Breakthrough: How to change your life with Tiny Habits

Tiny HabitsThe definition of tiny habit says it’s an activity that

-you do at least once a day,
-takes you less than 30 seconds,
-requires little effort.

Tiny habits were invented by BJ Fogg from Stanford University, as a result of his study on behavioral change. They are the tool for common mortals to learn the nits and grits of the process of habits development.

I won’t go into the details of my study about the etymology of the word ‘habit,‘ but it clearly revealed that your habits define who you are.

Thus, any tiny habit in itself is life changing. If you learn how to develop habits, you and your life will never be the same. I didn’t learn the art of habit development by practicing tiny habits, but I can confirm that one’s life changes when his habits change.

99% of answers to this question don’t refer to tiny habits. Heck, the top answer is “Read books at least 30 minutes a day!” That’s 60 times greater than tiny!

Here is the really tiny habit that has not only the potential (“could”), but real power to change lives:
Life-changing Tiny Habit

It has the power of setting your brain to positivity. Experiments confirmed that it’s enough to come up with three new reasons for being grateful every morning for one month to change hardcore pessimists into optimists.

Why is that important? Will those “newly created” optimists going around in blissful state with goofy smiles and saliva in the corners of their mouths? Nope. Their brains will be positive. Here what happens when your brain is positive:

“Every possible outcome we know how to test for raises dramatically.”

Cultivating gratitude is one of the easiest habits on earth. I started from jotting down 1 to 3 things about my wife in a dedicated gratitude diary.

Let it sink in. A tiny habit, less than 30 seconds a day. Every measurable output increases.

How’s that for a life change?

The above revelations are the result of scientific studies and they are right at the general level. Let me tell you a couple of stories that demonstrate the power of gratitude on individual level.

Stronger Than Death

I have a friend, let’s call her S. She had been keeping a gratitude diary for well over a year when her boyfriend died in a car accident. Can you imagine a more excruciating experience? Her whole world fell apart in a single moment. But she had a gratitude habit. Habits are not to be taken lightly. They are hardcoded in the most primal part of your brain. It’s not easy to get rid of them.

She kept her gratitude diary even throughout that dark time. It helped her to stay sane.

Today she is in a new relationship and her gratitude streak is well over 1,000 days long.

Saving Relationships

As I mentioned above, my adventure with gratitude started with a diary about my wife. As a proper tiny habit, it opened doors for more gratitude in my life. Now I am thankful for everything. I also started separate gratitude journals about my kids and about my days. I’m a fount of gratitude.

I’m deeply thankful for this first small habit however. The past three years were tough on our marriage. It was the usual story: years of marriage brought routine, boredom, over-familiarity and predictability creeping in.

I decided to turn my life around and my wife was absolutely not prepared for that. Quite often she said “I don’t recognize you.” This was obviously all “her fault,” (blaming is the easiest way in a relationship, isn’t it?), however the daily conscious effort of looking for something to be grateful for in or about her helped me to keep the right perspective.

I don’t claim that, if not for my gratitude journal, we would have been divorced or some other tragedy would have happened. It’s just that this tiny discipline made the turmoil in my life and marriage more bearable. It helped me to diminish my ego a bit.

Begin in a Tiny Way

Every morning (morning shapes your day), take a journal and note down at least one thing you are grateful for. If you can come up with 100, that’s fine, but 1 is enough. If you can elaborate why you are grateful for it, that’s fine, but focus on writing this one thing first. It should be a new thing every day.

There is no excuse for not doing this, not even the one my rebellious teenager throws at me: “I don’t know what I’m grateful for.” Everything can be a starting point: air, water, food, shelter, your body or its parts…

If S. found reasons to be grateful after her boyfriend’s death, you surely can find something too.

You Are Free

You are freeTurning your life around is free

You don’t need an online course for this. You don’t need a coach. You don’t need an accountability buddy. You don’t need money.

All you need to change your life is already provided for free.

You have the air
You can breathe. Without this free resource you would’ve suffocated; and a corpse obviously can’t change its life.

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You Are a Success

While reading The Science of Getting Rich this morning I stumbled upon this quote:

“Success in life is becoming what you want to be.”

You Are a Success
I suddenly realized: “Heck, I’m a success!”

