Mini-Habits and Why They Work



I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel overwhelmed when I receive a lot of information and guidance all at once, especially when it comes to personal development. It may be useful, even essential, but what to do with it all?


In fact, that's a large part of what Housepath Home is all about. A simple, actionable framework to create lasting change in how we care for ourselves at home. So when the book entitled Mini Habits, Smaller Habits, Bigger Results by Stephen Guise magically appeared as a suggested read on Amazon, it had a special little ring to it that translated into a click and deliver a few days later. And boy did it deliver, my friends!


This book is changing my LIFE! For one, the book is mini at only 118 pages. Secondly, the font is a bit larger than your standard paperback, which just makes it, I don't know, easier to digest somehow. Whether or not by design, this only lends further to my conclusion that in the digital age our brains are overworked and in need of an extended series of TIME OUTS. Short book, big font. Mama like.


When I read the author's premise, how a series of small and seemingly insignificant daily choices led to big results (including how his commitment of one push up a day amounted to a drastic 180 in fitness evolution), I knew this was right up my exercise alley. I'd been wanting to improve my fitness for a while now, so I thought, if he can do one push up, I can, too. For me, nothing in the past has seemed to stick. Enter Mini-Habits.


What I've learned through this book is that despite their appearance, my goals were simply too big. Or how Stephen Guise puts it, not "stupid small" nor "too small to fail". According to Guise, that is exactly what our commitments must be if we want lasting positive, behavioral change. We need to aim smaller. Nearly zero resistance. Again, right up my alley. I can do this.



Why does it work?


It all comes down to our brains. They simply do not like change. Theirs is the path of least resistance, or the well-marked road of routine and safety. To create a new habitual course, we must trick our brains into compliance. We need to make that desired change so seemingly insignificant that our built-in mechanisms drawing us back to safety (or the old habit) do not even recognize we are off track. With slow and steady mini-change over time we've formed an entirely new, well-paved route.


Willpower vs. Resistance


Guise explains that we all have a finite amount of willpower at our disposal. And to make new positive habitual choices, we need access to that willpower on the regular. Nine times out of ten, it's our internal resistance to new behavior choices that causes us to fail in the moment (again, the brain likes its well-traveled path). But a mini-habits only requires a mini-reserve of willpower. By drawing a micro-portion from our reserves, getting over the resistance hump is easy. Or better said, the resistance is mini-to-none. Usually the reason we fail in habit evolution is that our resistance wins. Now there's much more to the book with scientific anecdotes, research and personal experience, but that is my mini-takeaway.


And the proof is in the pudding. Since reading this book, I have developed my first new mini-habit! That's right, I have successfully planked for ten seconds for over a month now. If this sounds small to you, it's because it is. In fact, it's ridiculous. And that's why it works. And why I love it. God forbid, It's even fun! I've also increased on many a day to 1-minute planks, a few 2-minute planks, and even a few futile attempts at a push up (upper body strength is not mine, if you know what I mean). And let's just say, if I've forgotten my mini-plank for one reason or the other, and I'm all tucked into bed, the resistance to jumping on the floor beside me for ten-seconds is nil.


If you're wondering where this all leads, Guise also explains that when we aim "stupid small", we are likely to overachieve on our mini-habit (though that is NOT the point). Once momentum is set in motion, well....you know the rest. On the flip side, if we don't feel like doing more, we've still won. We are winners all around!The more we win, the more our self-efficacy flourishes. The more confident we become in our ability to influence outcomes, the more we'll likely engage in said behavior. And the cycle continues. Mini-wins for the win!



In terms of Housepath Home, I thought the same concept would be helpful in how I share information. One small home and life tip to consider at a time. Small drips, over time. Tending the soil slowly, seed by seed, day by day, a little sunshine here, a bit of nutrient there, until one day we may just find ourselves in the midst of a beautiful, vibrant planking garden.


TODAY'S MINI-TIP is to check out this book if you are looking to aim too small too fail. I promise, you won't.


Psst. Have you developed any new habits lately? I'd love to hear about it below. What has helped you stay on track?



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Copyright 2020 Housepath Home | Michelle Cloney