Stephen Guise and Mini-Habits
Stephen Guise in his ‘Mini-Habit’ argues brilliantly about the need to make our goals ‘stupid’ and easily achievable, if we want them to become lifelong habits. He struggled for long with lethargy regarding his exercise habits, but when he chose to do just one push up a day, his life changed for good. He now works out in the gym three days a week, and exercise is inseparable from his very self. He also made a target to read one page a day, and soon discovered he was reading a lot of books.
What happens when you think small is this: While doing your two minutes exercise, you’d likely feel nourished, and comfortable to stretch a little more, and before you realize you might have done a ten minute exercise. But your minimum still remains two minutes. On some occasions you may even go up to one hour but that’s not because you have to do it. You will likely just do it because you love to. There’s no pressure, no intense will power being summoned. In fact as you get comfortable with two minutes exercise, you will get curious to explore more. A sense of achievement goads you on to do more; after all extra is welcome. The stretching of the body releases endorphin; you feel happy, and tempted to do more of the same activity. Before you realize you’d be averaging a lot more daily. It’s innocuous but effective.
Unfortunately however, many psyche themselves up to a strict regime and feel discouraged when they fail to achieve it. Life is after all unpredictable, and when you know you have an hour of exercise waiting to happen, the mind (or the brain as you’d like to call it!) would protest. The mind seeks to live within its comfort zone. By pushing yourself for a high target, you have thrown the mind far outside its comfort circle. It would recoil at the harsh treatment that you subject it to. Instead if you reward it (with a smaller target), the mind would be curious to explore more, and slowly but surely, your comfort circle has expanded. Soon a half hour exercise would be something that your mind is addicted to. It would give you pleasure, and also keep you healthy.
To be continued….