Tiny Habits

The concept of tiny habits is actually pretty cool. Instead of setting yourself the lofty and vague goal of “I’ll work on my novel”, you say “I’ll open the document and reread something I wrote before for 5 minutes.” Or “I’ll open the document and add 15 new words.”

The risk of failure is pretty non-existent with these tiny goals. As a result, you don’t weigh down the activity with guilt and expectations.

Another example: instead of saying “I’ll clean the house,” say “every time I have a cup of coffee at home, I’ll put one thing in its place.”

I want to read more.” Read one sentence a day. If more sentences happen after that, it’s a bonus. But the goal is one a day.

Disclaimer: I’m not working on a novel. It’s only an example. But the method is cool.

One thought on “Tiny Habits

  1. This is exactly how I manage at home. I grew up in a house where nobody cleaned except under duress (like someone coming over, maybe 2-3 times a year), and by then it was such a monumental task that it was absolute torture, sorting and stowing mountains of clutter, scrubbing things that hadn’t seen a washrag in months…. total nightmare. It’s the sort of thing that sticks with a person! I have serious mental blocks about cleaning.

    So I never ever say “I have to get this house clean!” or even “I have to get this kitchen clean!”

    I have to pick the smallest possible task that I can get some leverage on, like, I’m just going to clean this four square feet of countertop and then I can stop if I want. I will scrape the food off these dishes and stack them, but I don’t have to wash them right now. I will just clean this one shelf in the fridge. The rest can wait.

    Often as not, once I’ve started, I go on to clean all the counters, wash all the dishes, and clean the whole fridge. It’s the starting that’s hard. You have to cut the task down to size to be able to start. “I don’t have to climb the whole mountain right now. I will just take five steps up the slope, and then I can go home if I want.”

    Liked by 1 person

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