I became what I wanted to be. I’m a writer. What is more, I beat the odds. Eighty percent of self‑published authors don’t even earn $1,000 a year. In 2015, there were several different months when I earned over $1,000.

The problem with becoming something, is that it never ends

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“Patience is not the ability to wait but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.” ― Joyce Meyer

You need enormous patience when you want to turn your life around.

Each success seems so far away that it’s almost unattainable. Each milestone gives you joy for just a brief moment, because you realize there is a lot of similar milestones ahead.

Continuous effort is needed if you want to succeed on a journey. Your heart will ache for relief, but for a long time any relief seems far beyond the horizon.

Three years ago I began to believe that I could actually achieve something significant. A lot has happened since that time. I’ve bought a house. I sold our apartment. I became a writer.

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Keep Going

Keep GoingIf you know me just a little bit, you know I’m a big advocate of perseverance. Of course, in order to persevere in something you need first to get started. Starting is hard, but unavoidable. Brian Tracy in his book “Earn What You Are Really Worth” illustrates the laborsaving trait of perseverance:

When you look at successful people, you find that they are very much like the plates spinners in Vaudeville acts. They get things started; They get the plates spinning. Then they keep them spinning, knowing that if a plate falls off or something comes to a halt, it’s much harder to get it restarted than it is to keep it going in the first place.

Your Brain’s Paradigm May Be Your Ally

Once you started working on your dream, keep up the hustle. The road may be long and rough, but stopping every five minutes doesn’t make it shorter or better. On the contrary, the more often you stop, the less you are inclined to start going once again.

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Start Right Now

Start Right Now
Babson College’s performed an extensive research on their graduates. This longitudinal study went for 13 years to determine how many of college graduates launch a business and what differentiates them from their peers who didn’t. The study concluded that success in business comes down to just two essential things: get going and keep going.

That’s the recipe for success in any area. Both the above elements are tricky. They are found to be simple in theory, but not easy to execute.

Part of my personal philosophy is the belief that if I don’t try, I won’t know the results. I will always wonder, “What if?”

Start Right Now to Expand Your Possibilities

When I started thinking about writing, publishing and getting paid for my work in this area, I had no idea that such a thing like Amazon even existed.
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There Is Nothing Wrong with the World

Nothing wrong with the world
A few weeks ago, I read an outstanding book: How to Find Peace. Peace is definitely something I’m still looking for. If you are curious, I wrote a review about it in another post. In short, the author claims that all turmoil comes from inside of us. In order to take advantage of this philosophy, you need to accept everything that happens in your life.


Not so easy, is it?

Well, it dawned on me this very morning: it’s easy. You need just a bit (in my case, a couple of years) of training in changing what’s wrong with your perspective.
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Beginnings Are Hard—Make Them Easier

Beginnings are hard
What is more, they are also threatened to fizzle out.

In the beginning, you are at your lowest point of capabilities, which is determined by your experience and when you begin, it is equal to zero.

You can substitute experience with the knowledge that you have attained and the strength of your character or other personal qualities like willpower or creativity. However, usually, in order to get anything mentioned previously, you needed personal experiences to get them. Besides, they are only substitutes. Anyone without willpower, intelligence, character, and theoretical knowledge, who has the right experience can perform better than you in this new venture.

Beginnings are hard

You need to gain experience, but you can only gain it by doing and you are just not able to perform optimally without the advantage of experience.

Oh, failure, yes; that is why starting is difficult. Failure is unavoidable. Therefore, we found another factor, other than experience, which can support you in starting out: dealing with failures.
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Free Personal Development

free personal development
I always find the idea of spending money in order to make you rich a little bizarre. Books, audio programs, seminars and courses can cost you a fortune. There is a whole ‘personal development industry’, and maybe it is doing a good job—I am curious about your experiences in that matter. Please comment if you wasted your money or got tenfold, hundredfold return on such investments. Detailed life examples are welcome!

No motivational program can motivate you if you won’t motivate yourself. It is your actions that will change your life, not anybody else’s actions, advice or good intentions.

According to 80/20 rule, 80% of success is depending on you, it isn’t sensible to allocate 80% of your budget to a 20% factor of training materials.

My experience was that I had attended events, read books, listened to tapes and nothing significant happened, and it made me suspicious about the results of any paid programs. It also made me close-minded. I was looking for ulterior motives first and then for some useful knowledge.
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