There is no doubt that you need to start small when creating a new habit. The smaller, the better. You can turn a small and easy-to-do behaviour into a habit in no time. You are after behaviours that are super quick to do and don’t take much physical or mental effort.
But what’s the use of such a small behaviour? What will two squats or chopping up one carrot do for you? In the long run, you will need to grow these small habits into something bigger.
And here’s how: Never raise the bar!
What do I mean by that? Your small starter habit (e.g. two squats) remains your baseline. You can always go back to it. As long as you do this required minimum it counts as success. And you can feel good.
Once your small habit is established, it’s tempting to want to raise the bar. For example: Now I always have to do 15 squats and I might as well add in some press-ups, too…Hold your horses. You are only going to set yourself up for failure.
It takes a bit of a mindset shift to accept that small is okay. But think about it, there are always busy days or times when you just don’t feel up to it. You still want to be able to succeed on those days and keep the habit alive. And the way to do this is to revert back to your baseline habit.
If you’ve set up your baseline or starter habit correctly you should be able to do it even on a really bad day. Two squats after the shower are always possible. But 15 and some press up, too?
The key difference between the two approaches is that ‘never raising the bar’ means you are allowed to do more but you don’t have to.
On the good days, you can do your 15 squats and more but it’s a bonus and not a must. You are able to stay consistent with your habit. And remember, it counts as a success! No more ego bashing and feeling guilty. What’s not to like??
Happy habit growing! Leave a comment below and let me know how you get on.
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