Want to add a new discipline to your life? Try doing it small. Really small. And tie the new discipline to something you’re already good at remembering. Say you want to start brushing your teeth after every meal. At first it’s going to feel like a major annoyance to have to walk to your bathroom after eating, pick up the toothpaste and toothbrush and spend those couple of minutes every single time.
So instead, start small. Just walk to the bathroom after every meal. Then walk back out! It’s remarkably easy to do something this small, and it’s easy to get in the habit of doing it. Then, once that is established as a habit, tie something new to it. Open your drawer and pick up your toothbrush and toothpaste, set them on the sink, then put them back. Do that for awhile – it’s such a small addition to your existing habit that it’ll feel like nothing has changed. Once that is established as a habit, try brushing your lower left teeth. That’s only an additional 30 seconds for the brushing, plus maybe 10 for putting the toothpaste on the toothbrush. Easy! From there it’s easy to add the lower right teeth, and then the uppers, and pretty soon you’ll be brushing after each meal and feeling pretty darn good about yourself.
Imagine you wanted to floss your teeth each time you brush. How would you start that as a microhabit?
Thanks to my friend Ed Roman for teaching me this technique. It works!