How do we start mini habits, former procrastinators? In Mini Habits Stephen Guise recommends these steps:
- Choose your mini habits and plan. – Write a list of full-size habits you’d like to have. (50 pushups a day/ write 3000 words) Start with one or two, no more than 4.
“Minify “ the goals so they are what Guise calls “stupid small.” Be specific. (One pushup/50 words) Altogether, they should take you less than 10 minutes to complete. Meeting the small requirement makes you successful that day.
- Dig down for honest answers about why you want to develop each habit. Find the source. The best habit desires are based in your life values.
- Determine your habit cues. Time-based ones are by the clock. Activity based cues tie in with another behavior. General mini habits are done once per day (deadline bedtime). Avoid skipping because that will start a negative habit.
- Make a reward plan. Rewards encourage repeat behavior and may also restore willpower. Give your brain a reward initially so it’s willing to repeat the behavior. Eventually satisfaction in the job done is enough for your brain to keep going because it desires the habit.
- Track your success. Guise recommends a large calendar placed where you see it often. I use my planner. Cell phones have options, but remember hand written thoughts take more prominence in the brain than digital ones. Keep the chain of success going.
- See small steps as critical for success. In forming a habit we want to do three things. Mini habits check them all. * Strengthen willpower (Low willpower tasks with high frequency builds willpower muscle.) * Make progress now (Complete the mini habit and you have succeeded – but you’re free to continue. Mini habits generate motivation to do more. But do not secretly require more.) * Avoid willpower depletion (No excuse for failure or fear of failure, no guilt. Tiny requirements do not drain you.)
- Maintain small goals. As you succeed with mini habits and do extra reps because you choose to, a bigger goal will be tempting. Resist. Keep your requirement low. Keep expectations and energy on consistency.
- Notice signs of habit, but steady the course. Some indications a habit is forming: no inner resistance, identifying with the behavior (I’m a fit person/a writer), no worrying about it, it’s non-emotional, not exciting. (But life is better!) Some mini habit sparks take more time to ignite than others.
How will you minify your habit goals?