Are you ready to redesign your life for success? If you’re like me, you’ve heard more than enough talks about the habits of successful business owners and the importance of a self-development plan.
For most of us, however, the problem is not knowing what we should do. Rather, the issue that most struggle against is knowing how to build such healthy habits into our life in such a way that they become automatic and we maintain them long-term. The “Tiny Habits” Method provides a solution to that struggle!
The Promise and Problem of a Self-Development Plan
An effective self-development plan could really make a huge difference for our businesses and our enjoyment of life. It makes sense to ask: “What are the habits successful business owners use to better themselves?” And, frankly, it wouldn’t take long to build a long list of things all of us should be doing. For example, here are just a few:
- Focusing on self-development
- Setting goals
- Reading daily in your field
- Listening to motivational speakers
- Spending time in prayer or meditation
- Exercising regularly
- Eating a healthy diet
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Getting regular, sufficient sleep
One of the best perks in the home business industry is the focus on self-development. When you have a traditional 9-5 job, the focus is likely on the company vision, quotas, being present with limited interruption by personal business. Very little emphasis is placed on self-development activity.
On the flip-side, when you are your own boss, your self-development activity can be your main focus. You can be more successful when you look at habits successful business owners are using, and then do what they are doing. When you can create your own self-development plan, the magic will begin … or so we’ve heard.
Most of us don’t know where to begin. We are caught up in the rut of sleep, eat, work, sleep again. Sometimes we have some time for play, but how many of us are doing any regular self-development activity? We know we should, but it either sounds “boring” or feels “impossible.”
How You Can Learn to Form New Habits!
Far from it! And that’s why we’re excited to share our new discovery. — So, let’s dive in and take a look at a system called Tiny Habits designed by B.J. Fogg, a behavioral research scientist at Stanford University.
You can bet David, a chemistry and mathematics major back in the day, is all about learning this system! The science is cool – look for yourself!
First, a little background. I spent ten days with my dad in the United States, leaving David home alone with our four dogs. When I came back, he was exercising, playing guitar, and reading Spanish every day without fail. — He was doing this Tiny Habits deal, and I have been intrigued ever since.
I think this is something we should all try – so I told him – let’s challenge our readership to do this and check it out. I’m going to start Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg, too, right along with YOU!
What is the Tiny Habits Method?
It’s a behavioral change approach anyone can use. A tiny habit is a behavior you (1) do once at least once a day, (2) takes less than 30 seconds, and (3) requires little effort. There is a “recipe” to use. It’s a simple sentence, “After ___, I will ____.”
For example, “after I brush my teeth, I will floss one tooth.” (This is Dr. Fogg’s favorite example!) Now, that’s a simple example, and it certainly takes less than 30 seconds (so maybe you can floss more than one tooth?).
The idea with this system is to create a habit. Something you have wanted to be doing in your life but it just hasn’t happened. In terms of a self-development plan, it’s genius because you’ll start small, or “tiny.” Keep in mind, that tiny start can grow into a huge success!
The action that comes after the word “after” is something you already do. It’s the part that comes after “I will” that is new. So, start small. That’s why Dr. Fogg likes “one tooth” in the example above. Another example might be, “After I get out of bed, I will do one push up.”
How Do I Get Started?
Be ready and willing to change your behavior. Think of a behavior you would like to be doing that you are currently not doing. Attach that wanted behavior with something you are already doing.
Be ready to try something different. Have fun with this and don’t be too serious. Be flexible to succeed faster. That way you’ll be more welcoming of change.
So, we start with figuring out when we are going to insert these new habits. What would be a good “After I” statement for you to set the time or “when” this habit happens? Here are a few good examples Dr. Fogg used for “after” statements:
- After I turn on the shower. . .
- After I feed the dog . . .
- After I park at work . . .
- After I sit down for lunch . . .
- After I read the newspaper . . .
- After I start the dishwasher . . .
- After I turn off the light . . .
- After I lay down in bed . . .
Do these examples trigger some workable times for you?
What Kind of New Habits?
We can all think of things we wish we did on a more consistent or regular basis. So, begin by deciding which ones are most important for you. There are some things to keep in mind.
The Tiny Habits method by BJ Fogg pictures new habits like growing plants. You start with a seed, find good light, water it, and it grows. Likewise, with a habit, think of a change you need (flossing your teeth), find the right time to implement (after you brush your teeth), and then floss after you brush your teeth. Do it over and over so your new habit (“plant”) will take root in your life.
It’s important to find the right time for your tiny habit (your “after I” from the prior section). Be careful to associate the new tiny habit into a time in your day that makes sense (the “good light.”). You aren’t going to use an alarm clock or anything like that. It will be the anchor activity that triggers you to remember the new tiny habit. That’s why it must be congruent and make sense.
Why Does Tiny Habits Work?
Tiny=Success. Any new self-development activity can be daunting if it seems impossible. For instance, reading a whole book on marketing skills. You’d have to be super motivated to read that in one sitting. While you recognize reading that book would be a great self-development activity, the thought of finishing a whole book might keep most people from picking up the book in the first place. When you break this new activity into “tiny” pieces, it seems doable. Perhaps you decide to read one page per day.
Because simple is powerful, simplicity changes behaviors. The goal is to make these tiny habits automatic.
Let the pairing begin. Dr. Fogg suggests we pick three tiny habits to start this week. You’ll need to have three anchor activities, too. Don’t over think this – just get started.
Write down your three “recipes”. Commit yourself to the next five days. Sometimes it’s easiest to do this Monday through Friday. Think through any supplies you may need before you can start (like more floss)!
Have fun with this. There will be no “tiny habits” police checking in on you. However, if you would like some accountability on this, BJ Fogg does have a website and folks standing by to coach you along with this.
Remember, we are doing this as part of our self-development plan to start some good habits. We want to have the habits success business owners have. You may need to start tiny to get there!
You are creating a new skill here – that is, your self-development plan should propose to change your behavior to better yourself and your business. The big breakthroughs in your life will not be because of the new habits but because you learned a new skill. The skill of changing your habits will serve you and your business well. You don’t have to stop at three!
Some Suggestions to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing
Here are some of the different areas Dr. Fogg suggest you might want to consider improving with this tiny habit method. You may have entirely different habits in mind, and that’s okay! For those needing a few suggestions.
- Health routines – for example, flossing
- Physical activity (exercise) – for example, push-ups, jumping jacks, or squats
- Nutrition (diet) – for example, eat fruits or veggies, take a sip of water
- Calm/Stress Relief – for example, meditation or prayer
- Hobbies – for example, read one sentence in a book
- Relationships – for example, hug your spouse
- Organizing – for example, set clothes out
- Cleaning – for example, put dirty clothes in hamper
- Gratitude – for example, say one thing for which you are thankful
Here’s one of my favorite quotes,
“When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.” – Paulo Coelho
Enjoy putting this new method into practice as you work out your self-development plan. This is a simple self-development activity that can help you change your habits and your life. If you’d like some accountability or more detail on this system, Dr. Fogg offers FREE guidance and access to his “TINY HABITS” system.
One of the most essential elements of self-development is to develop a healthy, growth mindset. So, here's one more suggestion: To take another great step in your self-development by focusing on your mindset, check out The Deep Abyss with Diane Hochman.
God's blessings to you!
David & Dana
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