Tiny habits – A simple, yet extremely powerful approach for you to build better habits


Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

I did a program last week. It’s called tiny habits. (http://tinyhabits.com/ by BJ Fogg)

It’s a simple, yet extremely powerful idea to drive behavioral change and build habits.

It’s a 5 day program, where you have to choose three tiny habits, and do them for five days. Your tiny habits should have these three parts.

  1. An anchor
  2. An action and
  3. A celebration

The anchor:

The anchor is a habit that is already completely established, or things you do on a regular basis. For example, brushing your teeth, removing your shoes, opening your laptop, or picking up a call.

The tiny habits approach has a very simple idea at its core. Let the new habit piggyback on an existing habit. You already brush every day. Just drink water right after that. Or hang the keys on the wall, right after you remove your shoes.

The action:

The action has to be ridiculously simple (I mean it. Ridiculously). Some of the examples that BJ Fogg gives include, just flossing one tooth at time, or meditating for just 30 seconds). You might say that you don’t want to floss just one tooth, you want to floss all of them, or that you want to meditate for 30 minutes, not 30 seconds. But trust me (or trust BJ Fogg), you will get there. Well practiced tiny habits, will pave the way for stickier bigger habits. The key here is to keep it so small that the limbic system in our brain does not offer any resistance at all. (Read my elephant, foot soldier analogy if you want to understand this better). The 30 second meditation can move to 60 seconds in a week, and to 2 minutes, 5 minutes and so on.

Celebration:

Celebration is a key part of the tiny habits approach. Celebration lets your brain know that you had a win, and it will start craving for more such wins. The celebration has to be immediate. Right then and there. A yaay, or ‘That’s great’, or wow! or “I am awesome” would do for celebration. But celebrate for sure.

These were my tiny habits for last week

Habit Anchor Celebration
1 I will drink 2 gulps of water immediately after I open the car door A big smile at the mirror 🙂
2 I will do 10 pushups immediately after I wake up Play music
3 I will hang the keys on the wall immediately after I remove my shoes “Yaay”

Yaay

But you might ask, “What if I don’t remember.What if I don’t remember to the hang the keys after I remove the shoes?” BJ Fogg has a simple solution. Repeat the routine a number of times. For eg, for my third habit, I wore the shoe, went out of the door, came back in, removed it and then the put the key on the hanger. I repeated this routine about 5 times, and haven’t forgotten it since.

I am completely bought on the power of tiny habits to build sticky habits.  Because for me, it covers all the basic principles of habit formation.They are:

Keep it small and simple

Piggy back, and

Celebrate the small win.

You can read more about these three in 4 war habits to build better habits.

And I wholeheartedly recommend you to head to http://tinyhabits.com/, and set your tiny habits for the week. The next program starts on Monday. Trust me. You won’t be disappointed with the results.

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