Mini Habits

by Stephen Guise

Troy Shu
Troy Shu
Updated at: February 23, 2024
 4 min read
Mini Habits
Mini Habits

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What are the big ideas?

  1. Small daily actions make a big difference. Doing a little bit every day is better than doing a lot once in a while. Big achievements start with small steps.
  2. Tiny habits lead to big changes. Starting with really small habits every day can help you change your behavior over time. These small habits are easy to keep doing.
  3. Creating habits is more about planning than feeling motivated. It's better to have a good plan for your habits than to rely on how you feel. Believing in your ability to change is important.
  4. New ideas come from thinking differently. Looking at things from the opposite point of view can help you think of new and creative ideas.
  5. Know why you want to form a habit. It's important to understand why you want to start a habit. Writing down these reasons makes them clearer and more important.

Summary

The Power and Impact of Small Actions

  • “Doing a little bit is infinitely bigger and better than doing nothing (mathematically and practically speaking).”
  • “Doing a little bit every day has a greater impact than doing a lot on one day.”
  • “Every great accomplishment rests on the foundation of what came before it; when you trace it back, you’ll see one small step that started it all.”
  • “When you invest in yourself in key areas like fitness and learning, you tend to do it in other areas too.”
  • “When you add good habits into your life, it illuminates another possible path, restores your confidence, and gives you hope.”

Mini Habits and Their Role in Behavior Change

  • “A mini habit is basically a much smaller version of a new habit you want to form.”
  • “The foundation of the Mini Habits system is in ‘stupid small’ steps.”
  • “To summarize, a mini habit is a VERY small positive behavior that you force yourself to do every day.”
  • “The Mini Habits strategy is forcing yourself to take 1-4 ‘stupid small’ strategic actions every day. These actions are too small to fail and too small to skip for special occasions.”
  • “Mini habits are too small to fail, even without a cue.”

The Relationship Between Habits, Motivation, and Self-Efficacy

  • “We’re quick to blame ourselves for lack of progress but slow to blame our strategies.”
  • “The only way to create habits is to teach the rest of your brain to like what the prefrontal cortex wants.”
  • “Motivation is unreliable because it’s based on how you feel, and we’ve known for centuries that human feelings are fluid and unpredictable.”
  • “As a behavior begins its transition into habit you will become less emotional about it. It will even begin to seem boring and mundane.”
  • “Self-efficacy is your belief in your ability to influence an outcome.”

Creative Thinking and Problem-Solving through False Faces

  • “In False Faces, you consider the opposite of what you’re currently thinking, and see what creative ideas emerge from that.”
  • “False Faces generate creative ideas by forcing your mind to zoom out and see the spectrum of possibilities.”

Establishing and Understanding Personal Habits

  • “Make a quick list of habits you’d like to have at some point.”
  • “My rule of thumb is to minify my desired habit until it sounds stupid. When something sounds ‘stupid small’, your brain sees it as non-threatening.”
  • “Once you’ve listed your habits, identify why you want them. But don’t stop there. Ask why again. Continue to ask why until it becomes circular and repetitive, which means that you’ve found the core.”
  • “Writing something down instantly elevates it above all of your other thoughts.”

The Dynamics of Habit Cues and Willpower

  • “The two common habit cues are time-based and activity-based.”
  • “Another problem with specific cues is their additional load on your willpower.”
  • “Small steps get us started and allow us to build momentum towards a meaningful goal, but it works the other way too. If you allow yourself small concessions, soon enough you’ll find them growing against your will.”
  • “Have you noticed that bad habits have multiple cues, while everyone suggests that a good habit should have one cue?”
  • “The five biggest factors found to cause ego depletion were effort perceived difficulty, negative affect, subjective fatigue, and blood glucose levels.”

Questions

  1. How can small daily actions impact my long-term goals?
  2. In what areas of my life can I start investing little by little to see significant growth?
  3. What "stupid small" step can I take today towards a new habit I want to form?
  4. How can establishing mini habits help me overcome the reliance on fluctuating motivation?
  5. What opposite perspectives can I consider to enhance my creative thinking and problem-solving?
  6. What core reasons drive me to want to establish certain habits in my life?
  7. How can I use time-based or activity-based cues to trigger my mini habits?
  8. What strategies can I use to prevent small concessions from turning into larger setbacks?

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