I love BJ Hoggs book – Tiny Habits – its brilliant and builds on other earlier books like The Slight Edge which informed much of my philosophy and practices on making change happen and last.
It just happens that I got an email from BJ in my inbox and it is so relevant to what I’ve been sharing with you recently that I thought you’d appreciate his take on why we develop habits.
There is one way that all habits form – including bad habits.
- They start small.
- They find a good spot in your routine.
- They get strengthened via your emotions.
The Tiny Habits method does these three things so building habits is easy and fast. If you’ve read Tiny Habits, you know this.
Today, I want you to see how bad habits also start this way.
Imagine you have a habit of using Facebook for two hours a day – a bad habit. As you think back, you’ll probably find this pattern:
- When you first started on Facebook, you probably used it in small ways – a few minutes a day, or just occasionally.
- Facebook then found a good, reliable spot in your routine. Perhaps during your morning coffee or while you ate lunch.
- From there, your habit got deeply rooted because Facebook helped you feel successful — staying updated with friends, showing off your vacation photos, saying “happy birthday” quickly and easily. The Facebook habit got bigger and also spread further into your routines.
As I share in my book Tiny Habits, you can think of habits like plants. Much like designing a garden, you can design good habits into your life – start with a seed, find a good spot, nurture it.
On the flip side, you may find that weeds crop up. These bad habits also started as a seed, found a good spot, and got nurtured.
As a wise gardener, you will watch for weeds so you can uproot them when they are still tiny. The same goes for bad habits. You want to uproot them early before they grow into a challenging problem.
Reall good, eh?