The re-tweet by SAP TechEd US keynote speaker Jane McGonigal caught my eye:
@BJ Fogg My “3 Tiny Habits” group invests 3 min/day for 5 days to change life. You can apply for my next session here
Change my life in 3 minutes a day for 5 days?? Sounds crazy but, what did I have to lose? So I took the link, completed the application, and crossed my fingers. A few days later an email welcomed me to the program.
Maybe your experience with developing new habits has been like mine: I start off with a lot of enthusiasm and excitement, but somewhere along the way it fails to stick, whether it is a new exercise routine, an improved dietary plan, an intellectual betterment program like learning a new language, or another worthy goal. Why is it so hard to stick with these new habits, despite a heartfelt desire at the outset? BJ Fogg’s “3 Tiny Habits” program is deceptive in its simplicity; his way to develop to new habits is to start out small, in fact tiny, make it quick and easy, and to piggyback the new habits onto habits you already have well entrenched.
You might be saying to yourself, “Ha, she doesn’t know me, I have no good habits.” Sure you do. You brush your teeth every morning, don’t you? You have something to drink first thing every morning, a cup of coffee or tea, perhaps? Excellent! You already have the basis for some of your new Tiny Habits. If you stop to think about it, I bet you could come up with quite a few things you do every day without even thinking about it.
The next part is important: make it tiny. This is not the time to set a goal that this year, you will run a marathon, or even finish a 10K, if you are not already a daily runner. No, his method is to start TINY. Perhaps something like: After my morning cup of coffee, I will go for a 30 second walk. Remember, AFTER something you already do habitually every day, now you will do something tiny.
After my first cup of coffee, I will write one sentence.
For me it was: after I brush my teeth, I will do one stretch. Not an entire yoga routine, just one stretch.
Yes, one. Remember, quick and easy. Tiny. Nothing burdensome or painful. If it’s painful, he says do something else.
If you are going to write, you will have your tablet or preferred device on the table in the morning, to make it easy to remember. If you are going to walk, your walking shoes should be right there as a reminder. The last part is also important: you will reward yourself for your new tiny habits. In fact, you should give yourself a mental “Atttagirl/ Attaboy” for even remembering to do it, then again when you actually do the new habit, you can celebrate again. You did it! Yes, you did! That’s the way! Good on you!
Once your tiny habits are well established and you are feeling good about them, then you can gradually start to make it bigger. Eventually, that one sentence could be your new blogging habit, and you will be on your way to higher contributor status on SCN. Your new reading habit could get you a new SAP certification. I am already feeling much better with my new stretching habit. But it all starts with 3 Tiny Habits. I encourage everyone to give this program a try. My thanks to BJ Fogg for accepting me into the program, and to Jane McGonigal for the re-tweet that started me on this path. Here’s to lots of productive new habits in 2012!