Mini habit Strategy.
A mini-habit is a small version of a new habit.
Creating Habit with Mini Habit.
Doing 100 pushups daily, becomes one push-up a day, writing 3000 words daily becomes 50 words a day, thinking positive all the times becomes thinking two thoughts a day.
Overcoming internal Resistance with stupid small steps.
You want to do exercise. But you are not feeling to do it. As there is internal resistance. In this, you do not need to battle with your brain. Instead, break your activity into small parts until it sounds stupid small. If your goal is to do 1 push then,
- Open cloth drawer.
- Pick up and wear workout cloth.
- Place the mat on the floor.
- Lie your stomach on the floor.
- Lift your body.
- Do one push.
Once you continue to force yourself to keep doing small tasks. The subconscious mind will pick up the pattern and makes the changes easier for you.
Mini Habits cost you no will Power.
The strategy forces you to take 1-4 small stupid actions every day. The actions are too small to fail and too small to skip. Small habit requires a small amount of will power. It does not take a lot of will power to do one pushup. There is an also great chance you do bonus repetition because the reason relates to Newton law’s that states.
- “An object is in at rest will stay at rest unless an external force act on it.”
- “An object is in motion will not change its velocity, unless an external force act on it.”
Even if you do not exceed your small requirement. The behavior will become a habit. Another benefit of mini habits is a constant success. As mini habits are too small to fail so it lacks the feelings of guilty, that comes from goal failure.
Intimidate by Habits Failure.
Mini habits are the perfect way to start. No longer you will feel intimidated by massive goals. When you make massive goals and unable to carry out. You will begin to feel hopeless. As it is hard to believe, this you will achieve your goals. Now, you are going to succeed on a daily basis. Mini habits are small that you can do in any mood. Either you are tired, depressed or happy. You can still complete your habit.
Tracking your Progress with mini Habit checklist.
You should make a list to track your progress. As physical marking your success is more tangible than digital marking. Plus, if you put it in bold place, where you can see it enough. You will reduce the chances of mission any one day. Hence, it is important to make a checklist so you can mark, after completing an activity.
Stick with Four.
It takes a lot of discipline to continue a habit and ignoring everything else. You can create multiple habits at once. As it requires a small amount of will power. But, I suggest you to follow less than four. If you increase the number of habits you will lose the focus. Every action requires will power. The reason you resist doing an activity because of will power. But mini habits require less amount of will power and discipline.
If you decide to do 20 push-ups a day, but do not able to form the habit. Because doing 20 push-ups require will power. That’s why big intentions are worthless. Doing a little is better than doing nothing. Plus, while you are making a decision; you are motivated and full of energy. Doing 20 push-ups is easy for you. But what happens when you are tired. Then, doing 20 pushups will cost you more willpower.
Change of Energy Level.
A mistake you make while goal setting. You do not consider your motivation and energy level. You think you current states of energy and mind will be reserved and reactive when the time comes to act. To make your mini habit works. Minify your habits unit it sounds stupid small. Because when something sound small, your brain will see it as non-threating.
Working of mini habits.
To learn how habit works, you need to understand three points.
- A habit is assigned in the neural pathway.
- A neural pathway is trigger by thoughts or external clue.
- Once the clue is trigger, you will develop an urge to execute a behavior.
Example: if you take a shower when you wake up. You will have a neural pathway associated with the behavior (when you wake up). You will wake up, neurons will fire, then, you will walk to the shower, without any thought. As you repeat the behavior.
- Waking up – Shower
The habit ingrains deeply in your brain. The neural pathway will get thinker and stronger.
When you form a habit, it has no neural pathway. You have to manually follow a behavior. When you repeat the behavior, the baby neural pathway begins to grow. With time, you have a solid neural pathway for the habit.
Time and Activity Based habit.
You can use two ways to create a habit.
Time-based helps you to perform a habit on time. And in activity-based, you will follow one behavior after another.
Example of time and activity based habits.
I will go to the gym at 5 o’clock in the evening. [Time-Based]
I will go to the walk after having dinner. [Activity-Based]
Time-based habits perform at a specific time while activity-based habits are performed after breakfast, lunch, suppress, and dinner.
Time-based habit works well for the people who have a lot of flexibility in their schedule. This method is rigid with little ambiguity. As it helps you to get work done and build discipline. The downside of this method is, you might feel tired at the time of performing the habit. Through this, it creates a chance to miss a day.
