This article originally appeared on SHRM.org.

As we see the light at the end of the tunnel for the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. and many other countries, a new phase of collective experience has kicked in: anticipation. The world is literally opening up again.

The pandemic has been a time of unspeakable loss and tragedy. At the same time, it’s also been a catalyst, forcing us to examine our lives, our priorities and our ways of living and working. We’ve spent more than two years looking inward, thinking about what we want to take with us and what we want to leave behind. And if we’re going to make the most of this moment, we need to accompany our big plans with small steps. It’s those small steps that will help us bring forward the wisdom we’ve accumulated these past two years and build new habits to create better lives and a better world than the one we knew pre-COVID.

At Thrive we have a word for these small steps: “Microsteps.” Microsteps are small, science-backed steps we can take to build healthy habits that significantly improve our lives. They’re at the heart of the behavior change system we’ve brought to individuals and organizations around the world, helping them build resilience, strengthen their connections and improve their well-being and performance. And unlike New Year’s resolutions, which even the most generous estimates show that half of us fail to keep, Microsteps are too small to fail.

At Thrive, we wrote a whole book about them, Your Time to Thrive, packed with hundreds of Microsteps on subjects ranging from sleep, nutrition and movement to focus, creativity and purpose. In a world where so much is beyond our control, Microsteps help us focus on what we can control. They give us something to celebrate, propelling us forward to our next small win, and the next one. Over time, as we build new habits, they become more than what we do — they become part of who we are. As my compatriot Aristotle said, “Habit is but a long practice, which becomes men’s nature in the end.”

The concept of starting small also holds true at the organizational level, where change can happen one person at a time. That was the basis for the recent call to action by SHRM CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. for business and HR leaders to accelerate the culture shift to create a better way of working. As he said, “One person can cause an effect. The actions of a few affect the lives of many.”

As we make our way into this next uncertain but hopeful chapter, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to apply the lessons of our individual and collective experience. And it will be the small steps, more than the big sweeping vows and pledges, that help us navigate the transition.

Author(s)

  • Arianna Huffington

    Founder & CEO of Thrive

    Arianna Huffington is the founder and CEO of Thrive, the founder of The Huffington Post, and the author of 15 books, including Thrive and The Sleep Revolution. In 2016, she launched Thrive, a leading behavior change tech company with the mission of changing the way we work and live by ending the collective delusion that burnout is the price we must pay for success. She has been named to Time Magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people and the Forbes Most Powerful Women list. Originally from Greece, she moved to England when she was 16 and graduated from Cambridge University with an M.A. in economics. At 21, she became president of the famed debating society, the Cambridge Union. She serves on numerous boards, including Onex and The B Team. Her last two books, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder and The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night At A Time, both became instant international bestsellers. Most recently, she wrote the foreword to Thrive's first book, Your Time to Thrive: End Burnout, Increase Well-being, and Unlock Your Full Potential with the New Science of Microsteps.