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Anoop Anthony (CTO & Co-Founder/Sapaad)
I would say it was Stephen Guise's book "Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results." The title sounds like one of those formulaic self-help books, of which there are hundreds. But this one's different. Guise has derived a somewhat counter-intuitive approach to building habits and tackling hard projects. He suggests that we fail in bringing about personal change because we set the bar too high. He proposes an alternate approach that at first sounds a little weird — build 'mini-habits', (ludicrously) microscopic versions of the habits or projects you want to adopt. He dwells deep into the psychological advantage of this technique, revealing why we fail and why the idea of 'mini-habits' practically guarantees success.
I'm usually averse to self-help books that espouse trite productivity formulas; I avoid them like the plague. But this one came highly recommended, and to my surprise, the technique worked!
When I decided to start exercising consistently 10 years ago, this is what actually happened:
- I tried "getting motivated." It worked sometimes.
- I tried setting audacious big goals. I almost always failed them.
- I tried to make changes last. They didn't.
Like most people who try to change and fail, I assumed that I was the problem.
Then one afternoon--after another failed attempt to get motivated to exercise--I (accidentally) started my first mini habit. I initially committed to do one push-up, and it turned into a full workout. I was shocked. This "stupid idea" wasn't supposed to work. I was shocked again when my success with this strategy continued for months (and to this day). I had to consider that maybe I wasn't the problem in those 10 years of mediocre results. Maybe it was my prior strategies that were ineffective, despite being oft-repeated as "the way to change" in countless books and blogs.
I was right.
Is There A Scientific Explanation For This?
As I sought understanding, I found a plethora of scientific studies that had answers, with nobody to interpret them correctly. Based on the science--which you'll find peppered throughout Mini Habits--we've been doing it all wrong.
You can succeed without the guilt, intimidation, and repeated failure associated with such strategies as "getting motivated," New Year's Resolutions, or even "just doing it." In fact, you need to stop using those strategies if they aren't giving you great results. They don't work because they all require you to fight against your subconscious brain (a fight not easily won). It's only when you start playing by your brain's rules and taking your human limitations seriously--as mini habits show you how to do--that you can achieve lasting change.
What's A Mini Habit?
A mini habit is a very small positive behavior that you force yourself to do every day; its "too small to fail" nature makes it weightless, deceptively powerful, and a superior habit-building strategy. You will have no choice but to believe in yourself when you're always moving forward. The barrier to the first step is so low that even depressed or "stuck" people can find early success and begin to reverse their lives right away. And if you think one push-up a day is too small to matter, I've got one heck of a story for you!
Aim For The First Step
They say when you aim for the moon, you'll land among the stars. Well, that doesn't make sense, as the moon is closer than the stars. I digress. The message is that you should aim very high and even if you fall short, you'll still get somewhere. I've found the opposite to be true in regards to productivity and healthy behaviors. When you aim for the moon, you'll won't shoot because it's too far away. But when you aim for the step in front of you, you might just keep going and reach the moon.
I've used the Mini Habits strategy to get into the best shape of my life, read 10x more books, and write 4x as many words. It started from requiring one push-up from myself every day. How ridiculous is that? Not so ridiculous when you consider the science of the brain, habits, and willpower. The Mini Habits system works because it's how our brains are designed to change.
I relished the opportunity to share this life-changing strategy with the world. I loved writing Mini Habits. You'll see my passion in the content as well as the overall quality and presentation of the book.