Activity-based is flexible with a bit more ambiguity. It helps you to build a structure in structureless life. As it allows you to do one activity after another. The downside of activity-based is, if you have a habit of writing, in the morning. You will not feel good to write other times of a day; when you missed.
Two parts of brain.
The two parts of the brain include in habit formation, prefrontal cortex, and basal ganglia. Basal ganglia are not aware of high-level goals. It does not differentiate between good and bad behavior until you tell. It is an efficient pattern repeater that saves energy. However, the prefrontal cortex is an intelligent part of a brain. It sounds basal ganglia is poorly designed. But, the prefrontal cortex has less stamina than basal ganglia.
The management function of the prefrontal cortex is responsible but utilize a lot of energy and power. It is located behind your forehead, and understands the benefit and consequence of a behavior. However, the automatic function of basal ganglia is effective and efficient. It allows you to save energy and take care of tasks that do not need constant monitoring.
Mini-Habits language of the subconscious mind.
The goal in habit formation is to change your brain with repetition. But the brain will resist changes unless you reward it.
When there is no reward for a habit. It will feel like a punishment. However, Endorphins is a natural reward for the brain. But, at the beginning of any habit, it is not enough to sustain a behavior. If Endorphins is not enough, you can call for backup. You do not need to play the game fairly. You can add an unrelated reward for certain behavior. Later, the brain will associate the behavior with the reward.
Your subconscious mind loves efficiency. Therefore, you have habits. When you repeat a behavior over time, the brain will automate the process. As it is energy efficient.
Support the habit, in initial stage.
The secret of creating a habit is like teaching a kid to ride a bicycle. At first, you are letting kid pedal as you ensure him, you are holding on. But at some point, you let go and the child rides on its own, without you.
Like this, in the beginning, you have to support the habit with additional behavior. Once you develop good habits then everything becomes easier. You can get up early, eat healthy breakfast, go to walk every morning. You do the right thing with little efforts.
You should have reasons why you want habits.
Before creating a habit. Ask questions why you want to form a habit. Ask until you grab three reasons to follow the behavior. Asking reasons will help you in tough times.
I want to write every day.
It helps me to express my thoughts.
Because Writing is something I value in my life.
Suggested Reading: The Power of habit Summary.
Feelings are Unstable.
Motivation is unreliable because it depends on feeling, but feelings are unstable. Several things can alter your feeling including an event, blood sugar level, depression, hormone, energy level, and belief. Do you want to place your hope on something so unstable?
Sometimes, you can conjure up the motivation to do exercise or write 2000 words. But, other time, you might end up taking a nap or watching TV. The problem is motivation is not easy to develop on demand. It is hard to feel motivated when you are tired.
Detach yourself from motivation.
The idea of motivation is ingrain in people life. Because you think, you will feel happy while doing an activity. But there is no rule that says, your feelings and actions must always match. The truth is repetition does not excite you but it makes you less excited. If you are depending upon motivation, you will have a difficult time, sticking with your habit.
Use will power strategy. As it schedules an activity so you can do it later. It also allows you to do your work consistently. Once you start an activity, then motivation comes and urge you to do more.
Drag Out from comfort zone.
Imagine, you are in a circle. You are comfortable inside of this circle. And, outside, of it, you are uncomfortable.
Envision, a happy version of yourself with less negative thoughts, a better physique, and a strong mind. These goals belongs outside of the comfort zone. And you have to face this zone to achieve it. The common way you try to achieve goals is to dive in and trying to stay there. Then, the subconscious mind begins to say, this is interesting. But I am uncomfortable with the huge change and bring you back inside of the comfort zone.
With mini habits, you are taking one step at the outside edge of the comfort zone. It is like you are walking to the other edge of the comfort zone. And taking one step outside of a boundary. Here you are in a less uncomfortable place because you know; talking one step back will put you inside of your comfort zone. Sometimes you will step back but when you continue to step outside. The subconscious mind will get comfortable with it.
Suggested Reading: Atomic Habits Summary.
Decision making at the moment.
You have two states of mind while creating decision making. In a deliberate mindset, you can count options. But in implemental mindset, you commit to act. Setting a clue helps you to cut out the deliberate mindset process so you can get more quickly to the implemental mindset.
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Above article is the extract version of the book “Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results” written by “Stephen Guise”.