After finding myself in a rut, coping with another bout of alopecia areata and a weird skin thing – I got myself in a bit of a downward spiral. By chance I was on the train to Glasgow for work, scrolling through Twitter when I happened upon this article by Stephen Guise.
Stephen explains that he turned his life around by practising daily ‘mini’ habits. I was intrigued, I devoured the article and decided I’d give it a bash.
So what are mini habits?
The premise is simple – really simple. Small habits, practised every day can have an impact on your life. In the article, Stephen says:
First, you choose a desired habit or change you’d like to make—it could be thinking more positively, writing 1,000 words a day, or reading two books per week. I’ve had success doing three at once.
In that split second on my train journey – I screen printed the part of the article that spoke to me and made a conscious decision to start my mini habits.
Now, Stephen says you choose something you want to change (or a habit to make) and reduce it down into small & manageable chunks. He mentions a few ideas in his article if nothing immediately comes to mind.
The mini habits I’m going to practice
The things I want to do (as I’ve mentioned in my other blog) are essentially calm down, stress less and be more mindful. Sounds easy but we shall see.
I decided on 6 mini habits:
- Practice 5 minutes of yoga
- Write 50 words in a blog, short story or article
- Do 10 press ups
- Do 30 seconds of plank
- Read 2 pages of a book
- Practice 5 minutes of Spanish
Practice 5 minutes of yoga
I’ve tried Ashtanga, Bikram and Forrest yoga and really enjoy all three. My aim for this mini habit is to practice at least 5 minutes per day -ideally longer time permitting – to centre me, chill me out and get my body stretched and feeling good.
It also doesn’t have to be yoga – chilling out and relaxing or being mindful also counts – like sitting on this rock here:
Write 5o words
The 50 words will either be for a blog (like this one), a short story or article – to keep my mind active and spark some creativity.
Do 10 press ups and 30 seconds of plank
These two are pretty standard and exactly as they sound. I’ll aim to do a minimum of each and like the yoga – hopefully more. I’m hoping that the repetition sparks competition and I end up doing more and more.
I think that as these are really small chunks of exercise – I can drop and do them in work clothes if I need to – I don’t need to change into any sort of workout gear.
Read 2 pages of a book
Again – pretty standard and exactly as it sounds. Two pages of any book. I started one the other day and am already reading at least 5 pages. I used to be a voracious reader but haven’t been reading too much recently. This is a nice way to ease myself back into a good mini habit.
Practice 5 minutes of Spanish
I decided years ago to improve my Spanish, after living with a Spanish friend and feeling embarrassed that she had to do all the talking in her non-native language. I can get by, barely – but I need to improve.
Every year I went to visit her after she returned to Valencia, I promised I would learn better Spanish for the next time I went to visit. And each time I had great intentions – but did nothing after returning from holiday. This mini habit is going to help me deliver on that promise.
I think mini habits will be a great way to practice a language daily. To this end I have downloaded the Duolingo app and set myself a goal of 5 minutes daily. The app reminds me to practice and I’ve started at the basic level – it’s quick, easy and a bit of fun.
So what now?
I’ll post updates as to how I’m getting on and see if adopting these mini habits make a difference to my life. I’m guessing already that they’ll make me more productive, goal oriented and proficient in each of the 6 areas. Whether I can remember to complete them all daily remains to be seen.
I’ve been unofficially practising them each day for the past week – yesterday I only remembered to do the Spanish after midnight and the app’s already reminded me I’ve missed a day 😦
I start properly next week…
Onwards & upwards (in slow-mini-motion).