If you discovered a simple technique that didn’t rely on willpower and motivation, but could improve the quality of your life, what is the likelihood that today you would take action? Let me introduce you to the Tiny Habit technique then and get ready to make a change today.
A few years ago, I came across BJ Fogg's work on Tiny Habits, a technique he developed that helps us form positive daily habits. Habits are the foundations of how we live our lives; for example, if you consider how we manage to get to work on time every day, it is down to lots of little automatic behaviours that lead us to our office door at 9am. It's also those automatic behaviours that can lead us to feel we have lost our energy, our vitality and enthusiasm for life as the monotony weighs heavy.
The motivation to change is hampered by the enormity of the challenge needed to improve the quality of our life. We naturally want to give up and give in. The Tiny Habit principle can help us improve habits, leading to a greater sense of wellbeing. Aristotle famously said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” So lets become the designer of our habits and improve our personal wellbeing.
Definition of a tiny habit:
That takes less than 30 seconds
Super easy, requires minimal effort
Triggered by an existing habit or behaviour
Less than 30 seconds, that is all the daily effort that is required of you to make improvements to your life.
How to create tiny habits - 3 simple steps
1. Focus on the outcome first; what one thing will make you feel more satisfied in life? Decrease stress levels? Lose half a stone? Increase levels of happiness? Improve quality time with family? Whatever it is, note it down.
2. Identify a tiny habit; the idea is to focus on one small thing you can do that will put you on the path of the outcome. For example, daily gratitude - identity 3 great things from the day, or, undertake one sit up and one push up, or, on arrival at home share a hug with your partner and children and ask everyone about their day. Again note it down.
3. Identify a trigger; Tiny Habits are designed to come immediately after an existing habit so pick something that you already do and tag the Tiny Habit on; Brushing your teeth, making the bed, taking your jacket off, use the existing habits and behaviours to trigger the new tiny behaviour you want.
Now this time write down your Tiny Habit by using the ‘after’ ‘I will ‘ phrase, here are a few simple examples;
After I brush my teeth at night
I will look in the mirror and remind my self of three things I am grateful for during the day
After I make the bed in the morning
I will do one sit up and one push up
After I hang my jacket up each night after work
I will ask for a group hug and check in on everyones day
This is my own personal Tiny Habit that had a big outcome, check out my results;
After I put my little one to bed
I will clean at least one brick a night
Create Bigger Goals
The idea that Fogg advocates is ‘simplicity changes behaviours’. Although these seem super simple, that is the point. Fogg’s research has shown that starting in this way and building up momentum creates sustainable change and more satisfied people. Intrinsic motivation comes from the small wins and the sense of achievement.
Tiny Habits works on focusing on training your brain to succeed at a small adjustment. This increases your confidence and results in you making further small changes, which lead to bigger life changes.
What Tiny Habit are you now going incorporate into your daily life to improve its quality today?