How To Make Real Life Changes With Mini Habits
Mini Habits (2013) is a book about changing your life through making small adjustments; the book is the culmination of ten years of research and experimentation by self-confessed ‘slacker’ Stephen Guise. Now published in 14 languages and having sold over 1 million copies, Mini Habits is one of the leading books on self-motivation and life strategy.
The central message of Mini Habits is that the best way to transform your life is by making small, manageable changes rather than trying to overhaul your life completely. Guise’s approach to self-improvement is both realistic and practical, and it works well with busy schedules.
- 13 min reading time
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Do you ever feel that you would like to live your life differently? Are there skills you have been meaning to learn, or a list of hobbies you would love to make time for? If so, read on for a taste of how Mini Habits can help you to break your bad habits and implement better ones, helping you to start living the life you want.
These are 5 key insights Mini Habits has to offer into human psychology, productivity, and the best ways to make changes to your routine.
1. Humans are creatures of habit
Much of our daily lives are formed of habitual behaviors – almost half of our actions are habitual ones. Good and bad habits are things we do almost on autopilot, they are familiar paths for our brains to take, particularly when we are stressed or tired. Thus it is easy to fall back into eating unhealthily or not exercising when we are worn out. However, this also means we can train ourselves to have good habits. By using Guise’s method, we can train our brains to make healthier choices, learn new skills or be more productive.
2. Willpower is what changes your life, not motivation
Mini Habits uses a willpower-based strategy. It isn’t possible to constantly maintain high levels of motivation, but you can build up your willpower to help you keep making the small changes needed to form better habits. Guise writes about the importance of chipping away at our goals bit by bit, and how this is the real way to transform the way we live. Like the habits themselves, this is an incremental change. But remember, starting small is the way to build towards big results.
3. Make your targets small and manageable
Guise states that effort, perceived difficulty, and fatigue are the main threats when it comes to achieving our goals. Setting little goals is a good way to get yourself on track for making changes, and making sure you stay on track too. Mini habits should be very ‘mini’ indeed, easily incorporated into your daily routine without creating inconvenience. Guise’s suggested approach is similar to the idea of SMART (Specific Measurable Agreed upon Realistic Time-based) Goals.
4. Think before you act
Consider which habits you want to build first, and why. Rather than leaping into making changes, take time to work out what you really want to achieve. Guise encourages the reader to think of the motivations behind the adjustments they would like to make. Think of something that will have real benefit to you – something that will be worth the effort, that will benefit you and your life, and that you will be able to keep working steadily towards.
5. Monitor your progress
Whether you keep a record on an app, on a calendar, or in a journal, it is important to keep track of your progress. This has dual benefits – it makes you accountable, but it also lets you see how much you have achieved. You will feel more in control of the process, and seeing yourself moving forward is sure to boost your self-esteem.
These 5 key insights give you an idea of Mini Habits, but the book has much more information to offer on how to transform your life, one step at a time. Using a combination of neuroscience, psychology, and willpower-based strategy, Guise creates a logical and manageable plan that is easy to slot into your routine.
So, if you want to learn a new language, incorporate exercise into your daily routine, or finally write that novel, check out the Blinkist app to discover how mini habits can create big results.