By: Laura Walton AFC®
I’m intrigued by the idea of Tiny Habits®, a concept trademarked by Dr. B. J. Fogg, who believes that we’re more likely to change behaviors in baby steps, not giant steps. For example, he’s down on New Year’s resolutions…
“What a mistake – the whole idea around New Year’s resolutions. People aren’t’ picking specific behaviors, they’re picking abstractions.”
In a 2012 interview, Fogg suggested that abstract goals don’t work unless they are tied to specific behaviors. To build a new behavior, it needs to be instinctual which is where the Tiny Habit® comes in. His point is that the more you have to think about doing something, the more likely you are to talk yourself out of it. So, instead, develop a habit…and start tiny.
A Tiny Habit® is something that:
- You do at least once a day
- It takes you less than 30 seconds to do
- It requires little effort
- Think you should floss your teeth regularly? Start with one tooth
- Wish you read more? Start with one page
- Know you should exercise? Start with a brisk 30 second walk
An important step is to pat yourself on the back when you’ve completed your Tiny Habit®. Your sense of accomplishment will encourage you to build on your habit. Before long, you’ll be flossing all 32 teeth!
And, importantly, even a small accomplishment can mean a big difference in your day and your life. A Health Habits blog by Sam Davies includes an excerpt from the 2014 University of Texas at Austin commencement speech given by Admiral William McRaven:
“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.
By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.
If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.
And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.
If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”
Try kick starting a stubborn goal (or changing the world) with a Tiny Habit® – here’s how!
P.S. I just signed up to build 3 Tiny Habit® over 5 days next week…