This post is part of a 31-day treatise on habits. <— Click there to see all the posts.
When it comes to starting a new habit, there are those that recommend a huge lifestyle overhaul. Sweeping change. They advocate choosing a huge, hairy goal that gets you excited enough to burst out of bed everyday, and go after it.
Others recommend developing smaller, more sustainable habits that over time will lead to big results.
And then there’s B.J. Fogg, PhD.
B.J. is the Director of the Persuasive Tech Lab at Stanford University. After studying human behavior for 18 years, he’s come to the conclusion that tiny. micro-habits are the key to lasting change. If you visit his website and join up with his tiny habits challenge, he will suggest that you create 3 tiny new habits such as: floss ONE tooth. Or put your walking shoes on. Write 25 words of your novel. That’s it!
Of course the point of this is to create space in your life and routine for this new habit. One of the things that makes B.J’s method different is that each tiny habit you create is attached to an activity you already do. You’re required to create the new micro-habit in the context of an existing routine. For example, “I will put on my walking shoes after I drink my coffee.”
(More about the time you choose to pursue a habit being important here: the right and wrong time for a habit.)
And it seems to work.
I signed up for one of his tiny habits workshops, and decided I just couldn’t stand to floss one tooth, so I made it a goal to floss 10. It did work, but it was somewhat frustrating. I usually ended up flossing all my teeth. While I was at it. 🙂 Which I think just might be the point!
My blogging friend Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy wrote about her experience with tiny habits here.
Personally, I like small, sustainable change best. When I decide I want something, I don’t want to just floss one tooth. I feel held back by that. But, if you’re having a lot of trouble starting a good new habit, I recommend B.J. Fogg’s Tiny Habits course for the accountability and support factor. It’s also great for stuff like remembering to take your vitamins, as Anne points out above.
What say you: are you more likely to pursue a big, hairy goal, or do small or even tiny habits lead to better results in your life?