As a Baha’i, this is not the start of my new year, but I know that it is for many of you listeners. And so I would like to say Happy New Year. I’ll be back next week with a regular episode for the season on relationships.
Given that many of you may be thinking about 2021 and what may have taken place for you over the course of the year, and our planning activities, goals, interests for 2022. I would like to share an excerpt of the episode that I released around this time last year.
When you look back at 2021, don’t just focus on the things that didn’t go the way that you want, but look for the opportunities to celebrate as well. And as you think about 2022, don’t get overwhelmed with goals and changes and the things you want to achieve but rather you can have an intention around changing the tiniest habits that will make a difference in your life.
A lot of this information is based on the work of BJ Fogg and I will share some links with you in the show notes.
Tiny Habits Book
In his book Tiny Habits, Fogg lays out many reasons for focusing on tiny habits:
- It doesn’t take a lot of time
- You can start right now with something that’s tiny so there is no need to overthink it or get caught in planning rather than doing.
- It sets you up for success, which is important for motivation and identity change
- there is less risk because you’re not investing many resources such as time or money, which also means less pressure. This makes it more likely for you to see failure as a stumbling block.
The Fogg Method could also be called the ABC method – Anchor, Behavior, Celebration. For each new habit that you want to develop, anchor it to something that you already do or to your environment. Then when this anchor prompts you, you will perform the behavior. Then it’s important to celebrate.
When was the last time that you celebrated your progress towards your goals? We get into the habit of always moving on to the next thing, but research shows that when you stop and celebrate after completing a new action, that helps train your brain to repeat that action.
We repeat actions and create new habits because of the benefits that we perceive from that action. So when you stop and celebrate, you’re making sure your brain recognizes the benefits. You’re using gratitude and savoring to rewire your brain.
BJ Fogg summarizes the rule of celebration with three words: “emotions create habits”. He goes on to say that you can celebrate what’s your remembered, what you’re doing, and that you’ve completed an action. If you celebrate remembering, you’re rewiring your brain for that action, the same with doing and with completing. So there are three opportunities to rewire your brain with each step you take towards a new habit.
How to make Behavior Change
Another interesting concept in the book Tiny Habits is that B = MAP, that behavior is a result of Motivation, Ability, and Prompt. The prompt is crucial because this anchors the behavior. It’s the glue that makes sure that you remember your intention. However, nothing happens without motivation and ability. The more of one you have, the less you need of the other. This means that the easiest tiny habits are the ones where you have high motivation or high ability . You do need both, but they compensate for each other.
For the final segment today, I’d like to extend an invitation. I hope that I will be able to share some of your stories. Not everyone wants to be interviewed, but I invite you to be part of the Changes, Big and Small experience. How can you do that? Well, there are several ways. Have you been to Changes Big and Small dot com yet? If you visit, you’ll see that you can click on message in the menu bar and you can let me know one thing you’ve learned or one thing you’ve changed after listening to Changes Big and Small. You can also explore the list of book recommendations from guests.
When you complete a challenge or accept one of my invitations, I invite you to send a message to Changes Big and Small or comment on the post to share any action that you take. There is a Facebook group to support all the people that are on the same journey as you, one of progress. On there, I also share additional resources that can help us make progress. I’m on this journey too, and you’re welcome to come and share some of your resources there with all of us.
As I end today, I want to encourage you to find one action, one thing that you’ve done today that will help you make a positive change in your life and celebrate it. Then do the action every day for the next week, celebrating each time that you complete it.
How to celebrate progress
Celebration could mean taking three deep breaths and smiling about the experience, calling a friend to let them know about your progress, skipping or dancing around the room, smiling, or just savoring.
It only needs to take a moment, a few seconds. My challenge to you this week starts with choosing an action you’re trying to complete to build a new habit. Complete the action today and every day for the next week. Aim for 7 days. Remember that this can be the smallest possible action that will help you create your new habit.
It doesn’t matter if it’s something that you can do in 10 seconds or even three seconds. In fact, Fogg advocates the use of tiny habits of change. He defines those as easy behaviors that can be done in 30 seconds or less.
I do want to take a moment to recognize here that the new habit may actually be something that you’d like to stop doing, something you’re taking away, or it could be something that you’d like to start doing something you’re adding. Those are both habits. If you do miss a day, don’t make it two; the quicker you can get back on track, the easier it is to do so.
Some people benefit from putting up a calendar and checking off each day that they complete the actual. They like the visual reminder and they find it inspiring. If that works for you, use a calendar to see your progress or use a reminder alarm or visual cue, whatever will help you complete the action.
Try to remove as many barriers as possible as discussed in episode 12. And don’t forget to celebrate with each action you take.
In this TEDx talk, Fogg presents a three minutes challenge that you can use to practice the act of celebration.
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