Normally January is the slooooooowest month of the year, at least that’s how it usually goes down here in Chicago where it’s typically cold, dark, and dreary. But somehow, this January has flown by at lightning speed!
While it’s hard to believe that it’s almost February, the truth is that the rest of the year is going to speed by us and if we aren’t purposefully creating habits that support our goals/intentions/New Year’s Resolutions, it will be all too easy to look back on 2015 and feel regretful about what we did or didn’t do.
I’m going to be sharing a few posts over the next few weeks about habits, and today I wanted to start off by talking a bit about a ‘microhabit’ and why you need to start integrating microhabits into your daily routine.
The idea behind microhabits is that the process of building a new habit involves repetition and rewiring our brain, which doesn’t happen overnight. And as many of us have experienced, it can sometimes feel impossible to go from 0 to 60, such as going from being a couch potato to someone who logs an hour at the gym each and every day.
Using the concept of microhabits, the first step you would do to create a gym-going habit would be to stop into your gym on your way home from work, swipe your membership card, and to go right home without actually using the gym.
Yes, you read the correctly. We want to train your brain and body (and even more importantly, the mind-body connection between the two) so that the behavior eventually becomes automatic. This great TEDx video by BJ Fogg talks about how there are three things that need to be in place to create a new habit:
Microhabits work by using the current behavior (driving home from work) as the trigger, which triggers the new behavior, which eventually becomes automatic.
The example in the TEDx video about flossing is hilarious, but I know from experience that this actually works. I’ve used BJ’s pushup microhabit myself – I do 10 push ups before each phone call, which means that on any given day I could do anywhere between 10-100 push ups! I’ve been doing it for so long that it’s truly an automatic part of my day that I don’t even have to think about anymore, it’s just what I do.
I’ve decided that one of the new microhabits I want to implement this year is to remind myself to maintain good posture throughout the day. I’m pretty good about carrying myself with good posture when I’m in public, but working from home means that my posture is often quite awful at home. I spend most of my day typing on my laptop or hunched over while on the phone and simultaneously taking notes.
I know good posture is beneficial for a number of reasons. Aside from what we know from Amy Cuddy’s fantastic TED talk on power poses, great posture also helps you to think better, breathe better, have more energy and to be less stressed. So my new plan going forward this year is to remind myself to use good posture each time I start and stop a new activity (transitioning from a phone call to email, transitioning from email to making lunch, etc).
What microhabit would you like to create this year that could exponentially transform your life?