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Willpower and Mini Habits

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Recognizing that I have very little willpower or self-control, I borrowed an audiobook from the library: "Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength" by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney. Fascinating material. It gives insight into some of the whys and wherefores, but doesn't give a lot of suggestions on improvement until later in the book.

Meanwhile, I also had a small paperback laying around (also borrowed from the library). I picked it up one day because I wanted to read something in general but nothing in particular. Certainly not enough to go finding one of the several other books I had already started, LOL. And this one was small and looked innocent enough.

Low and behold, what I read in the small paperback, "Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results" by Stephen Guise, fit perfectly with what I was hearing in "Willpower!" He even mentions Baumeister's studies in his book! I just love when things build on each other without intentionally planning it.

I've been trying to use some of what I have learned to increase my willpower. One exciting thing is that practicing willpower in one area can improve it in all areas. The flip side is that using willpower in any area depletes it in all areas. So we have to be careful to use our willpower efficiently.

Mini-habits, Guise says, should take a minute or less. I've set two goals for myself. Both exceed that, but I am finding some success by having such small goals and focusing on just two.
*Practice writing 10 minutes a day
*Exercise 2 minutes a day

These two habits actually drove me to get back on SparkPeople. I wanted a way I could track my streaks. What better way than the Spark community?

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • OOLALA53
    Two things that really stuck with me from Baumeister regarding weight loss: 1. Don't go "on a diet;" I assumed he meant some program that told me what to eat at what meal and how many calories, etc. 2. Don't eliminate any foods completely. He does recommend recording food, but I refuse! (I'm considering doing it on my "free" days.) He's into "situational" guidelines, which is basically what my adopted program, No S Diet, is. I've continued to adjust within the basics. I mentioned MIND/Blue Zones on my status. Last January or February, I got the bug to aim for helping to prevent dementia and degenerative disease, so I did some researching and experimenting. I refuse to be a complete purist, but I do like it when MOST of my food at my meals fits those two programs. I make exceptions when others are providing most of the food and just sometimes because here we are! I'm thinking of borrowing the mini-habit book you mentioned from the library, though my mentor, Reinhard Engels, has some excellent podcasts on habits. That is his real genius, though he is a layman. All the stuff on habits that's come out since he first started posting supports everything he's been talking about for years. One warning: don't try to change too many at once. But you are doing great!
    1401 days ago
  • EILEEN828
    Lisaaaaaa, you are doing so well! And you taught me something I didn't know. I did not realize that using will power in one area would deplete it in another at the same time. Something to watch out for , for sure. Thanks!
    1404 days ago
  • LUVS2BIKE101
    Sounds very much like the philosophy of SparkPeople.com
    Your blog was well written. Thanks for sharing!
    1405 days ago
  • no profile photo CD2712264
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    1405 days ago
  • no profile photo HOTPINKCAMARO49
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    1405 days ago
    I borrowed power of hanit audio from the library, but haven't listened to it yet. Good luck with your project!
    1405 days ago
  • SPICY23
    Great ideas. Anchoring can also help with habits: for example link things to events that already happen routinely in your day like getting up, brushing teeth, coming home from work or school, bedtime routine etc. Anything you already do every day can serve as a link, the better and more solid if it connects smoothly like throwing in a load of laundry after your shower.

    Looking forward to seeing your commentary.

    Peace and Care
    1405 days ago
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