Have you ever started an exercise or healthy eating program feeling enthused and excited only to slide back into your old habits a few days later? You ask yourself why? You feel poorly about your choices, you vow that ‘tomorrow’ you’ll get it right. Unfortunately, tomorrow keeps getting pushed back and pushed back, leaving us feeling trapped in the cycle of wanting change but not knowing really how to start.
There has been some excellent research in the last decade about how we can harness our habits to help us make lasting change! One of the easiest strategies to implement into your day is the concept of ‘tiny habits’. Tiny habits as described by BJ Fogg, a Behaviour Scientist at Stanford, are habits that:
-you do at least once a day
-that take you less than 30 seconds
-that require little effort.
Fogg provides a template for tiny habits:
After I ( trigger), I will ( tiny habit).
It helps to use an anchor of sorts ( something you do everyday that is routine ) eg. making coffee. So using the coffee anchor your template would look like this:
After I make coffee, I will meditate for 30 seconds.
Making coffee, something you do each morning, becomes your trigger, your anchor to practicing daily meditation.
Implementing tiny habits can lead to big change. It can act as momentum for other changes in your life. Meditation might lead to you feeling less stressed, which in turn might lead you to eat healthier during the day, which might lead to you taking a walk after dinner. You can think of these tiny habits as snowballing, eventually creating the change you crave!
What tiny habits can you come up with in your own daily life to nudge you to your bigger goals?
Check out BJ Fogg’s TED talk on the subject of Tiny Habits!