The world’s leading expert on habit formation shows you how to build a better life, by starting small.
'Tiny is mighty. At least when it comes to change,' writes BJ Fogg in the introduction to Tiny Habits. 'The essence of Tiny Habits is this: Take a behavior you want, make it tiny, find where it fits naturally in your life, and nurture its growth. If you want to create long-term change, it’s best to start small.'
In the passage below you'll find three exercises to get you started on your tiny habits journey.
Tiny Exercises to Start Practicing Tiny Habits
The best way to learn the Tiny Habits method is to start practicing immediately. Don’t wait... do the exercises below. In all of this, don’t try to be perfect. Instead, adopt the mindset of a Habiteer (someone who practices Tiny Habits). That means you dive in and learn as you go. Along the way, don’t get stressed or uptight. Be flexible and have fun!
EXERCISE #1: THE FLOSSING HABIT
You already know how to floss your teeth – all of them. But if you’re like most people, you don’t make a habit of flossing. It’s not automatic in your life. This exercise can help you change that by focusing on the automaticity of the habit, not the size.
Step 1: Find a type of floss you like. You might need to try a few different styles to see what feels best for you.
Step 2: Set the floss on your bathroom counter, ideally right by your toothbrush.
Step 3: After you set down your toothbrush, pick up the floss container and tear off some floss.
Step 4: Floss one tooth.
Step 5: Smile at yourself in the mirror and feel good about creating a new habit.
Note: In the days ahead, you can floss more than one tooth if you want, but view anything more than one tooth as extra credit. You are going above and beyond.
EXERCISE #2: DAILY CHOCOLATE
Small amounts of dark chocolate can be good for your health. Make eating a bit of it a daily habit.
Step 1: Purchase some dark chocolate that you believe is healthy.
Step 2: Eat a small bit of it in the morning after you brew your coffee or when you take your vitamins. The behavior sequence might look like this: After I take my last vitamin in the morning, I will eat a small bit of healthy chocolate.
Step 3: Savor the taste of the chocolate and feel happy about adding a healthy habit to your life.
Note: The daily chocolate habit is one that you don’t want to grow. Think of it like a bonsai tree – tiny but inspiring.
EXERCISE #3: REMIND YOURSELF THAT YOU CHANGE BEST BY FEELING GOOD
If there’s one concept from my book I hope you embrace, it’s this: People change best by feeling good, not by feeling bad. For that purpose, I have created this exercise for you.
Step 1: Write this phrase on a small piece of paper: I change best by feeling good, not by feeling bad.
Step 2: Tape the paper to your bathroom mirror or anywhere you will frequently see it.
Step 3: Read the phrase often.
Step 4: Notice how this insight works in your life (and for the people around you).