I have to say this book completely consumed me this morning. The author starts off with a story about himself; how he began his journey from being a depressed, unaccomplished, unsuccessful, and lazy to becoming happy, accomplished, successful, and productive. When reading the first few pages, I couldn’t help but think how similar his struggles are to most people.
He talks about the concept of mini habits. When you plan something, and plan for the future as a goal to achieve, you tend to overwhelm your brain into essentially finding excuses to get out of the commitment, subconsciously. Lets say you decide on a goal you want to achieve, for example, packing on muscle and getting as lean as possible in one year. Right there you have defeated yourself. Then you plan your workout routine for each day, how many sets, reps, and days per week you have to do this to accomplish this goal. All that is fine and dandy until you actually have to take the action of doing it. Most people get stuck at that part, the point between methodically writing out your action plan, and actually taking action. In fact, most people will be determined for the first week maybe two, and then slowly begin to descend into excuses, low motivation, laziness, and eventually a non-existent action plan. The author says that this happens because right from the get go, we start thinking of this goal as a chore, that has to get done no matter what, in the exact way you have laid it out, and if you don’t follow this path, you are doomed to fail. This thought process sets you up for failure immediately, a self defeating goal.
As a result of this, he suggests setting mini goals. The bigger picture is of course always to lose the weight, or gain the muscle, or get lean. However, he says start by doing one push up a day, psyche yourself into thinking that you only need to do one push up per day and repeat that process consistently every day. This makes your brain think of it as more of a ‘aaah, I can handle one push up a day, no problem’ and all of sudden you find yourself taking the action. Low and behold, right there, you set a plan, a routine, and took action. Now as a result of that thinking, once you finish the actual goal of doing one push up, the fact that you took action, your mind takes over, and you start to think, ‘that wasn’t too bad, I’ll do another push up, then that turns into yet another one, and so on, till you feel you may not be able to do more.’ In essence you have tricked your mind into getting started, and once you get started, it makes it easier to go on.
Now you don’t want to over do it, as will power is involved, and its safer to use your will power in small doses rather than using it all up because you got excited, and then find yourself back to square one, the concept of instant gratification (in this situation used in a positive way). You want to pace yourself. Slowly but surely one day turns into one week, one week turns in one month, and then two months and before you know it, you have created a habit that you don’t think about anymore, and it just becomes second nature.
In this book you will learn about how to schedule mini habits. Have a single habit versus multiple habits. It explains how to start with a single habit and when that habit is mastered to move into multiple habits. Despite its length, this book is packed with information and taps into the concept of discipline and habit formation.
Most people, including myself, suffer from this simple yet powerful process. This book is quite an interesting read, and the best part is, it can be done in one sitting, the book is extremely short, roughly a hundred pages.