Unlock the Potential of Tiny Habits!

The world is always fascinated by grand gestures. People love overnight success. They love that million-dollar idea that disrupts an industry. They want you to go big or go home. But we forget that we don’t go from 0 to 100 overnight. You start small, stay consistent and build your momentum. Over time you see the power of aggregating marginal gains. And one fine day, you will have your big bang idea. 

BJ Frogg, a behaviour scientist, believes in the power of tiny habits. In ‘Tiny Habits,’ he emphasises the importance of designing the tiniest step you can take towards your goal, repeating the process and building from there.

Many factors influence the success of our habits.

  • Does it align with your personality?
  • Does it make you feel successful?
  • Is your purpose strong enough for you to take action?
  • Do you have the ability to perform this habit?
  • Is this habit sustainable for you? (think years, not weeks).

The most important question to ask yourself if you want to be successful is this –  Is this habit easy to do?

If an action is easy to do, you will likely be able to stick to it. However, most of what we want to do is not easy. So the question you should be asking is – How can you make a habit easier to do?

BJ Frogg suggests two ways to make things easier to do

  • Find the tiniest version of the habit you can do
  • Find a starter step

Here’s an example – you want to be consistent with your workouts.

The first approach is to find the tiniest version of the habit you can easily do – Walk for 10 minutes daily. Start with a duration which you think is feasible for you and track how many days you can stick to your habit. If you are pressed for time, you can reduce it. The idea is to be consistent and make the action easier to do. Once you overcome the anxiety of starting a new habit by taking the first step, you can gradually increase the duration.

The second approach is to find a starter step. To do this, break down the steps you need to take to consider the activity as done. For your workouts, it might be

  1. Change to your workout clothes
  2. Do a warm-up routine for 1 min
  3. Go for a walk

For the first few days, focus on step 1 alone – changing to your workout clothes. That’s it. You can consider your activity done once you complete step 1. Try to be as consistent as you can for the first few days. Once you get comfortable with step 1, focus on steps 1 and 2. Once you feel confident with steps 1 and 2, add in Step 3. The idea is to break the habit into several steps to work your way through each step. This helps you focus on small changes accumulated over time. 

When you start a new habit, you feel very motivated and tend to overestimate what you can do on a daily basis. When reality catches up with you and you aren’t able to keep up with the schedule or intensity, you give up. If you make drastic changes to your life, your body tends to revert to the previous state at the first sign of distress. To avoid that, focus on small changes that do not interfere right away with your current way of life. The changes should be small enough to easily add to your routine, but not too small that it does not have any significance. Once they find a comfortable pace in your existing rhythm, you can increase the duration. The same rule holds for things you’re trying to get rid of. If you want to stop doing something, reduce the intensity gradually till it no longer makes a difference to you. Don’t go cold turkey.

Figuring out what works for you is a rewarding process. Some habits are easier and some are challenging (even if it seems easier for others) because it comes down to your personality and what you can do. That’s the reason you need to have a strong purpose and be clear on what it means to you. Purpose beats motivation any day. Once you start experimenting and figure out what works and what doesn’t work, you can use the feedback to improve your strategies. Irrespective of the outcome, you gain valuable insights on things you can and cannot do. 

When you implement small changes in one aspect of your life, it will have a domino effect. You feel in control. You feel empowered to try new habits. It permeates all areas of your life. The transformation will be amazing. You set yourself up for success. You become the person you want to be. And most important of all, you can unlock your potential – one tiny habit at a time. 

Image by Nattanan Kanchanaprat from Pixabay

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