Week 4: Flow to Your Tiny Habits

Gals and guys… I’m sorry… I’m going to cheat this week. I didn’t do any writing last week and the writing I did today requires… some work… like… A LOT of work. I started to deconstruct the idea of “family” and how our narrow view of family is… negatively impacting us. There’s a lot to unpack there. lol So, instead, I’m going to share some notes I took while listening to episode 306 of the Jordan Harbinger show: “BJ Fogg | Tiny Habits That Change Everything”.

BJ Fogg (@bjfogg) is the founder and director of the Stanford Behavior Design Lab, and author of Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything. (BJ’s on the left, Jordan’s on the right)

[Featured photo by Nathaniel Gerdes]

Flow to Your Dream is going to be so much more than a system for making new habits. The philosophy and community will be major components as time marches on but right now… it mainly exists as a system for developing new habits in 108-day cycles. A lot of what I’ve learned from creating my system I heard reinforced in the podcast episode. I highly recommend listening to the whole episode as I’ll just be sharing a handful of things I jotted down as it related to my system.

My system, when used for creating new habits, is simple. You think about something you’d like to make a daily habit. You decide what you’ll do for that habit. You check in with a group on whether did, or did not, do the thing. Boom. Simple. The first note I’ll start with is something I’ve learned from myself and helping others…

Use Starter Habits or Smallest Habits

Whatever daily habit you want to develop (meditation, exercise, reading, writing, etc.) choose either something you need to do to start the activity or the smallest version of the activity as the daily goal.

An example of a starter habit might be putting on your running gear and going outside as the habit. If you don’t feel like running you can go back inside guilt free as long as you do that. Another version could be rolling out the yoga mat and putting on yoga clothes. You don’t even need to do a single sun salutation!

Some examples of the smallest habit could be doing a single push up, writing a single sentence in your journal, or reading a single page of a book.

With each of these you can always do more, but you put your focus on the minimum.

Making Habits Should be Fun and Easy, Not Boring and Difficult

If you’re using starter or smallest habits there’s not a whole lot of pressure there. Especially if you’re working on one habit at a time. In the group I manage there are no penalties for missing days. Missing days are expected! Especially during your first attempt! You just keep showing up and over time the habit becomes automatic. Not because you forced it upon yourself with an iron first. It happened because you built on small wins until they became big wins.

It’s a Celebration!

This is actually something BJ recommends doing with yourself! Especially in the beginning. He said when there’s a new habit you want to make you can rehearse it 7 to 10 times in a row with a little celebration after each time… lol This isn’t something I’ve tried by myself (yet), but it’s something that I do with members of the group. Especially my wife. Every time she comes inside from running or does some squats it’s all fist bumps, high fives, and “good job”s!

There is one habit I haven’t been able to figure out that I’m going to try this with… closing the shower curtain. I never do it and I’m always getting yelled at about it… lol Feel free to ask me if this worked in the comments below or the next time you see me. Better yet! Ask my wife. Lol

Don’t Use Willpower or Motivation (if you don’t have to)

Relying on willpower or motivation is setting yourself up for failure. The reason for this is that they can’t be reliably counted on day in and day out. Motivation can be awesome for getting things started, but it won’t take you to the finish line. You also want to systematically engineer things so willpower isn’t a requirement. This is why you use starter or smallest habits.

Behavior is a System

This graph seems to be at the core of the Tiny Habits system. It’s “Behavior = Motivation + Ability + Prompt”. By understanding how these three forces come together to create the behavior you’re able to manipulate your environment, prompts, routines, etc. in order to influence the behavior you want to modify.

Seeing yourself and your behaviors as a system is really what’s at the core of the Flow to Your Dream/108-day system. The focus isn’t on which system is best (mine, Tiny Habits, something else), it’s embracing the fact that you need to systematically approach making the changes you want to make. It’s not whether you should use a system or not. That’s predetermined. You’re DEFINITELY using a system.

The question to ask yourself is this…

Are you going to take control of the systems governing your life or are you going to be controlled by the systems governing you?

To learn more about Tiny Habits go to tinyhabits.com

One comment

  1. I thought you might use the example of making your bed or brushing your teeth. I thought those were the first tiny habits you started with. If I go to all the work of putting on running clothes and don’t run, I think I would find that discouraging.

    Liked by 1 person

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