I am reading BJ Fogg's book www.tinyhabits.com
. I am really enjoying this and how he is communicating much more than I picked up from his previous web pages/videos/free 5 day course.
I am especially enjoying the techniques he has figured out on how to make habits that are successful for you and will get you to your goals (even if you have no clue what would work or nothing you tried so far has worked).
I am not trying to give the information presented in the introduction, I am just highlighting some ideas that stood out for me (to get the full picture you need to read the book).
1) Keep it Tiny, a small thing you can do in 30 seconds or less. Small, simple, incremental steps are what changes behavior as it is much easier to successfully complete them. Then with that feeling of success - the critical thing that helps solidify the new habit, we can grow the habit incrementally and gain momentum so we can reach our goal.
Big is hard and we will not get that feeling of success that is critical to creating a new habit. Note: This doing something tiny is against our nature as people. I have struggled with it (the idea looks great on paper, I struggle with putting it into play though - but I am learning so much more with the book that I have confidence I will learn how).
BJ has a Fogg Behavior Model that explain well why we need to keep our habits/behavior changes tiny, wait until they are solid, then incrementally grow them.
2) When creating a habit:
- Determine your aspiration / end goal (e.g. to be at your ideal adult weight, to be fit, to run a race, etc.) and then break this down into tiny behaviors that you can do in 30 seconds or less.
- There are a lot of ways to reach your aspiration or even to create a habit, you need to figure out what works for you (BJ teaches techniques to help you figure out what works for you).
- Design a habit/behavior you want, make it tiny, find where it fits naturally in your life, and nurture its growth. Let that habit/behavior gain momentum.
- Practice the habit, revising & refining as you go until you find what works great for you.
- Don’t be perfect, dive in and adjust what you are doing as you go.
- Do not judge yourself if you couldn’t do a habit/missed it, instead of feeling like you failed, embrace these missteps as discoveries and use them to move forwards (revise and refine) to help create one (or many) great habits for you. Just get up and try again (revise and refine and practice) until you find what works for you.
- As you learn how to do habits (doing revise and refine until you find what works for you), your ability to change (make new habits) increases and you build momentum.
- Over time add more tiny behaviors until you have built a lifestyle that gets you where you want to go (accomplishes your aspiration).
3) The most CRITICAL part of creating a change/new habit is to feel good about the new habit/behavior (this has to do with how our brains are “wired”).
- Feeling successful / celebrating is the most important thing!! to create new habits/change. For me, celebrating is hard (e.g. make a big show like I did something really special). However, feeling successful makes more sense to me. I can feel good and successful that I got the habit done!
- Habits need to excite you, delight you, bring you joy – if it doesn’t then drop them (go find a different habit that gets you to your aspiration, or make it a routine). BJ talks about various habits that will get you to your aspiration.
- One of the exercises at the end of the introduction section which BJ asks people to do is: “Write this phrase on a small piece of paper: I change best by feeling good, not by feeling bad. Tape the paper to your bathroom mirror or anywhere you will frequently see it. Read the phrase often.
4) BJ has some appendix documents that really assist on creating a habit.
Flow charts of the exact steps to take including ideas I hadn't heard of before that really helped me refine/revise my habits that will get me to my goal/aspiration.
Examples in details (step by step) of how to design a habit including how to stop doing a habit you don't want to do.
Concepts explained well with examples.
BJ really worked hard (and talked about doing that) to communicate clearly and simply, in a step by step way, how to create habits easily.
He even has a list of 100 ways to celebrate and I thought well this is just a list and won't work for me (fist pumps, jumping for joy, those things are just not me). But as I got down the list, towards the end, I found one and said Hey, That one is me! Nice to so easily find something that felt like it fit. I might need to practice, revise and refine, but I have a great starting point.