The last few months have been challenging for us all. My magical thinking that life would be back to “normal” by September has not come to pass. My daughter started 2nd grade on Zoom, the gyms I teach/train at are still shut down, and I took on the challenge of creating a new company from scratch for a timely fitness product I believe in. If you are also feeling the stress of navigating homeschooling, working from home, looking for work, caregiving, and just trying to keep a smile on your face to cope, then you may need to set a TINY goal to move forward. Now is the time to create small wins each day so that we generate feelings of satisfaction and self-efficacy, not overwhelm and disappointment.
Tiny Habits, The Small Changes That Change Everything, by BJ Fogg, Ph.D., a world-renowned Behavior Scientist at Stanford University, clearly explains the power of making tiny changes to our daily routine. In the book, he writes, “People change best by feeling good, not feeling bad.” Unfortunately, many of us set goals that make us feel bad. If you commit to exercising one hour every day and are upset each evening because you didn’t exercise for an hour, you wind up feeling discouraged, not happy for the time you did invest in yourself. Instead, set a tiny goal like “I will do ten squats each time I wash my hands.” With that small goal, you have the power of a “prompt” (wash your hands = five squats). Another example is doing two push-ups every-time your brush your teeth.
The prompt is the automatic behavior that we are already doing, we have dozens of these (like making coffee and getting out of bed), and by linking a new behavior to one we are already doing, we can easily create new automatic behaviors. But when doing this, the key is to go tiny.
Link your desired habits to prompts within your day to create new habits that will stick.
Create a TINY habit:
After _______, I will ________.
- After I brush my teeth, I will do two push-ups (within a short time, you’ll be doing many more than 2)
- After I have my coffee, I put on my running shoes.
- After I turn on the TV, I do five crunches.
- After I turn on the coffee, I drink a sip of water.
- After I do eat dinner, I write one sentence in my journal.
- After I eat dinner, I brush my teeth.
- After I turn on the TV, I chew gum.
- After I send an email, I take two slow inhales and exhales.
- After I finish a zoom meeting, I stretch for two minutes.
- After I get in bed, I turn off my phone.
Now more than ever, we need to be kind to ourselves, to celebrate the small successes we achieve during this challenging time, and to feel good when we can during the day. I truly wish you success creating some tiny habits and hope you remember that feeling good creates momentum that can, little by little, take you to your long-term goals. Check out BJ Fogg’s work and think about practicing his three recommendations to change for the better.
“To design successful habits and change your behaviors, you should do three things. Stop judging yourself. Take your aspirations and break them down into tiny behaviors. Embrace mistakes as discoveries and use them to move forward.”
Wishing you all well and hoping you will check out my new project to support your tiny fitness goals at moveitmask.com
Best in health,