I have failed my every single New Year’s resolution so far. This year, I’m taking a different approach.

The new approach is called micro-actions. Actions so small, simple and concrete I simply can’t fail.

This is what I’ve learnt both from my own failures and from building YOU-app with my awesome team:

If you have a grandiose New Year’s resolution but no concrete, simple micro-action to get started with, you are bound to fail.

(Don’t worry if this has happened to you in the past — you’re not alone. More than 9 out of 10 of people pursuing New Year’s resolutions fail).

You should think about your New Year’s resolution as a well-designed game.

No game designer would throw you up against all the creepiest end of level villains at once. Why? Even if the thought of winning fast would be intriguing, you’ll most probably end up using all your ammo quickly and “dying”. Game over. You’ll think “damn, this was too hard, I can’t do this …and as a matter of fact, I hate this game” and never return.

Instead, game designers set you up for success through small wins. Have you ever noticed how easy it is to get started with a good game? Almost too easy? There is a good reason for that — a successful start, consisting of a series of small wins, keeps you going and wanting for more. Successes, even micro ones, feel good. Consecutive successes result in progress.

Your New Year’s resolution should be no different. Set yourself up for success by defining the one small micro-action that you start to repeat first. Why repeating? Because we want to create new, good habits.

This year, my big New Year’s goal is to up my productivity and creativity. I figured I would start my project by improving my slightly chaotic morning routine (I heard many cool kids have awesome morning routines so decided to give it a proper try). My concrete, one micro-action is a 5-minute morning meditation. I already have a 5-day strike, and it really feels effortless and fun. I even look forward to my little meditation session, even though I haven’t traditionally been a morning person. I think I love this game.

Yes, it is that simple. And science backs this up. Squeeze the first micro-action out of your grandiose New Year’s resolution and keep repeating it. If it feels too hard, scale it down. When it starts to feel too easy, scale it up, moderately. When it feels like an effortless habit, pick a new micro-action to focus on.

Remember, the point is to succeed, one small action at a time. Your biggest challenge is to define that first small action. If you’ve done it right, it should be easy to keep doing it :)!

Good luck and Happy New Year!

Nelli Lähteenmäki is the CEO & Co-Founder of YOU-app, an optimist, ENFP and a full-time goofball. Engineer by background, entrepreneur by passion and musician by heart. Got some ideas or feedback? Shoot me an email at nelli (ät) you-app.com!

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