Tiny Habits: the habit of practicing new habits

 

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“You are what you do.”- Stedman Graham

Did you know that Wednesdays are the day that most people stop their new, good habits? Something about the middle of the week is a trigger for most of us to give up fresh starts.

I know how good it feels to have habits that stick for years; They work on you as time goes on.   I don’t even have to think about my morning  meditation practice, which has had a profound influence on my life.  I have not skipped a day of writing in over five years.  I practiced this habit for so long that it became second nature to me.

On the other hand, my yoga classes tend to come and go. My eating habits slide off track on a regular basis. My laundry piles up sometimes, and my kitchen sink is filled with dishes after a dinner party for longer than I care to admit.

So I’m glad I stumbled across Dr. BJ Frogg and his idea of tiny habits. It’s been a useful tool for me as I practice new, positive changes in my life.

A tiny habit always has a trigger and it has to take less than 30 seconds to execute.

For those of us who need to drink more water, we can easily start some supportive tiny habits; After I do my dishes, I bring a glass of water with me to the living room. After I take my shower, I put a glass of water on my nightstand.

We can make small improvements in our physical fitness, and address the winter blues; After I brush my teeth, I do two pushups. After my feet hit the ground in the morning, I say,  “It’s going to be a great day.”

A tiny habit with your spouse, or at work  might be helpful;  After she comes in the door, I say, “Im so glad you’re home.”  After I open my email,  I take three, deep breaths.

You see, tiny habits , while not earth shaking, are a perfect way to get yourself in the habit of starting new habits.

If you’re struggling with a new habit, consider that your challenge might not be with the habit itself, but with the basic skill of practicing new habits.  

You can learn to use common triggers to your advantage when you practice tiny habits. Rather than grabbing whatever you see in the refrigerator after you open the door, you can start anew habit:  After I open the refrigerator, I ask myself if I am really hungry.

When I feel confident about my ability to start a new habit, I can use this skill to crowd out bad habits, and I naturally feel more courage when I start something new.  I see tiny habits as a valuable practice that can change your life.

Good luck on all of your endeavors, and thanks for reading.

“Cultivate the habit of making aware choice. Your choice makes your destiny.

Do not be carried away by the unconscious choices.”
― Amit Ray

 

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