The Path Of Least Resistance
Last week, we introduced the idea of creating positive habits as we prepare to head into 2022. So you might be surprised to see today’s subject line… have we already given up on what we were hoping to accomplish?? This might be a new record for breaking a new year’s resolution – two months before January!
No – this subject line is actually a clue to the most proven system for developing healthy habits. The key is ELIMINATING THE RESISTANCE.
If you’ve ever tried to motivate yourself to establish a new habit, I’m sure you know what I mean when I talk about “the resistance.” We have these outcomes in our minds (to lose weight, reduce stress, or do something creative), and suddenly it’s like we’re swimming upstream. It’s weird – there are so many things we can do with no resistance whatsoever (eat a donut, watch Netflix), and yet for some reason these healthy choices are met with a wall of opposition.
But good news – some brilliant Stanford research might have cracked the code. Watch the video below.
The secret is: Make the new habit extremely tiny.
If you do this right, the new habit will require almost no motivation, and the opposing forces of resistance won’t even know it’s there.
At that point, all you really need is a TRIGGER for the new behavior. When will you regularly do this new tiny habit?
Don’t worry – Stanford figured this out too. The answer in one word: AFTER.
Every day, you consistently do a whole bunch of stuff: wake up, make coffee, get dressed, etc – all the activities that are already built into your normal routine. So here’s the trick: attach the tiny habit TO the familiar behavior.
Here’s a simple way to phrase it – just fill in the blanks:
After I ___(daily activity)___, I will ____(tiny habit)___.
The example the Stanford guy shared was, “After I pee, I will do 2 push-ups.” The habit is tiny, and the trigger had a frequency to match the desired behavior (especially if he drank a lot of water).
What inevitably happens (once the resistance in our brain has been bypassed) is we think: “This is so easy. I could do even more.” And next thing you know, you’re doing 10 push-ups, or greater levels of whatever tiny habit you’ve created.
The last step: celebrate the tiny victory. Even if you just tell yourself, “I’m awesome.” Because you are! You’re literally changing your life one tiny habit at a time.