Small habits are the little things you do every day that make you the person you want to be. Research shows that small changes in your daily routine – like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, eating less junk food, or drinking less coffee after work – can have a positive long-term impact on your health.
An important aspect of habit formation is that the benefits are immediate and permanent. The change you make becomes your new habit, and the cognitive dissonance that comes with it’ll disappear over time.
A small change can be a tiny habit. A mini habit is a very small positive behavior that you force yourself to do every day, and it can be as simple as taking a quick look at your finances before you leave in the morning so you know what your budget is for the day. But it can also be something that requires more effort, like changing how you organize your filing system or spending less time on social media.
Small improvements can lead to remarkable results
So often we assume that the key to success lies in big changes. But sometimes you can make a big difference in your life by making small improvements in your daily habits.
The truth is that the most remarkable things happen when regular changes are made to a routine. A simple change here and there can lead to something big.
Small changes do not occur overnight. It is unrealistic to expect to master something in a single day. It takes time and practice to make something second nature. However, this does not preclude you from attempting to make small changes over time. If you stick with it long enough, you can achieve incredible results.
A good way to break down the steps that need to be changed is to look at the smallest aspect of your life that you want to change.
Why mini habits are effective:
This method was described in the book Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results, written by Stephen Guise. It quickly became a bestseller because of its originality, strong scientific basis, and the wealth of personal experience that Stephen shares with his readers.
Stephen highlighted several features of mini habits that make them so effective and easy to put into practice.
- Mini habits don’t require willpower due to their small size and low difficulty. As a rule of thumb, a good mini habit is one you consistently do every day, even on days when you are tired and have no willpower. If you’re failing to meet your goal every day, for any reason, your goal is too hard.
- Mini habits eliminate the hurdle of “getting started.” We feel some resistance/anxiety when we think about any task we are supposed to do. We dread the essay we have to write, and that dread makes it hard to even get started. You’ll just do it because it’s so easy… and more often than not, now that you’ve gotten started, you’ll be able to keep going.
- Mini habits provide consistent dopamine boosts. When you need to do serious work, your brain sends signals to your body that cause you to feel tired — even before you start working. Mini habits have the opposite effect. They are so small that the brain fails to recognize them. The magic is in the fact that you have accomplished something, and you will be proud of yourself. Your brain will reward you with energy now that it is pleased with itself! This helps to reinforce your good habits.
- Mini habits are stress-free and gently expand your comfort zone. Doing a 20-minute workout every day seems stressful for both the brain and the body, but one push-up is nothing at all, right? You can do that without any stress. Once you’ve made a consistent habit of doing something, you’ll likely find yourself naturally doing more than your mini habit. One pushup per day eventually turns into a regular daily workout.
- Mini habits do not compete with your old habits, so you’ll be able to make progress without feeling like you’re torturing yourself.
For example, if your goal is drinking more water and it’s hard for you, you can start with just one glass of lukewarm water after you wake up in the morning. Then, drink another glass in the afternoon. Next days make these quantities more.
Imagine you want to read a book and become an active reader. If it is hard for you, break it into small steps. For instance, read one page or paragraph every day before bedtime. Or, bring your book everywhere and just sheet the book. Next week, if you read one page now change it to 2 or 3 pages in a day.
Some things to keep in mind:
- Don’t cheat. If you find yourself consistently failing to achieve your mini habit, that’s a good sign that your mini habit is too difficult! Being easy is the point.
- Never think your habit is too small. The first and hardest step towards achieving any goal is simply getting in the habit of putting in the work every day. Mini habits make that a piece of cake.
- Remind yourself how easy your mini habit is. It’s only one push-up — how can you not do that?
- Use your energy to do more on days when you feel like it, but don’t make your goals more difficult or punish yourself on days when you only do the bare minimum. Remember that the most important goal is simply to maintain your daily mini habit.
Also, note that you can use the Habitomic app to break your goals and habits into tiny ones. Good luck!