bet it’s still somewhere close, where you can quickly find it. You may be able to recite it. What is it? Your list of New Year’s resolutions, that annual exercise in optimism borne out of failure in the prior attempt, at least partially for me.
2021 is the perfect year to dust off that “shut in” optimism. 2020, the longest and strangest year for most of us, certainly pushed optimism into the closet and provided the perfect reason to set some new goals for 2021.
2020 was a wonderful year for me for at least one reason: the discovery of Tiny Habits™. Tiny Habits™ is the product of Dr. B.J. Fogg, a behavioral scientist who runs the Stanford Behavior Lab. What he figured out changed my view of not only goals, but also how to deal with life’s challenges. His model helped me with several coaching clients who fell into despair due to COVID business downturns.
Tiny Habits™ is all about helping people get started or restarted on new behaviors by taking tiny steps toward their goal and then CELEBRATING. Everyone knows the “inch by inch” approach; what Dr. Fogg added makes all the difference. Celebrating triggers a neuro-biological response of releasing dopamine into your system. Dopamine is that feel good chemical that we all enjoy. This sounded a little hokey when I first heard it, but I found it worked. The results with me and my clients convinced me to get a Tiny Habits coaching certification, and it was the best thing I did in 2020. The serendipity of the decision was that I made it before the pandemic materialized. I just smiled and thanked God for watching out for me.
So back to 2021 goals. Let’s hit them with my Tiny Habits™ approach:
1) Look at your goals and determine the smallest thing you could do on a consistent basis (daily or at least weekly) that would move you toward your goals. Think of this as your newest habit.
2) Determine when you would do it by looking at your existing routines and choose one that you could add this new behavior immediately after. For example, after I walk into my kitchen, I will drink an 8 oz glass of water, or after I turn on my computer, I will say, “Today is going to be a great day.”
3) After #2, choose a physical or verbal celebration and REALLY GO FOR IT. For me, it’s a snap of my fingers with an “ALLRIGHT, GOOD JOB, Rick!” that triggers my dopamine release. And yes, expect your partner, office mate, or friends to think you are a little off.
4) If #2 doesn’t work, and it won’t always, look at it as a design problem rather than a character issue. This is critical to goal attainment and new habit formation. I have changed my starting points several times, whereas before, I just quit and felt bad. No longer. I now think, “Just redesign, and I’ll be fine.”
5) Experiment with two or three goals and have fun finding which ones work for you. Let me know what works so I can celebrate with you!
Knowing how well this works, I actually giant sized my goals for 2021. Yet, I know the key to achieving them will always start with downsizing my initial first steps. Big things happen with Tiny Habits™. Happy Tiny New Year!