How to Build Wholesome Habits?

November 18, 2015

The core idea is to build a major habit by thinking small enough to get started and to carry through. 

 

The mini habits approach works because it's how our brains are designed to change. Building on mini habits we can create permanent healthy habits:

 

Read the full story below or download this PDF:

Creating Wholesome Habits for Vital & Mindful Living

 

The core idea is to build a major habit by thinking small enough to get started and to carry through. Once we get going, usually we find it easier to continue. Then we get into a daily wholesome routine – a chosen routine that serves us well.

 

The One Pushup Challenge

 

In his 2013 book ‘Mini Habits,  Small Habit, Bigger Results’ Stephen Guise’s core premise is to show how we can stick to a larger habit (like working out, getting a project done) by starting ridiculously small and creating a very simple goal. The goal of a mini-habit is to be consistent. In fact, he claims, consistency is much more important than what we accomplish with the daily habit.

 

Guise’s striking example is ‘The One Pushup Challenge’, “I tried ‘getting motivated’. It worked sometimes. I tried setting audacious big goals. I almost always failed them. I tried to make changes last. They didn't. Like most people who try to change and fail, I assumed that I was the problem.”


“Then one afternoon--after another failed attempt to get motivated to exercise--I (accidentally) started my first mini habit.     

 

I initially committed to do one push-up. We can succeed without the guilt, intimidation, and repeated failure associated with such strategies as "getting motivated," New Year's Resolutions, or even "just doing it." In fact, you need to stop using those strategies if they aren't giving you great results.”
 

Most popular strategies don't work well because they require you to fight against your subconscious brain (a fight not easily won). It's only when we start playing by our brain's rules and taking our human limitations seriously - as mini habits show us how to do -- that we can achieve lasting change.


What's A Mini Habit?


A mini habit is a very small positive behavior that you force yourself to do every day; its "too small to fail" nature makes it weightless, deceptively powerful, and a superior habit-building strategy. You will have no choice but to believe in yourself when you're always moving forward.

The barrier to the first step is so low that even depressed or "stuck" people can find early success and begin to reverse their lives right away.

Aim For The First Step


Guise: “They say when you aim for the moon, you'll land among the stars.

The message is that you should aim very high and even if you fall short, you'll still get somewhere.”

 

“I've found the opposite to be true in regards to productivity and healthy behaviors. When you aim for the moon, you won't do anything because it's too far away. But when you aim for the step in front of you, you might keep going and reach the moon.

 

I've used the mini habits strategy to get into the best shape of my life, read 10x more books, and write 4x as many words. It started from requiring one push-up from myself every day. How ridiculous is that? Not so ridiculous when you consider the science of the brain, habits, and willpower.

 

The mini habits approach works because it's how our brains are designed to change. Building on mini habits we can create permanent healthy habits in: exercise, writing, reading, thinking positively, meditating, drinking water, eating healthy foods, etc.”

 

The core idea is to build a major habit by thinking small enough to get started and to carry through.

Once we get going, usually we find it easier to continue.

 

Habit Stacking & Checklists

 

The next step is ‘stacking habits’ to improve important areas of our life, e.g. productivity, well-being, availability of time, value-based choices etc. One way of effectively stacking habits is a checklist to improve personal productivity.  A great read in this regard is Atul Gawande’s The Checklist Manifesto *, offering great insight and inspiration for our own habit stacking.

 

Why?

 

As Gawande writes, “a lesson is emerging: checklists seem able to defend anyone, even the experienced, against failure in many more tasks than we realized. They provide a kind of cognitive net.

 

They catch mental flaws inherent in all of us—flaws of memory and attention and thoroughness. And because they do, they raise wide, unexpected possibilities.

But they presumably have limits, as well. So a key step is to identify which kinds of situations checklists can help with and which ones they can’t.” (p.19 in the .pdf that you can download here:

 

http://static.squarespace.com/static/51a6192be4b093105c29aecd/t/528e8ab1e4b0fc15797ef868/1385073329980/The%20Checklist%20Manifesto.pdf. As book also for sale on Amazon)

 

*Atul Gawande is a surgeon, a writer, and a public-health researcher. He practices general and endocrine surgery in Boston and has also been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1998.

 

Make it a habit to set your goals in an achievable way.

Then build one habit after the other and …. stack them. There you are - on your way to chosen change and to a new wholesome routine.

 

Please reload

Featured Posts

Energieke leiding en medewerkers belangrijker dan ooit.

March 21, 2018

1/4
Please reload

Request a Complimentary Talk

Learn how BeVital can benefit your company with an 18-min talk

and Q&A session,

at your location.

BeVital
connect@BeVital.eu
+31.653.550.134
+32.484.493.371
Chamber of Commerce reg. NL-27142151
VAT no. NL NL8016.44.823.B01
Addresses>>

Resilient & Vigorous People are Vital to Organisations.  

      Such people can be relied upon to effectively create solutions -
      without depleting their energy in the face of a demanding day
.

      They know how to regain their focus and optimise their performance.     

Katharina Mullen - managing director BeVital

katharina.mullen@bevital.eu