Leo Babauta is one of my favorite bloggers, and has been for many years. Before I found his blog, I read his 2009 book, the Power of Less.
Leo wrote a post on habits I want to share. What he writes is closely aligned to what I espouse about breaking down big goals into small pieces and working on one at a time until they become habits. Here are the first three steps Leo lays out, which will resonate with readers of my book and my blog:
Pick a positive habit. I recommend you find new, positive habits to form, rather than starting with quitting a bad habit. If you want to quit eating junk food … focus instead on creating the habit of eating more vegetables. Good positive habits to start with: meditation, reading, writing, exercise, eating vegetables, journaling, flossing.
One habit at a time. We all have a list of a dozen habits we’d like to change — and all right now! But in my experience, the more habits you do at once, the less likely your chances of success. Even one habit at a time takes focus and energy! Trust me on this: doing one habit at a time is the best strategy, by far, for any but the best habit masters.
Small steps are successful. People underestimate the importance of this, but along with one habit at a time, it’s probably the most important thing you can do to ensure success. Start really small. Meditate for 2 minutes a day the first week (increase by 2-3 minutes a week only if you’re consistent the previous week). Start running for 5-10 minutes a day, not 30 minutes. Eat a small serving of vegetables for one meal, don’t try to change your entire diet at once. Start as small as you can, and increase only gradually as long as you stay consistent. Small steps allow your mind to adjust gradually, and is the best method by far.