Once we’ve internalized the fact that small changes add up to big results, the next step is to take action – start making these small changes to create a better life for ourselves and others.
For me, “Mini Habits” were the key. I first learned about them from Stephen Guise’s book “Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results”.
When we decide that we are going to make a change, we normally go all out in the beginning. We want to get into shape, so we decide to exercise 6 days a week. We’ve read that meditation is good for our mental health, so we make the commitment to do it for 20 minutes, twice a day. Need more sleep? Follow every suggestion out there – get into bed 8 1/2 hours before you need to get up, all of the lights off, no devices, bed only for sleep and sex, etc.
The problem with the “hit it hard in the beginning approach” is that we are going against years and years and years of habits that we’ve drilled into ourselves. We may start off guns ablazin’, but if you are anything like me, those guns run out of ammo pretty damn quick, and since we have no past experience to fall back on, there’s nothing to get them reloaded.
Maybe we don’t have to listen to the “gurus” who tell us that we have to be all in. Maybe just dipping our toe is the right thing to do.
Enter mini habits. “Stupid small” actions that we take, every day, so that our brains can get used to the idea that we are capable of doing this.
I love that phrase – stupid small. In order for this to work, you’ve got to make those habits so small that there’s almost no way you can’t do them.
Want to get into better shape? One push up or a 5 minute walk each day will get you started.
Want to start meditating? Start with one minute a day.
Need more sleep? Maybe implement just one of the suggestions for sleep hygiene for now.
Not keeping yourself as clean as you could be? Just get naked in your bathroom.
If the action is stupid small, you are more likely to do it than if it’s just small – and a hundred billion million times more likely to do it than if it was big.
Just remember – you are only trying to build a habit – at this point, you aren’t trying to run a marathon, or win an award for the best smelling person in the room, or become the next Dalai Lama.
You are just building a habit.
We’ll get into more detail in posts to come.