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Description: Think about one or two things about yourself or your life or your regular habits that you would like to change. Now without too much reflection think about what you would do if you wanted to implement a change in each of those areas. How big a first step did you imagine taking? If you think you need more sleep perhaps you thought about going to bed 30 minutes earlier each night. If you need to exercise more perhaps you thought about getting to the gym for an hour every day (or perhaps every other day). We typically think in terms of big changes … of fixing our faults or addressing our shortcomings in short order. I suspect I do not have to tell you that such big steps or leaps forward fail almost every time and our knowing that may well be why we do not attempt such big steps very often. So, what should you do if you want to make a sustainable change? How does the suggestion that you should think insignificantly small sound? Do not dismiss the suggestion so quickly. Read the article linked below for a rationale.

Source: To Achieve Big Goals, Start with Small Habits, Sabina Nawaz, Motivating People, Harvard Business Review.

Date: January 20, 2020

Photo Credit: Steffen Zimmermann from Pixabay

Article Link:  https://digest.bps.org.uk/2020/01/14/we-consistently-overestimate-how-much-other-people-will-enjoy-or-pay-for-stuff/

A very large proportion of the huge numbers of self-help books, sites, blogs, and videos talk about how we can accomplish big changes without actually telling us how to do so and without research supporting the claims made or tracking peoples’ actual experiences with the various “miracle” fixes offered. So, perhaps the advice to think small, no smaller, wait no smaller still is worth considering. Many complex behavior patterns are grounded in small habits and changing behavior and sustaining those changes so that they can accrue to larger changes and accomplishments could be worth trying. As well, as with all good research, keeping good simple reliable data records helps us see and stay focused on the outcomes we are achieving (or wanting to move towards). So think small….no smaller….. and get started.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. If you want to change some aspect of your life is it better to plan big or plan small?
  2. Why might focusing on what might seem like insignificantly small changes in our behavior or habits help us make positive change over time?
  3. Think of something about yourself or your life that you would like to change and then talk with one or two other people about how you might identify, implement and keep track of a small habit change in your desired direction?

References (Read Further):

https://www.inc.com/sabina-nawaz/transform-your-to-do-list-with-this-1-quick-productivity-hack.html?cid=search

Wood, W., Tam, L., & Witt, M. G. (2005). Changing circumstances, disrupting habits. Journal of personality and social psychology, 88(6), 918. https://dornsifecms.usc.edu/assets/sites/208/docs/Wood.Tam.GuerreroWitt.2005.pdf

Webb, T. L., Sheeran, P., & Luszczynska, A. (2009). Planning to break unwanted habits: Habit strength moderates implementation intention effects on behaviour change. British Journal of Social Psychology, 48(3), 507-523. http://www.academia.edu/download/50974944/Planning_to_break_unwanted_habits_Habit_20161219-30932-1ej7r6x.pdf

Webb, T. L., Sheeran, P., & Luszczynska, A. (2009). Planning to break unwanted habits: Habit strength moderates implementation intention effects on behaviour change. British Journal of Social Psychology, 48(3), 507-523. http://www.academia.edu/download/50974944/Planning_to_break_unwanted_habits_Habit_20161219-30932-1ej7r6x.pdf

Adriaanse, M. A., Gollwitzer, P. M., De Ridder, D. T., De Wit, J. B., & Kroese, F. M. (2011). Breaking habits with implementation intentions: A test of underlying processes. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37(4), 502-513. https://kops.uni-konstanz.de/bitstream/handle/123456789/17011/gollwitzeretal.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Wood, W. (2017). Habit in personality and social psychology. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 21(4), 389-403. http://www.academia.edu/download/60956105/Wood.PSPR20191019-50119-hrhg72.pdf

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