Make Your Habits Mini to Improve Your Life

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Mini Habits. That's what I've been doing for a few months and, I'm pleased to say, I've been quite successful. Probably because they're mini. 

According to Stephen Guise, the author of Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results, "a mini habit is a VERY small positive behavior that you force yourself to do every day." When he says "very small," he means really, really small. He means stupid small. In his case, he wanted to get fit so he decided to do one push-up a day. Just one. That's it. When he did that push-up, he marked it as complete on his calendar.

Does that sound stupid small enough for you?

It's important to understand that our brains are designed to resist change. So when you make that outrageous New Year's Resolution like "I'm going to workout three hours a day, 6 days a week," your brain says, "Oh, no, no. That sounds too hard. I don't think so." Then you don't do it. And you don't just not do it, you don't do it at all. 

This book resonated with me so deeply. I thought, "He gets me. That sounds exactly like me." I set these incredible habits and then wonder why I feel paralyzed and don't do anything. Not one single thing. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Then the guilt and feeling like a failure sets in, and I really don't get anything done. Ugh.

Stopping the Madness

So, in an effort to grow and learn, I decided to give mini habits a go in January. I'm up to three a day now:

  • Read two pages.
  • Create for two minutes.
  • Do one plank for 30 seconds, or move for 15 minutes or more.

These are three things that are important to me:  Reading, creativity and fitness. I stumbled a bit at the beginning, but now I'm doing these three things daily without a lot of thought and am enjoying the benefits immensely.

  • Read two pages -- I've rediscovered my passion for reading and am going through books and e-books like crazy. It's just part of my daily routine now, and I love learning new things or escaping into an amazing novel.
  • Create for two minutes -- After being in a creative slump since my mom died a couple of years ago, getting back to my Bad Creative Self was quite a relief. Committing just two minutes a day was a nonthreatening act. It felt safe. Now I'm writing, embroidering, sketching, playing the harmonica (Okay, I don't play it well but that's not really the point, is it?), and more. And it feels sooooo good! 
  • Do one plank for 30 seconds, or move for 15 minutes or more -- I tore my meniscus after I started this habit, so I had to adjust the habit to "one set of knee exercises" for a few weeks. But now, I'm moving for 30-45 minutes at least four times a week. Walking, Pilates, dancing and rebounding are on the menu and when my schedule is busy, the plank always gets done.

So that's my story with mini habits. Check out Guise's one push-up challenge or the book to learn more about creating your own mini habits. 

Connect with me on my Facebook page, and let me know what your new mini habits are.

Be #True, and have a Refreshing and Productive Day!