Mini Habits : Smaller Habits, Bigger Results

Recently, I was researching on Habits of Successful People, for our training program. While, I was scouring the internet on this subject, I came across an interesting concept of Mini Habits by Stephen Guise. I liked it so much that it inspired me to adopt it in my life too. I have started practicing it, and I must tell you that it is working well for me.

Let me share what’s so inspiring about Mini Habits.

If we were to list our goals, we would enthusiastically share the likes of :

  • Lose 25 kgs of weight
  • Save Rs X per year
  • Write a book
  • Read 100 books in a year…

For most of us, these goals may be the just the same, year after year, as we would have failed in achieving these goals.

The reason we fail to instil the new habits or achieve our goals is because we try to do too much at once. In simple terms, if our new habit requires more willpower than we can muster, we will fail. If our new habit requires less willpower than we can muster, we will succeed. The idea is not to do what we have set ourselves for, once, but doing it repeatedly, every day even when we are tired and our will power is at its lowest.

And it is here when Mini Habits start working for us.

The first step in adopting Mini Habits is to choose a desired habit or change we’d like to make—it could be exercising every day,  writing a post daily, reading a book per week, practicing Reiki / Yoga…

The second step is to break these habits until they are “stupid small,” a term coined by Stephen Guise and it is called so, because when we say the requirement out loud, it is so small that it sounds stupid.

Let me share a bit of background to a habit which I want to inculcate in myself. Despite my best intentions, awareness and health concerns, I just can’t stick to my plans of walking daily. I may go for a walk in the park or dust the dust off the treadmill at home, enthusiastically for 2-3 days, and then I am back to my excuses, till next inspiration strikes, which may take days or months to re-surface again.

So, for the first step, I defined the Mini Habit that I wanted to adopt. Yes, it is the habit of a daily walk as a way of life. The second step involved breaking it into ‘stupid small’ plan of walking for 5 minutes on the treadmill.

It sounds so simple and easy, right? For the first 2 days, I met the this daily requirement comfortably. And I was happy to achieve it. That’s because, before this, I wasn’t even attempting to walk or doing it rarely.

But soon enough, I started asking myself, “Am I ready to stop or can I do more?”. Yes, you guessed it right, I didn’t stop at 5 minutes and did more every day. Needless, to say, that I am seeing some positive changes, not only physically but mentally too. No, they are not big changes, but they are happy changes, nevertheless. This Mini Habit of walking everyday for smaller duration goes on to prove that the best way to create a positive change is through small acts repeated daily.

Stephen Guise says that we can change nearly any area of our life; and at one Mini Habit at a time, it’s easier than we think. When we remove the pressure and expectations, we allow ourselves to start.

I am sure, to be on journey of growth and change is on the agenda for most of us. And we must be making a conscious effort to be better human beings too. Here are some Mini Habits ideas that we can adopt in our lives to be better human beings…

  • Learn one new thing every week
  • Be thankful for 2 things every day
  • Read 2 pages every day
  • Blog once in three days
  • Write 500 words every day
  • Help 2 people in a day
  • Compliment one person
  • Drink one bottle of water every day
  • Eat one fresh fruit every day
  • Connect with one old friend/relative per week
  • Think of a new idea / week to help increase productivity at work
  • Clean a room/drawer/cupboard every alternate day

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle.

Linking this to Write Tribe Festival of Words #4 Day 4 for the theme Creativity and Inspiration!

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22 thoughts on “Mini Habits : Smaller Habits, Bigger Results

  1. I love the “stupid small” idea as it makes total sense. 🙂 Great list Shilpa! 🙂 When Wordy Wednesday is up and running, I blog about every three days as that is my preference right now (as I prefer to be outside now, etc.). And I say, “do one good deed for another per day.” 😉 And I would remove ‘room’ and break it into a stupid small by saying a drawer, shelf, or box/container/cupboard. 😉 <3
    elly stornebrink recently posted…Gratitude List #7: Beauty, Nature, and SpiritMy Profile

  2. Mini habits are surely way more achievable than long term habits! 😀
    I’m gonna decide to read a page of my Economics textbook a day (I really don’t like the subject!) 😛
    Secondly, I would love to stick to the 500 words per day schedule.. Especially since I’m planning to write down a novel as a stress-buster during this board exam year! I could cut it down to say 250, maybe? Yeah.. 🙂
    Mithila Menezes @Fabulus1710 recently posted…Spelleb!My Profile

  3. I absolutely agree. That’s how I made myself practice yoga everyday. I didn’t plan for a year or month or even week. It was day to day basis, sometimes breaking goals hour wise. Taking too much in our plate tends to distracts us , rather than motivate. Good luck with walking 🙂

  4. “Stupid Small” is not so stupid after all!
    This is the technique I’ve been following to get my work done since opening this store. I used to make to-do lists earlier. Now, my only “target” in the morning is to “get into the kitchen by 8:15”. After that, things usually take care of themselves! 😀
    Great post, by the way.
    Kaddu recently posted…My Favorite ColorMy Profile

  5. This is really fabulous, Shilpa. The concept completely makes sense. I have to spend more time cleaning and decluttering and end up doing it at one go. But I think I can adopt this 5-minute rule to ease it into my routine. Thanks for sharing.
    Rachna recently posted…June is hereMy Profile

  6. Oh lovely! This is something that I’ve been following these days. It’s good to have long term goals, but having respective short term goals is equally important. Breaking down what might seem like difficult challenges, will actually have an impact!
    Ashwini CN recently posted…For the Love of Writing!My Profile

  7. Great tips for breaking down big tasks into small ones. I am going to try walking for 5 minutes on the treadmill and see if I can go on to 10 minutes, haven’t opened the treadmill since the time it was delivered home 3 years back 🙂

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