For Big Improvements, Think Tiny
It often feels so hard to make a lasting change.
At The Craftsman Agency, we're always striving to be even stronger artists and storytellers. We also seek to stretch ourselves. For example, one of our project managers wants to tap into her creativity by sketching at least once a day, and one of our copywriters plans to write a novel in his spare time. But how do you turn those aspirations into reality? According to BJ Fogg, a behavior scientist at Stanford University, you're more likely to succeed with tiny habits.
How to Create a Tiny Habit
The Tiny Habits method is simple. Basically, it’s about making behaviors doable. Here are Fogg’s three steps:
Get specific about the outcome you want. Perhaps you want to be less stressed. Or maybe you’re like our project manager and want to be more creative. (Don’t we all?) If that’s the case, narrow your goal down. For example, decide if you want to write short stories or boost your visual creativity.
Identify the tiny habit that will put you on the right path. It must be truly tiny. In other words, it should be easy. It should also seamlessly fit into your current routine. You shouldn’t need much motivation to do it. If you want to write stories, your habit could be writing 50 words. To boost visual creativity, you could browse inspirational Instagram accounts for a few minutes. And, as Fogg points out in a 2016 NPR interview, you might need to reflect on whether a choice would actually put you on the right path. So if in step one you decided that you want to be less stressed, only identify a five-minute meditation break as your tiny habit if meditating works for you. If you don’t enjoy meditation, identify another habit, like taking a short walk.
Select an already existing behavior that will prompt your tiny habit. This is your trigger. Maybe it’s something you do once a day (like drinking your morning coffee or tea) or maybe it’s a more frequent trigger (like getting water or going to the bathroom). Again, make sure it stays manageable.
With your tiny habit designed to fit in your routine, you’re all set for an easy win.
Don’t Forget to Celebrate
Let’s say you poured your morning coffee then immediately sat down and wrote your 50 words. Congratulations! Celebrate that tiny win with a tiny pat on the back. You did it. And you can do it again.
According to Linda Fogg-Phillips, who runs the Tiny Steps online program, that small self-celebration is key to making this work. As Fogg-Phillips told Quartz, “you’re rewriting your identity as someone who succeeds.”
That Habit Was So Tiny...Ready for More?
You might decide that you can do more of that tiny habit. (But as you may have guessed—when you think you’re ready to leap forward, change that leap to a hop. If you had a goal of writing 50 words, make your new goal 60 or 100 words, not 500.)
You might also notice other unexpected improvements. It turns out, these tiny habits can lead to transformative changes. Fogg-Phillips says two-thirds of their program graduates report a ripple effect, and that these small victories may be helping people break other barriers in their lives.
Each new day provides the perfect opportunity to improve. To be your best possible self. So what do you want to do?
Find out more about the free five-day program at the Tiny Steps site. Or, if you were looking to tap into your creativity in order to better tell your brand’s story, we’re here to help. Check out our work for a little inspiration. (And of course, feel free to get in touch.)