Mini Habits — How Powerful are they REALLY?
Did you create a New Years Resolutions for this year?
What have you accomplish so far?
Do you want to:
- Lose weight
- Begin a Yoga practice
- Start your own business
- Write a book
- Get more sleep
- Go outside more
Whatever it is you’ve put your mind to it and “Come Hell or High Water” you WILL achieve your goal this year!
Or so, that’s what you’re telling yourself this year.
But how many times have you said this to yourself, or made this commitment only to have it fall short?
Chances are, you’ve made this commitment to yourself A LOT!
The reason why you haven’t been able to follow through with your resolutions or goals might surprise you.
Humans are creatures of habit and when you make up our mind to create a new habit that disrupts your daily routine your brain fights back!
Yes! Your brain fights against what is new and wants to keep you safe inside the boxes it knows.
Let me get a bit Science Geeky on you right now.
When creating new habits, your brain uses two parts
1) the Preftontal cortex and
2) the Basil ganglia.
The prefrontal cortex is what recognizes that you’re doing something new and starts to look for patterns in what you’re doing. It also looks for ways for you to do what you’re doing, in an easier way.
The prefrontal cortex understand long term benefits and “Get’s” why you want to lose weight and save more money. BUT the prefrontal cortex is an energy HOG and gets tired very quickly.
The basil ganglia, on the other hand is a marathon runner and could go all day long. The job of the basil ganglia is to store patterns in the form a neuro-pathway in your brain. These neuro-pathways store your habits or actions that we repeat daily.
This is how it works:
- You do something new
- The preftonal cortex says “Oh hey, they’re doing soothing new” and it begins to look for patterns and a simpler way to do whatever it is you’re doing.
- Once it finds a pattern the prefrontal cortex sends that pattern (via a neuro pathway) to the basil ganglia to store for later use.
- The basil ganglia says “Got it! Storing this pattern for later!”
The more you repeat any action the stronger the neuro pathway is in the basil ganglia which makes the action more effiecent. The more you do it the LESS the prefrontal cortex has to work and the easier it is for you to DO THAT NEW THING each and every day.
(whew.. are you still with me?)
So WHAT does this have to do with your new years resolution / your current goal and HOW can you stick to your commitment to yourself?
By helping you hack into the “Habit creation system” so your new habits will FINALLY STICK!
By creating a Mini Habit!
A mini-habit is just that, a new habit but simplified.
In order for your brain to recognize something as a habit three things need to be present:
- A cue — something to tell you it’s time to do something
- A routine — the act of you doing something
- A reward — the reward you get or feel when you’ve done something new
These three things together is called a “Habit Loop”.
So how can you hack the system?
By doing just the bear minimum to trick your brain into creating a full habit loop.
Here’s an example:
Let’s just say you want to do Yoga everyday but the thought of doing a full 20–30 yoga flow feels a bit much right now. What you could say is “Everyday I’m going to do Down Dog.”
You decide you’re going to do your one yoga pose “down dog” right before breakfast everyday.
To remind yourself to do this, you put your yoga mat out on the living room floor before you go to bed.
The next morning, you see your yoga mat (THIS IS YOUR CUE) and you think to yourself, “Oh yeah, I want to do yoga today.” and because you’ve only set yourself the requirement of only doing one pose, you walk to your mat, unroll it and do down dog (THIS IS YOUR ROUTINE). Since you’re there you decide to do a few more stretches on your yoga mat. When you’re done you feel really good and all your evening kinks are worked out (THIS IS YOUR REWARD).
You repeat this pattern daily, all the while your pre-frontal cortex and basil ganglia are doing the work at storing this into your new habit center of your brain.
After a while you have a new habit in place, all because you decided to do just on yoga move a day.
This is how you hack the system, by creating your habit loop, via the mini habit you’ve done.
By giving yourself something SUPER SIMPLE and easy to do, that your brain is saying “Of course I can do one yoga move!” VS “Yeah, no! I’m not in the mode to do a 30 min yoga flow!”
See the difference?
This week, decide on one mini habit to do that will help you create a new habit loop in your life.
See how much of a difference it makes and how quickly you can begin to create new habits that work for you, instead of against you.
Flora Sage is a writer, motivational speaker, spiritual business mentor, master financial coach, and creator of the Mastermind Mafia; a membership for women business owners. Floras six books and countless articles on spiritual, personal and business development have been featured in Medium and Goddess Magazine. Flora has been a guest speaker and trainer for the Hibiscus Moon Crystal Academy on ethics in business and at Sunlight Alliance for business and sales. Flora has been a regular teacher at WITC Community College and has been a featured in numerous tele-summits, interviews, and academies world-wide.
Since 2009, she has helped women make more money in their online coaching businesses by helping them clarify their message and their offerings through the 1 degree shift method. She is a four-time honor society member, third generation entrepreneur and has a Bachelors of Science in Business with a double minor in marketing and management from Oklahoma State University. She also holds certifications as a; Ramsey Solutions Master Financial Coach, “Coach the Coach” Laser Coach, Holistic Life and Simplification Coach, as well as a Spiritual counselor, Professionally trained Psychic and creator of the Quantum Bliss Activation. Flora offers special opportunities to active duty military and veterans as a way to pay it forward and give back.
Flora is a Veteran of the United States Marine Corps, mother of two boys, avid traveler, loves big band music and slapstick comedy.