What’s going on here?

I haven’t posted anything here in almost a week; that’s obvious. There has been little else of consequence going on behind the scenes here on the Fox Lake Road, either. I’ve spent precious little time in the studio, and managed only a bit of tidying while I was there. I didn’t tackle any of the big home-improvement projects I have planned for this winter, either. In fact, I have done little more than the bare minimum to keep this house running along.

Some good news: I have been able to – every single day – check off “yoga,” “walk” and “strength” on my habit tracker, thanks to a book on “mini-habits” by Stephen Guise. He advises forming  habits based on the very smallest increments. In his own experience, he set his sights on completing one push-up a day, adding one fruit to his diet, meditating for one minute, and writing fifty words a day. With those minimal goals, he has managed – in a very short time – to form exercise and meditation habits, become physically fit, and write three books.

Of course, this involves going beyond the minimum requirement on many days, but even on the absolute worst days, he can meet his goal. Success brings good feelings which leads to more motivation to continue. It certainly  sounds more inviting than my usual New Year set-up, where failure is inevitable.

So, this year, my concentration is on forming the habits, rather than any end-goal. My minimum requirements are, well…minimal. The first three  [warm-up] poses in my yoga book; a walk to the end of the driveway and back; a dozen repetitions of an upper-body exercise or half that many squats: each counts as completion of that task. With that in mind, I am happy to report that – almost two weeks in to this new year – I haven’t missed a day yet!

It’s also true that engaging in the activity is the most difficult part. Once I get through the warm-up poses in my yoga book, I often continue on to Side Stretch, Tree Pose, Arm Stretches and Cactus Pose. I’ve only stopped at the end of the driveway on a couple of the iciest, coldest days. We usually meander down the road for a stretch, and on a couple exceptional days, Darla and I got more than a mile in, while Rosa Parks waited in the yard. Once the weights are in hand, I generally add a few repetitions of other exercises before I put them back on the shelf.

Taking the author’s advice, I am not starting with a hundred mini-habits (though I could easily think of that many areas that need improvement in my life!). He suggests no more than five, and allowing enough time – say, three months – to absolutely form the habit before adding something else to work on. So far, with not quite two week’s success under my belt, I am encouraged, and already looking toward tiny increments of progress in other areas: “Just walk into the studio,” for one. That’s what I plan to do right now!



About cindyricksgers

I am an artist. I live on an island in northern Lake Michigan, USA. I have two grown daughters, four strong, smart and handsome grandsons and one beautiful, intelligent and charming granddaughter. I live with two spoiled dogs. I love walking in the woods around my home, reading, writing and playing in my studio.

9 responses »

  1. Good on you, Cindy! And, thank you for this book! Just read Stephen’s blog entry explaining that procrastination is really resistance and using a 10-Second method to overcome it. Curious how you discovered this book? Keep on truckin’! -Laura

    • I get lists of recommendations from several sources…I’m not sure where it came to me. Because I am really big on “self-help” books (feeling like I always need improvement!), and past purchases lead to recommendations, it could have been any one of a number of places. I’ve really enjoyed it, and – I hate to admit – this is some of the biggest success I’ve ever seen with my new year’s resolutions! Thanks for reading, Laura, and for your comments!

  2. Good on you, Cindy! And, thank you for this book! Just read Stephen’s blog entry explaining that procrastination is really resistance and using a 10-Second method to overcome it. Curious how you discovered this title? Keep on truckin’! -Laura

  3. Habits in small increments sound more manageable. I would like to know how this mini-habit thing works. Please keep up informed! (And let me know if I miss the post when you kept us informed…)

    • I’m really quite fascinated by the whole idea, Kathy. And, I must say, so far I’ve proven to be pretty good at performing on the “lowest common denominator” level! He even offers a list of mini-diversions for when I feel like I’m about to go off the rails: meditate for one minute; run in place for one minute; drink one glass of water…and on and on. We’ll see how it is going a month from now…

  4. FYI I signed up for the author of Mini Habits website which offers a free download of the first part of the book. Lovin’ it!

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