Transform your New Year with Tiny Habits

It’s the energy of the New Year!  My favourite time to create new intentions and resolutions 🙂  And I’ve discovered a new and easier way of setting goals this year.  Using tiny habits!

When I first started the blog I was trying to go by the name “Everyday” magic, and post every day.  But this wasn’t realistic.  When I couldn’t keep it up I got discouraged and stopped.  Does that sound familiar?  Sounds a bit like New Year’s resolutions doesn’t it?

Most new year’s resolutions are grand, and they require a lot of motivation to complete. “I’m going to run a marathon.  I’m going to write a book.”  Then when the motivation drops off you stop.  That’s why this year I’m focusing on implementing tiny habits!

Tiny habits are a concept originated by BJ Fogg, a professor at Stanford University.  Instead of making a big resolution you choose something small.  For instance, instead of aiming to do 50 pushups a day, you commit to doing one. Instead of aiming to floss your teeth every night you commit to flossing one tooth.  By giving yourself something that requires almost no motivation to do, you start to create the habit of doing it, so the behaviour becomes part of you and in time it grows.

Inevitably, if you have gone to the effort of getting down on the ground to do one pushup, you may as well do another couple while you’re there.  Or if you’ve gone to the trouble of getting the floss out you may as well floss two teeth rather than one.  So the habit slowly builds.  As Fogg says “Plant a tiny seed in the right spot and it will grow without coaxing.”

An integral part of this is approach is to trigger your new tiny habit by linking it to something you already do every day e.g. After I pee I will do one pushup.  After I brush my teeth I will floss one tooth.  After I have my morning coffee I will tidy one item in the living room.  This makes the behaviour automatic and it requires no motivation to remember.

He also recommends that you celebrate your new behaviour immediately after doing it.  You can say “I’m awesome” with a celebratory fist shake, shout ‘Bingo’ or do a silly victory dance around the room.

So my new blogging habit will be “After I eat breakfast I will write for one minute” and I’m going to do a victory dance around my bedroom when I’ve done it!  Hooray!  I’ll let you know how it goes.

To find out more about Fogg’s work about Tiny Habits you can check out his TED talk here or visit his website here  And a big big thanks to my good friend Ruairi for introducing me to his work.

So what resolutions would you like to implement this New Year?  How could you make them tiny and link them to something you already do?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!