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Grow big by starting small

Someday is not a day in the week.

Yet that's when many of us plan to start some of the things that mean the most to us or those which will help us exponentially. One of the reasons we do this is so that we can focus on the urgent matters at hand today.

The truth is the pressing matters will continue to crop up, there will be new challenges to overcome, and new fires to put out daily. These won't cease and even if they do, there will be something new to keep us occupied. It's therefore in our best interest that we make the time and start working on things that matter. Whether it's that brilliant idea for a strategic project at work, focusing on your health, or devoting time to nurture your relationships; start by taking tiny steps.

Here's where the Tiny Habits Method for habit formation created by BJ Fogg, PhD will help you. You can specifically use Tiny Habits Recipes to get you started. A Tiny Habits Recipe has 3 ingredients and is simple. In fact, it boils down to ABC.

Before I expand ABC, let's take a step back to understand how behavior happens. In the Fogg Behavior Model, BJ explains that for any behavior to happen, Motivation, Ability, and a Prompt need to converge at the same time. The written version of the model is B=MAP.

With that background, let's move to the 3 ingredients of the Tiny Habits Recipe (the ABC).

Anchor (moment): The anchor serves as the prompt. It's what will remind you to do the new behavior. BJ says that the best prompts are action prompts i.e. behaviors that you already do. Simply put, you piggy back a new behavior that you want to start after an existing behavior that you already do. This is the greatest hack for habit formation.

In my case, I wanted to start reading more, so I decided to read after having lunch.

(Tiny) Behavior: This second ingredient is the new behavior that you want to start. What you need to remember is to keep it really tiny and easy. BJ recommends that the tiny behavior should be something you can do in about 30 seconds or less. If you want a behavior to sustain over time, the scalable way to do that is to start tiny. So resist the all or nothing temptation.

I started by reading 2 pages of a book.

Celebration - This is the (not so) secret ingredient of habit formation. It is something you do to create a positive feeling inside of yourself. In Tiny Habits parlance, we call it 'shine'. This could be: doing a fist pump, saying 'YES!', dancing to your favorite song, or just smiling. Choose what works for you.

I celebrate with my hands raised and say YES!

This is what my Tiny Habits Recipe for reading looked like - After I put my plate away post lunch, I will read 2 pages of a book.

I've read 13 books from the time I started mid-last year. And this number doesn’t include the books I've read on Kindle or listened to on Audible.

Which positive habit do you want to start?



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