Stupid Small- Mini Habits by Stephen Guise


We all want to improve ourselves in things that we are passionate about, so today, we will try to develop mini habits that will help us take the daunting first step towards our goal.

The idea of mini habit is to reduce the need for willpower and motivation by creating a starter mini habit that is so easy it’s harder to NOT do it than to do it.

“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.”

Vincent Van Gogh

I think you can relate to me when I say that beginning something is usually a not-so-easy thing to do.

Before sleeping at night, we would plan to exercise the next day. When the next day comes, we start to have this self-negotiation where we try to talk ourselves out from doing the exercise. We say we will eat less today or the most common is, “I’ll do it tomorrow.”

Many “tomorrow” has passed, and still, no exercise happened. After several months of planning, you become consistent with not doing anything. And you get more disappointed with yourself.

“You may delay, but time will not”

-Benjamin Franklin

The problem of setting a massive goal is it requires motivation. This massive goal can possibly create more excuses and build resistance.

What if the requirement was so small there was no excuse to skip it?

Let other people think what they want to think. Focus on your small wins

Today, we will talk about how mini habits can actually help you in achieving things you keep on delaying.

Your failure to act is not because YOU’RE the problem, but because YOUR STRATEGY is the problem.

Instead of telling yourself to exercise for an hour why don’t you build a mini habit like doing a single push up? Or 2-second plank?

If you are engaging in photography, develop a mini habit to take a single photo using your mobile phone camera. If you want to build a mini habit of journaling your day, have a goal to write one word to describe how your day was.

Make the goal so small that it becomes easy for you to do it.

This is what Stephen Guise talked about in his book Mini Habits – Small Habits, Bigger Result.

Mini Habits

The idea is to reduce the need for willpower and motivation by creating a starter mini habit that is so easy it’s harder to NOT do it than to do it.

3 Hidden Powers of Mini Habit

Every great accomplishment rests on the foundation of what came before it; when you trace it back, you’ll see one small step that started it all.

1. Post – movement motivation

The motivation found after doing the goal of mini habit. Let’s break this down to two categories:

  1. Ego: Because the goal is stupid small like 1 push up, you will ask yourself “Are you that lazy not to do it? Can’t you do it? Can’t you do more?” So you start to do it which will lead to the second category.
  2. Physics: Newton’s First Law which states that objects in motion remain in motion unless acted upon by another force. Once you start moving your body, it will be difficult to stop. Once you finish one push up most likely you will continue to do more – this is what we call Bonus Reps.
Formula: Small Step + Desired Behavior = High Probability of Further Steps

2. Small Actions strengthen self-belief

Small actions open the door to bigger changes because small actions reduce fear and strengthen one’s belief to oneself. The more you succeed in doing your mini habit, the more you feel like doing it more often.

When any small behavior becomes a habit, it matters.

3. Less effort, same result

It takes work to build a habit (18-254 days) depends on the habit of a person but once ingrain it becomes automatic and effortless. In fact, it becomes hard not to act on it.

Urge to execute a habit is from consistency not quantity.

It doesn’t matter how long a habit takes you to form because the goal is to do it forever anyway.

2 Mini Habit Rules:

1. Make it stupid small

In choosing a mini habit, set minimum requirement lower than the lowest possible motivation so even on your worse day, you can find time to do it

The goal is to have no excuse not to do it.

2. Be happy with the minimum

Avoid getting angry when you can only do the minimum of your mini habit because your brain will know that you are manipulating and will build resistance to building the habit

Make it an option to continue not an obligation.

Signs that something is a habit:

  • No resistance: It’s easier to do than not do it
  • Identity: You identify with it “I’m a writer”
  • Mindless action: You do the action without making an executive decision
  • You don’t worry about it: you know you’ll do it unless there’s an emergency
  • Normalization: It’s nonemotional.
  • It’s boring: You’re not excited about it.

Be careful with overachievement raising the bar too soon. Never change the requirement, even if you surpass it.

Consistency with your mini habits will develop the urge for you to do it

If the step seems stupidly small, it’s perfect.

The benefit of mini habits?

  • There’s a chance you’ll do bonus reps. Just getting started reduces internal resistance.
  • Routine formation.
  • Constant success. Mini habits are too small to fail.

“Be the person with embarrassing goals and impressive results instead of one of the many people with impressive goals and embarrassing results.

Stephen Guise, Mini Habits – Small Habits, Big Results

If you enjoy this read, you can check out my other post : – System over Goals


One thought on “Stupid Small- Mini Habits by Stephen Guise

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