How much can you do on a daily basis? #tinyhabits
On a road trip back from Montreal, Sarah’s sister Victoria sang the praises of ToDoist. Well, she repeated praises from a friend who is getting so much more done on a regular basis now she has the app.
Needless to say, we three downloaded it and began adding our daily habits, real and aspirational.
I’ve been looking for a new list maker/habit tracker since I’ve started to overwhelm Google Keep with too many lists. It’s good for notes but not so good for ticking off boxes.
Here’s my current crop of aspirational daily habits:
And it’s not a must-do, but I pretty much always Wordle.
But how to fit it all in? I Wordle very fast in the morning so Wordle plus read, write, floss, and Duolingo would be under an hour if I stuck to my ten minutes of reading and writing. I often don’t though since that’s part of the power of the tiny habit. It’s 10 minutes minimum so I tell myself, “Who doesn’t have time to write for 10 minutes?” and then often stick it out for 30.
Reading/Duolingo/Meditation are all nighttime/in bed things.
The others are all evening things and that’s where things can sort of fall apart. Last night for example, I watched Our Flag Means Death (I was drawn to finish it after reading 10 Queer Reasons You Should Be Watching Our Flag Means Death.) and didn’t make it to mobility training, flossing, or planks!
Maybe I need to pick fewer things? But which to get rid of? I could put all the daily habits in a hat and select one lottery style. Or I could count as a pass getting 6 of the 8 done?
An aside: In grad school my roommate had an unusual night time routine. She would either do sit ups or floss. It was never both. It was always a choice, “Is this a floss night or a sit ups night?”
So in search of solutions to my daily habits problem, I turned to the habit expert BJ Fogg. Fogg says to make a new habit we need three things:
- Some level of motivation
- The ability to do the thing
- The trigger to do the thing
What’s missing, for me, and for most of us is the trigger. It’s a thing we can do, and we want to do it, but how to make the magic happen? That’s where the idea of “habit stacking” comes in. You have things you always do and you attach the new habit to that. Fogg gives the example of doing push ups after he pees. I used to do burpees (when I was mid burpee challenge) waiting for the microwave to finish its work. Likewise, I had great success doing shoulder physio by doing it each time I walked through my office door, en route to my desk. I had the red physio band tied to the doorknob to remind me.
He recommends setting habit intentions like this, “After I ………….., I will…………….”
Key Point: “Set the habit you want to make right after something you already do.” i.e. Do 2 pushups right after going to the bathroom or flossing just 1 tooth after brushing your teeth. What’s important is to make the habit TINY so that you will do it no matter how tired or unmotivated you are, yet you will be creating the seed for a good habit nonetheless. (Also that you should praise yourself after doing the habit. Tell yourself “I’m awesome!” or pump your fists in the air).”
Here’s the tiny habit guy himself:
I’m reading his book Tiny Habits right now. I think I need to work on my post habit completion celebration. “You’re awesome” isn’t really my style. But a Muppet style happy dance just might be.
As usual you, dear blog reader, are under no obligation to establish new habits, however tiny. You do you. This is all offered for those of us, who want to do a thing, and struggle to get it done.
It’s okay not to want to do any of these things. Life needed be about constant improvement.
And in that spirit, here’s Dorothy Parker.
And now, having written for 10 minutes, I’m going to do a dynamic mobility routine. Having done that, I might even floss and then meditate. I’ll follow it with a happy dance.