  1. Hilary Kayarian Hilary Kayarian
    July 1, 2016    

    Uncle Hilary and I are learning so much, thank You

    • asiefert asiefert
      July 2, 2016    

      So glad to hear that, and honored to have you as readers!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Facebook Posts