Personal Improvement

Creating Mini Habits with Stephen Guise

Listen Money Matters is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. How we make money.
Table of Contents  
  1. Show Notes

Building habits is important but big changes can be daunting.  Our guest, Stephen Guise will tell us how mini habits can be just as good as big habits.

Stephen graduated college in 2010 into a terrible job market.  He started a blog with his free time and after two years, it took off.  He now has 9,000 subscribers.

Habits are the foundation of every person's life.

Tweet This

45% of our total behavior is habitual.  Those can be good habits, paying yourself first, or bad habits, only paying the minimum on your credit cards.  Stephen made a New Year’s resolution to work out thirty minutes a day.  The resolution failed as most do.

He read a book, Thinker Toys, that suggested considering the opposite of a goal.  This opens your mind to the whole spectrum of possibilities. Stephen decided the opposite would be one push up.  So he did one.  And since he was in push up position, he did more.  He applied the same thinking to a few more exercises and before he knew it, he had done a thirty minute work out.

When a behavior becomes a habit, it’s easier to do it than not to do it. Before you know it, you’re in the gym five days a week.

Mini habits are behaviors so small, that you can do them even on your worst day. How mini is mini?  If it sounds stupid, doing one push up for instance, it’s a mini habit.  Reading one page of a book.  It should start the process of what you’re trying to do.

Doing something, even if very small, changes your brain over time.  Stick with your small target until you’re sure you can maintain the larger goal.

Motivation is a poor starting strategy because it’s based on how you feel at any given moment.  Building habits takes away the need for motivation.  You don’t need to feel motivated to perform something that is a habit.

Stephen uses the “why drill.”  You ask yourself why repeatedly until you drill down to the core of the reason you want a behavior to become habit. If your why isn’t good enough, it’s unlikely the related behavior will become a habit.

There is nothing wrong with starting small.  If you can’t quite make the big change, make a little change. You’ll get there eventually.

Show Notes

Boulder Beer Hazed and Infused:  A dry hopped ale.

Mini Habits:  Smaller habits, bigger results.

Mini Habits Video Course:  Stephen’s video series.

Deep Existence:  Stephen’s blog dedicated to personal growth.

Candice Elliott - Senior Editor
Candice Elliott is a substantial contributor to Listen Money Matters. She has been a personal finance writer since 2013 and has written extensively on student loan debt, investing, and credit. She has successfully navigated these areas in her own life and knows how to help others do the same. Candice has answered thousands of questions from the LMM community and spent countless hours doing research for hundreds of personal finance articles. She happily calls New Orleans, Louisiana home-the most fun city in the world.

What's next?

learn course podcast popular toolbox