All the Small Things

Imagine getting in your car and going from 0 to 60. What seems like a simple process to the driver is really a series of many other small processes. You don’t all of a sudden show up at 60. You have to get there. You have to build up the momentum. You have to trust that all the small processes were done properly.

An unexpected package arrived in the mail. Amazon. It was a Christmas gift. Inside, a book sent to me from my aunt. It was a small book with a nice well-designed cover. Mini Habits by Stephen Guise. It looked familiar. It looked interesting.

I opened the book that day and began reading. The book fit well in my preferred genre. It was the type of content I like to write and read about. The perfect gift.

What is a mini habit? It is a small action done every day. It is such a small act that it requires little time and willpower. The author developed this method when he started a one push-up a day challenge. He wanted to get into shape but didn’t have the motivation to do it. So he did a push-up every day. If he didn’t do his push-up before he went to bed, he would get out of bed, get on the floor, and do one. It didn’t take much effort. It didn’t take much time. There was no motivation involved to do one push-up. There was no drive to the gym and no changing clothes. There was only the one small simple act of doing a single push-up.

When you are on the floor having completed your push-up, there is a temptation to do more. Why not? You are already there in the position. If you do one, you might as well do more. Everything above the one is a bonus that will contribute to your goal of getting in shape.

The push-up was a small act towards a larger goal. The larger goal was to get physically fit. But like a car getting up to 60, you don’t all of a sudden show up in shape. It takes momentum and many smaller processes operating together. It takes discipline, consistency, and time. When it is all lumped together, it seems overwhelming and impossible to achieve. When it is broken down into many smaller habits, it becomes possible. It becomes a way of life.

What are the large goals in your life that you are wanting to accomplish? How will you accomplish them? How will you turn that goal into a reality? Break it down into smaller chunks. Break it down into small habits that are so low in motivation and willpower that you can’t help but do them. Like a large snowball that continues to accumulate smaller pieces of snow, let your mini habits accumulate and gain momentum until it is one large habit propelling you toward success. 

We first make our habits, and then our habits make us. –John Dryden

There are a whole host of habits I would like to incorporate into my life. I imagine what my future would be like if I could achieve them. Some I have started and never made it past the first few days. Bet even with these failures, I have not given up hope. The habits were not impossible to achieve. The issue was that I had not built the proper foundation. Now that I have the tools, it is time to start building.

Great things are done by a series of small things brought together. –Vincent Van Gogh

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