Changing Your Life Through Tiny Habits
Recent brain science shows how to resist temptation, get motivated and blow up your routine for the better!
In many ways, you are your habits. Research shows that nearly half of our actions are habitual. But habit change is a small deal: the tinier your habit, the easier it is to establish.
If we’re trying get better at big picture stuff–like by getting more productive, creative, or generally awesome–research shows we need to make the change as small as possible.
Habits don’t start feeling “automatic” until you’ve done them for about 66 days straight. And before they’re automatic, you have to use willpower–which, like a muscle, can get fatigued–to initiate the task. What’s more, the bigger a project seems, the less likely we are to complete it, since it seems like too much effort.
Are You Moving Forward Every Day?
If you’re not currently moving forward in your happiness, finances, relationships, or career, then sorry, but what the heck are you doing? Your vigor for life will drain out slowly like honey from a broken jar if you aren’t making daily progress in some way. You don’t have to set records, but you owe it to yourself to live the best life you can. So how can you do it?
The determining factors of your success or failure to make progress are simply:
- What strategies are you using to move forward?
- Are you succeeding consistently with these strategies?
If you don’t say yes to the second question, you’ll underperform your potential. You’ll be a confused mess of ups and downs. I know because I’ve been there. I don’t mean ups and downs as in the general nature of life’s unpredictability, I mean ups and downs in doing 100% achievable things. You’ll have downs when it’s possible to have 100% ups in an area. For example, if you want to read every day, there is no reason to ever fail that goal. The same goes for writing, exercising, your diet, and anything else you can control.
Existing habits are usually stronger than people’s willpower strength to override them with their new goals over the long term. That’s why taking small steps stands apart as most effective among these strategies listed—they don’t require hardly any willpower, they’re specific targets by nature, and anyone can start with them.
So if the secret to learning new skills is to do them every day, then the secret to beginning that process is to start small. Like tiny-habit small.
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