21 days to form a habit? Most attribute that theory to a physician who worked with amputees suffering a loss of limb. He theorizes it took 21 days to get accustomed to the loss. Rhetorically, isn’t creating a habit of drinking more water different than adapting to losing your leg?
Many people see habits as routine. Habits are automatic. Habits are decisions we make without even thinking.
New Year’s Resolutions have an 8% success rate and 21 days may seem more like a monumental task. So, how does one overcome that obstacle and create positive change? The secret is in developing mini-habits. Rather than feeling guilty not achieving your goal, break down that goal into attainable results.
I learned of mini-habits from Stephen Guise. The technique comes from Tinkertoys, a creativity book. It is the opposite of an idea you are stuck on. The more ridiculous, the more successful you become.
You may want to create an exercise regimen. Going for gusto of 30 minutes to an hour a day, joining a gym, and hitting it hard often ends in disaster. What if you began by just doing one push-up?
The One Push-up Challenge: As absurd as it sounds, it works. When you get out of bed, do just one push-up. What you find is while you are in the position doing the one push-up you find it easier to do 2, 3, 4, or 5. The mini-habit is born. Habits are built from willpower, not motivation. The reason we fail at creating new habits is we try to do too much at once. It requires more willpower, not increased motivation.
To create a mini-habit, choose a desired change and make it “stupid small.” Say your mini-habit out loud. If it is so small it sounds stupid, then you are on your way. Some mini-habits may include meditation for one minute, one push-up, read two pages daily, walk 100 steps, drink one glass of water, etc.
Choose 3 mini-habits to begin. Incorporate them into one of your 10-minute task. Write down your mini-habit. Check it off daily so you can visualize your progress. When you remove the pressure and expectations, you allow yourself to change.
My mini-habits are: meditate for one minute, read two pages from a book, and drinking one glass of water each morning before coffee.
What mini-habits are you starting?
bart is a nationally known, sought-after motivational speaker, author, blogger, personal coach, trainer, entrepreneur, and major advocate of the theatre community.
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