Making and breaking habits. One Tiny Habit at a time.

English: New Year's Resolutions postcard
English: New Year’s Resolutions postcard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Attended my first Tedx event in Palo Alto last weekend…and absolutely loved it. The topic was Health & Habits and there was an impressive list of nationally renowned authors– –Kathy Freston, Dr. John McDougall among them– and celebrated local authors & speakers.  I was wowed by most of them. But I was particularly inspired by Dr. B.J. Fogg, director of the Persuasive Tech Lab at Stanford University.  Dr. Fogg’s premise and practice is in promoting long term behavior change through taking baby steps. It’s called Tiny Habits.

Dr. Fogg’s work boils down to two basic principles for changing/breaking/making habits:

1) set tiny goals. His was doing 2 push ups daily. Now, he does 60/day!

2) attach a new behavior after an existing one and it will more easily become a habit. Ex: want to floss daily? Do it after you brush your teeth.

As someone who went from struggling to bike 3 miles on the stationary bike one year ago to now spinning 12 miles per session, I know that little ambitions work. I could never have succeeded in doing 12 miles/day if I wanted to start there. I just didn’t know there was a method to my practice. It was a Tiny Habit!

Now that I get the concept, there’s lots of changes I’d like to make:

  • I’d like to write every day. But I don’t. Instead of writing for 30 minutes/day…maybe I can write for five. Five minutes of wrestling with words.  Doable.
  • I’d like to cut out junk food. Can’t do that but can quit chewing gum in the car. At least on the way to work!
  • I’d like to take an ongoing dance class. Can’t commit to signing up ….but I can try a Zumba class at my gym.
  • I want to go to more lectures and listen to more provocative talks. I loved Tedx. How do I get that stimulation  more often? I can commit to watching to one Ted Talk every Tuesday night on my iPad.  I can do that.

I started this blog nearly 2 years ago because I took the Post a Day  One Year Challenge. Once I hit the one year mark, I became way more sporadic in my blogging. A post a day for a year, I can promise. A lifetime of posting, I can’t. I need to find the Tiny Habit for blogging more regularly that  I can start now.

The good news about Tiny Habits is there’s a big support network behind it. I just signed up for  a free week of help committing to my changes. Best part of this: I don’t have to start today. I can wait till my week starts. Procrastination is a habit I don’t think I will change anytime soon!

As we all know, January 2  is littered with the chipped & broken resolutions made on January  1. Tiny Habits may be the way to break free from resolution dissolution. I’ll let you know how I do.

How about you? What habits would you like to change? Would Tiny Habits work for you?

Habits! (Photo credit: sirwiseowl)

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