A new habit has a hard time competing with our existing habits. In a sports analogy, our current habits are veteran weightlifters. Our fledgling habits are novice lifters. In this analogy, the willpower cost of the habit is the weight lifted. The novice cannot hope to lift the same amount of weight as the veteran. The novice needs to start light. The biggest mistake the beginner can make is starting out too ambitious.
Mini habits recognize that any new habit is going to take time to develop. We must get our reps in. After we have established a solid foundation, we can build on it. We are often told that we should never try to develop more than one habit at a time. This is great advice. The biggest mistake we can make about our willpower is placing too many simultaneous demands on it. The mental reserve we draw from to exert willpower is severely limited. Fortunately, with mini habits, this singular focus is unnecessary.
Most of us want to develop multiple new habits. It takes a lot of self-control to focus on just one and ignore the others. The low willpower cost of mini habits means you can build multiple habits at once. They are so small we can create three or four at a time. As we follow through on our mini self-commitments, it will build our willpower and self-esteem.
Habits not only build our willpower, but they also conserve it. Habits flow, unfettered by conscious thought. We aren’t struggling with a decision. We are reacting to a cue. Habits and environmental design are long-term strategies for conserving willpower. They allow us to avoid making a decision that would erode our willpower through decision fatigue. Instead of making a decision, we encounter a cue and execute a routine.
This FREE downloadable Habit Tracker is an invaluable tool for developing a NEW HABIT – If you want consistency, measure it!