Last year I read a book about mini-habits – and I began rereading it shortly before Christmas. It seems a particularly good time of year to share some take-aways, though they would be applicable in the middle of July.
The foundation of the mini-habit system is in “stupid small” (the author’s words, not mine) goals. These are small, positive behaviors that you force yourself to do every day to increase mindfulness, willpower, and that will lead to long-term results. Taking small steps towards any goal is nothing new, but the science behind why this strategy works is convincingly simple, neural pathways are communication channels in the brain and these pathways are what habits “look like” in the physical world. As a habit becomes more ingrained, the associated neural pathway will literally get thicker and stronger.
Would this strategy help me read more? exercise? improve my health or experience a richer spiritual life? Using myself as a guinea pig, I set three “stupid small” goals last year that I could not fail to meet every single day.
You may be wondering what this has to do with formation. If habits are built and strengthened by consistency, then can our desired spiritual habits be broken into “small stupid” steps? Here are a few challenges that would take one-minute or less –
- Read one verse of scripture or one page of an inspirational book each day (Bible Challenge).
- Set a timer for one minute of quiet time to intentionally sit and breathe with God.
- Take one minute in the morning to ask yourself what good you can do today?
- Take one minute when you get into bed to ask yourself what good did you do today?
Habits, both positive and negative, become a framework of our life. Knowing that, and taking into account that small steps equal long-term success, it’s worth exploring. Share your ideas for “stupid small” steps that have the potential to transform.