Something that you should know about me, is that I’m quite enthusiastic about the concept of mini habits. I came across this concept through Stephen Guise’s book: Mini Habits: Smaller habits, Bigger results. Well, I’m going to tell you why.
(BEWARE: they really have a life-changing effect)
What is a Mini Habit exactly?
A mini habit comes from something in your life that you want to change. For instance, say you want to start reading more books. A lot of people (this used to be me as well) who want to read more books, read a few books from start to finish in a couple of days, and then the obsession is over, where after they don’t read for another few months. This doesn’t really help with your yearly book count…
Here is where the concept of mini habits comes into place. If you want to read more, you need to make reading into a habit. You could say to yourself: from now on, I’m going to read 50 pages a day, consistently. Okay, that is a great goal, only chances are big you’re not going to keep up with it every single day. So that’s going to create a problem. You need to have something you can do EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Even if you feel like you’d have a thousand excuses why today is ‘not a good day’. 50 pages as a consistent goal is too big (at least in the beginning).
Let’s say we change the 50 pages a day to 2 pages a day. Now you’re laughing, right? Or you think I’m a moron, or you think I think you are a moron for not being able to read more than two pages a day!
If these thoughts cross your mind, then you’re on the right path. Because mini habits are supposed to sound ridiculous! You can easily read two pages a day, BUT at least you’ve succeeded your goal.
Chances are, that if you know you have to read 50 pages a day, and you have one of your ‘not so good days’, you will dread it and end up reading nothing at all. If you know you only have to read 2 pages to succeed, the barrier will definitely be lower and you probably have the willpower and motivation to grab that book from the shelf and let your eyes wander over the letters.
If you only finish two pages, that’s fine. You did what your goal told you to do.
What happens more often though, is that you keep on reading. Because you know you can do better than two pages, or because you actually feel like reading again. Everything above the two pages are called ‘a bonus’. It’s a big success.
Eventually, you’ll see that your bonuses are getting bigger (this is when something really starts to become a habit in your brain). For example, the first few days/weeks your daily average will be maybe between 2 and 7 pages. The months that follow, you’ll see that your daily average will move upward, first 25 pages, and before you know, it’s 50 pages!
If you read 50 pages a day for 365 days, it means you’ll have read approximately fifty-two 350-pages books in one year! Now that is a great book count!
Mini habits apply to basically everything, and the magic really appears when you can make them as small and ridiculous as possible. When you don’t feel any resistance to do that small thing, you’re good.
My Mini Habits
Since I’m a big fan of them, I’ll make a list of a few mini habits I’ve applied to my life. I didn’t do them all simultaneously, since that can get a bit overwhelming (even though they’re mini).
- Read two pages of a book a day
- Play 5 minutes of Duolingo Spanish
- Do one push-up a day
- Run one mile a day
- Meditate for five minutes
- Write 50 words a day
Eventually, these mini habits resulted in much bigger outcomes. Even though I’m still in the middle of building some of these habits, I now write around 1000 words a day (which I still want to get up a bit), run at least 3.5 miles every time I run (even though I only HAVE TO run one mile), spend approximately 30 to 60 minutes on my Spanish a day and read a few books a week.
But I do this, because the barrier to start is so low. If I knew that every single day I HAD TO write a 1000 words, that would get a bit overwhelming. Eventually, motivation would disappear and I wouldn’t write at all for a couple of days, or even weeks.
You should try it. It’s actually a lot of fun!
SO WHAT DO YOU THINK OF MINI HABITS? HAVE YOU EVER APPLIED THIS, OR DO YOU PLAN ON APPLYING IT TO YOUR LIFE? WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD DO MORE OF?