The first step to installing a great “micro-habit” is choosing the right cue to remind you of your goal and initiate the new behavior. For instance, if you’re trying to create the habit of journaling every night, the cue could be ‘every time you set your alarm clock’, You instill the idea that as soon as you set the alarm you walk over to your desk.
The next step is creating a meaningful routine that encourages you to execute the new behavior. In the past when you’ve tried to instill this habit you may have been telling yourself that you need to sit down for 15 minutes every night and write out a page in your journal, which is intimidating. However, using the micro-habit structure, you change the routine from writing a page to writing ONE sentence in your journal. This all but eliminates any hesitation or resistance that you would’ve previously had.
Eventually you will build up to writing as much as you want in your journal without the side-effects of feeling overwhelmed or exerting any more willpower. This will build up over time in accordance to the Pavlok Habit Model. You don’t need to rush it, you just have to follow the guidelines. By doing this, you’ll have developed a habit almost effortlessly that you may have failed to instill previously. Ah the power of the micro-habit!
Now, it’s time to activate the last part of the habit formation process by creating a reward to solidify the new “micro-habit.”
The reward can be something simple, like having a warm cup of tea with honey or watching a rerun of Dawson’s Creek after you write one sentence in your journal. The actual reward isn’t important — the important part is pairing positive reinforcement with completing your goal every night.
Properly implemented, the “micro-habit” system is a psychologically bulletproof strategy for starting new, positive habits.
Now that you have the tools, go pick a habit you’ve wanted to develop and build your micro-habit system. Find a cue, build a micro-habit routine, and pick a reward and start creating the habits that you’ve always wanted!
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Habits, Technology & Behavioral Change