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Small Steps for Big Change: The Importance of Tiny Habits

January is a time when we often take stock, and think about resolutions and making a fresh start. We have thoughts like: “This year is going to be different.” By the time February rolls around, however, we may have been unable to sustain our motivation. We’ve stopped getting up early to go for a walk or meditate, and we’re feeling defeated. Change is uncomfortable, even if it’s positive change, and something that we really want to accomplish. That’s why one of the most important things to consider, is starting with small steps.   

In my therapy practice, one of the most important questions I ask is “What’s the smallest step that you can take towards your goal?” This approach is expanded on in a really helpful book, Tiny Habits: The Small Changes that Change Everything by BJ Fogg. Fogg is a behavior scientist and founder of the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford University. He says the key to creating lasting change is by taking small steps.

Fogg’s Tiny Habits method is based on the idea that small actions, when repeated consistently, can lead to big results. By breaking down our goals into tiny, manageable steps, we’re more likely to stick with them. And over time, these small actions will add up to big changes. For example, if your goal is to start exercising more, instead of setting a goal to run a marathon in six months, start by committing to just one minute of exercise per day. Once this has become a habit, you can gradually increase the amount of time you exercise each day.

By taking these small steps, you’re more likely to stick with your plan, and eventually reach your goal. Another benefit of taking small steps is that it reduces the psychological barrier to starting. When we set big goals, it can be overwhelming and we may not know where to begin. By starting small, we’re able take action immediately, which helps build momentum and motivation. We alter our experience of the change, and by having small moments of success, we develop a sense of competence and confidence.

Once of the keys to creating lasting change is taking small steps. By breaking down our goals into tiny, manageable actions, we’re more likely to stick with them and eventually achieve our goals. As BJ Fogg has said, “Big change is the sum of many small actions.” Remember to take it one step at a time, and don’t be afraid to reach out for support if you need it.

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