Popular thinking about habit formation and change feeds into our impulse to set unrealistic expectations. As opposed to these popular opinions, building habits and creating positive change can be easy — with the right approach.
To successfully form habits and command a change, you need to do three things:
- Stop judging yourself
- Take your aspirations and break them down into tiny behaviors
- Accept mistakes as discoveries and use them to move forward
The most imperative of these steps is taking off self–criticism. You change best by feeling good, not bad.
Self–criticism and self–doubts often pull you back from making real progress by making you feel bad. However, if you follow the tiny habits process, you’ll be well on your way to easily and joyfully bridging the gap between who you are and that person you want to be.
Here are some valuable tips on how to increase positive habits that lead to change in your life. PR and business people will find them useful.
7 steps to habit formation
- Tiny habits soon create bigger ones
One problem humans face is that of time; there is never enough time. We always feel so pressed for time that we have a scarcity mindset. This mindset makes us say no to changes as we feel like we don’t have the time to cultivate new habits. 30 minutes of exercise a day seems too much. Writing daily in a journal sounds amazing, but you don’t have that time.
A solution to this issue of time is starting tiny. Focus on little actions that you can do in less than 30 seconds. This way, you can quickly wire in new habits, and they’ll grow naturally. When you start tiny, you can create big changes in little time.
Another positive to cultivating tiny habits is that it’s an approach that involves less risk. This implies that you can start to change without making a big scene. This reduces the pressure on you. There are no real failures in forming tiny habits, and as such, the emotional risk is eliminated. The saying, “Go big or go home,” isn’t always helpful. Indeed, it is often better to start small.
- Repetitions alone do not create habits- emotions do
A range of positive experiences can reinforce a new behavior that leads to a habitual response. There are old myths that repetition creates habits. This is incorrect. Emotions create habits. This is because when it comes to behavior, decisions and habits are opposites. While decisions require deliberation, habits do not. For example, people don’t decide to take their phones when leaving the house. They just take it without deliberating. It’s a habit.
There are many types of positive reinforcement to wire in a habit, but the real winner is creating a feeling of success. Celebration is indeed the best way to create a positive feeling that wires in new habits. It is the bridge from tiny habits to big changes. It is free, fast, and available to all people.
- Celebration is a habit fertilizer
Celebration is a habit fertilizer. By cultivating feelings of success, thereby promoting confidence, we make the soil more inviting and nourishing for all the other habit seeds we want to plant.
- Habit formation is not an overnight job
Cultivating habits is similar to cultivating a garden. You could stand idly on your back porch and wish that your yard would become more beautiful. Even when weeks go by, and weeds begin to grow, you only pull out a few strands here and there and go back to lazing around. Or you could choose to actively play a part in designing the garden you want. You identify what vegetables and flowers you’d love to have in your garden, you choose plants you can easily work with, and you consider which yard is best for each plant.
While it takes a bit of planning and care to get the delicate little sprouts off the ground, you make sure they are deeply rooted by celebrating little successes. Soon, it’s time to watch your rooted vegetation grow bigger. It is the same with building new habits.
There is no specific measure for how long it takes for habits to grow to their full expression. The formation–time of a habit depends on three things:
- The person doing the habit
- The habit itself (the action)
- The context
The interaction between these elements determines how easy or difficult it is to build a particular habit.
- Understand the 3 types of habits
Tiny habits are not the answer to serious addictions. But for people with bad habits that are not serious addictions, tiny habits can be game–changing. A good way to think about habits is to put them into three categories:
This category of habits requires ongoing attention to maintain but are easy to stop. Examples are getting out of bed when your alarm goes off, going to the gym, or meditating daily
Easy to maintain but difficult to stop. Examples are hitting snooze, swearing, and watching videos on YouTube
These habits are like substance abuse that can be arduous to stop unless you have a safety net of professional help
- Exchange old habits with new ones
Tiny Habits introduces a system called the Behavior Change Masterplan to help you get rid of your downhill habits. This master plan designed to disrupt unwanted habits has three phases:
- Focus on creating new habits
- Focus on stopping the old habit
- Focus on exchanging a new habit for the new one
You create new positive habits first. Then, you work on stopping the old habit.
- Love thyself
The quality of our lives on planet earth depends largely on the choices we make every day. How we live our lives, how we spend our time, and how we treat ourselves and others determine how well our lives go in the long run. As a global community, we are increasingly disconnected from ourselves and other people. We need to factor in a change to fix this anomaly.
The first step toward this is to embrace feeling better. Once you embrace a better version of yourself, you open your mind to new possibilities and greater options.
By using tiny habits and behavior design, you can be a force for good in the lives of others. Habits are a means to an end. They teach us the skills of change, propel us towards our dreams, and add more shine to the world.