Getting the Elephant Moving
Two weeks ago, I wrote about my Grown-Up Sticker Chart and my start with mini-habits.
And – no pun intended – I'm sticking with it!
But not without some crucial modifications, based on what I've been reading in Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results by Stephen Guise.
While I've had huge success in some areas – specifically in terms of my house (my "Shawshanking" led me to undertake, and complete, a huge clearing-out of the worst room in the house) – I fell behind on some others.
As I suspected, I had set my bar too high – the biggest mistake you can make when building mini-habits into your life and, apparently, the most common rookie mistake. The whole point is to make them too easy to fail, so that you end up with a 100% success rate.
My mistakes? In the first place, I had started with too many habits; I had chosen five. I mean, they're small and easy, so why not, right? But Guise recommends no more than four, and given my experience, I have to agree. So I've cut one out for now.
And my second mistake: thinking that some of my initial mini-habit goals were not only perfectly reasonable and easily achievable, but they were also embarrassingly paltry.
The "thinking" part of my brain may have seen it that way, but the "feeling" part of my brain felt otherwise. The proof was not in my thoughts, but in my actions. It has nothing to do with what's rational. And that's the point, as the Elephant and the Rider analogy so aptly shows:
The rider is our thinking brain, and the elephant is our more primal brain. If they disagree about where to go, guess who's going to win out? So we need to make the path so easy and desirable for the elephant that it wants to take that first step. Even better, we trick the elephant into taking the first step because it's so tiny that it doesn't even seem like a step.
But once that elephant starts moving ... that is powerful. I am seeing the proof of that every day, in very tangible ways.
Want to try mini habits?
Think about one area of your life that you would like to improve. What is a tiny, seemingly insignificant thing you could do every day in that area? Now reduce that tiny step even more, until it's laughingly, embarrassingly small. A 10-second plank? Writing one sentence? Putting $1 in the bank? Give it a try. Do it every day, keep track on a calendar, and see how it goes ... I think you will be very surprised at the huge results that such a small start can produce. I certainly am!