THE MAGIC OF MINI HABITS

”Doing a little bit every day has a greater impact than doing a lot on one day. How much greater? Profoundly so, because a little bit every day is enough to grow into a lifelong foundational habit, and those are a big deal.” ― Stephen Guise

So, what is a mini habit? Stephen Guise, the creator of the mini habit concept, describes mini habits as stupid small versions of a habit you want to develop. Stephen was struggling to exercise. He felt overwhelmed by the prospect of a half-hour workout. He couldn’t get motivated, and he didn’t have enough willpower to train. Frustrated, he decided to shrink his workout.

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SHRINK THE COMMITMENT – SHRINK THE RESISTANCE

“Be the person with embarrassing goals and impressive results instead of one of the many people with impressive goals and embarrassing results.” Stephen Guise

Shrinking the commitment reduces our Elephant’s reluctance. We avoid becoming paralyzed by subjective fatigue. Chances are you will do more than the minimum requirement but never do less. Small commitments aren’t going to cause you to do less. It is counterintuitive, but these small commitments cause you to do more by making you more consistent. This commitment is a floor and not a ceiling. If you feel motivated to do more, that’s great. Willpower is going to get you going. Motivation will determine how far you go. Learn more about the Elephant & Rider Analogy. Continue reading SHRINK THE COMMITMENT – SHRINK THE RESISTANCE

REPETITION DOESN’T BUILD MOTIVATION – IT DILUTES IT

“We are not the problem. Our approach to change is. It’s a design flaw – not a personal flaw.” BJ Fogg

When we fail to create a habit, we blame ourselves for being lazy and unmotivated. It seems reasonable. If we were motivated, we’d do what we had planned to do? True, but motivation is an ineffective habit-forming strategy for two reasons. First, it depends on our emotional state. Emotions are difficult to regulate. Habits require consistency. Another reason motivation is a terrible strategy for developing habits is that it decreases over time. Continue reading REPETITION DOESN’T BUILD MOTIVATION – IT DILUTES IT

EXERCISE IS A KEYSTONE HABIT

“If it’s important, do it every day. If it isn’t, don’t do it at all.” – Dan Gable Olympic wrestling champion

I usually suggest people begin their fat loss journey with daily exercise. Not because I think it is the most effective at reducing body weight. It isn’t, but because daily exercise is a keystone habit that leads to a host of other good habits. Australian researchers Megan Oaten and Ken Cheng found that regular exercise leads to significant improvements in a wide range of regulatory behaviors such as less impulsive spending; better dietary habits; decreased alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine consumption; and fewer hours watching TV.[i]

Exercise is more about feeling good than looking good. People that exercise regularly are much less likely to suffer from depression or other psychological ailments. John J. Ratey, MD  Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, says going for a run is like taking a little bit of Prozac and a little bit of Ritalin because, like the drugs, exercise elevates these neurotransmitters. He says it’s a handy metaphor, but the deeper explanation is that exercise balances neurotransmitters — along with the rest of the neurochemicals in the brain.

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