Bare Minimum: Why You Are Guaranteed Success Creating Mini Habits [4 Part Mini-Course]
A few weeks ago I spoke about the importance of setting mini-habits.
In sum, it’s all about breaking down the big goal into actionable smaller steps that can be done daily.
But these are more than just words. There is a science.
Knowing how your brain works will literally give you an edge on “tricking” it, at least initially, in getting you towards your goals, even on days you don’t feel like doing it.
There are three big obstacles typically that get in people’s way when setting out to start a goal when it comes to the initial “actions”:
The Amount of Effort
I’m going to give you some insight on how using small mini habits and creating what I call Bare Minimums, will set you on the right track to creating the momentum you need to outright achieve your goals.
Newton’s First Law States that an Object at rest will stay at rest unless an outside force acts upon it.
The toughest part about starting anything is starting. At some point, we are all guilty of putting something off over and over because just the thought of beginning mentally drains us.
It’s getting the initial inertia that takes the greatest effort.
If you have been wanting to start up at the gym, but constantly think about the time it takes to get there, and imagine that your workout has to be at least an hour long, then imagine yourself nearly passing out from the workout because you haven’t worked out in so long, you are increasing the level of perceived difficulty in doing the task.
Here is how to defeat your Perceived Difficulty:
Set a ridiculously small Bare Minimum tasks related to that goal that takes any difficulty out of doing it.
Let’s say in terms of your exercising, you didn’t make it to the gym that day, so you set a mini habit of doing just 5 squats, 5 pushups, and just 10 sit ups.
It doesn’t sound like a lot, and it’s not supposed to, but what you are doing is reducing the perceived difficulty of working out, and creating the momentum to increase the amount of work you will eventually be willing to do.
In addition, you will gain a mental sense of accomplishment because even though you didn’t feel like it, you STILL got something done. In most cases, it will cause you to want to do even more than you Bare Minimum.
You gain momentum overtime.
Newton’s Seconds Law?
An object in motion will stay in motion unless an external force acts on it.
So, once you are in motion, you will stay in motion.
The Bare Minimums kickstarts the motion, and reduces the perceived difficulty, and sets the track for you to KEEP GOING.
Set your Bare Minimum.
Would you like help setting a Bare Minimum for your fitness goals?
Message me, I’d be happy to help.
The next part of the series, I will share how Bare Minimums will reduce your Subjective Fatigue.!
How Bare Minimums Will Help You Overcome Mental Fatigue:
Has this ever happened to you?
You have a decent amount of energy, and you start thinking of task that you need to do.
You start to think about the amount of time it will take to get done, then you literally begin to get exhausted from just THINKING about what it will take to get it done.
This is called Subjective Fatigue.
We have all at some point experienced this.
“I know I need to start looking over these reports, and I’m gonna do it. But first, let me take a nap.”
Oftentimes, the larger the task is, the greater the mental “pre-fatigue” is.
There are studies that have shown how powerful our imaginations are. If you imagine something hard enough, it can change what you hear and see in the physical world.
That’s how powerful our mind can be.
How you perceive your strength relative to the task will impact the amount of energy you are willing to expend to start.
How setting Bare Minimum goals help
While you can never really eliminate ALL the subjective fatigue, setting ridiculously small mini-habits will mitigate the amount of perceived stress you get over a tasks.
This is why they are effective.
Here is an example.
Let’s say your goal is to “get a six pack (I cringe when I type this, but for simplicity’s sake), but you don’t think doing 200 crunches per day is realistic in life right now.
Some days you might have the energy to do all of them, but others days you might have a draining day at work, and by the time you get home, you have ZERO energy by the end of the day.
200 ain’t gonna happen!
However, let’s say we set your Bare Minimum to be just 5 Sit Ups.
Yes only 5.
It sounds ridiculous but doing just 5 sit ups eliminates the anxiety of doing 200, and can be done more easily on a consistent basis.
You might be thinking “How am I really supposed to make real progress doing this little amount?”
Well chances are, you will feel a sense of empowerment. You will the majority of the time do more than the Bare Minimum you set.
Even when you feel exhausted, it’s easy enough that you will get it done.
This is how Bare Minimums will help you overcome that subjective.
So far, we have talked about how setting Bare Minimum’s can help you overcome task with great perceived difficulty, and subjective fatigue.
How about your physical energy levels?
We have all seen the snicker’s commercials. You know, the ones where you are not yourself when you are hungry.
It’s true. And it’s mainly in part because of blood glucose.
Glucose is the body’s primary energy source. When blood sugar is low, so is your energy.
It will affect everything from your mood, your focus, and if low enough, can even cause you to pass out.
But what does this have to creating mini habits, or consistently sticking to Bare Minimums?
Well one of the most common reasons for people not sticking to the process of carrying out their goals is because of having no energy.
Yes, this could be ameliorated from simply making sure you eat enough food throughout the day.
However, the other way is to ensure that you have some solid mini habits in place.
Whatever mini habit that you have, should be designed to expend the least amount of energy possible. Like I mentioned in the previous email, they should be ridiculously small.
This is important because even during those times that you are extremely hungry, have low energy, your Bare Minimum is small enough that despite this, you can still complete it.
You’re famished, but still are able to tap into your will power reserves and hit 5 sit ups, 5 push ups, and 5 squats.
It’s a victory.
It’s self-empowering. And it boosts self-efficacy.
So, if you have not already, think about what your big goal is, whether is has something to do with fitness, learning and instrument, starting a business, it doesn’t matter.
Break it down to miniscule pieces that you can do consistently.
If you want to write a business plan, and have been procrastinating, then set your Bare Minimum to just write only 20 words per day towards your plan.
It’s small. It’s bitesize, but it is still productive, and can definitely be done even when your glucose levels are low, and you are hungry.
Get it going!
Obliterate Your Effort Boundaries and Expand You Comfort Zones
Imagine you are in a clear box.
Everything that you have ever wanted to achieve resides just outside of the box.
The more fit you.
The successful you who started that business that is thriving.
The you who is fluent in a different language and flowing effortlessly.
Every single one of these better versions of you belie outside of your glass comfort box because they require discomfort to achieve.
The only thing that could be separating you from really hitting your fullest potential are doing things differently than you have been.
Unfortunately, the way most people go about trying to achieve this change is through trying to jump too much outside of their normal comfort zone, and diving in to change.
Now the principle of it is not bad, but the way your brain is wires subconsciously is to try to keep you out of uncomfortable situations by any means possible.
Think of New Years Resolutioners. People MEAN well when they say, “I gonna work out 4 days per week this year until I drop 15 pounds.”
But what does this require?
Well, if you haven’t been working out like this consistently beforehand, then suddenly forcing yourself to go to the gym 4 days out of the week is an extreme stretch outside of the comfort zone.
Chances are, you will start strong, then fall back like 85 percent of people with resolutions involving fitness goals.
Bit here is how setting Bare Minimums help.
Because they require minima effort, yet still conducive to your goals, there is less resistance.
Rather than jumping headfirst into new territory, biting into it piece by piece slowly expands your comfort zone.
Setting a mini habit that you can do is like walking to the edge of your comfort box and slowly creeping out. It’s “scary”, but because you aren’t going that far, you can always take a minor step back in.
The more of those small steps you take to the outer edge, the more your subconscious will tolerate your comfort box expanding, until eventually, you are in new territory.
You are setting the foundation for a new behavior conducive for hitting your goals.
So as you can see, setting your Bare Minimum require little effort to do, but have significant long term gains.
No this is not your traditional, just do 10 push ups type of fitness series, but more so aims at achieving the behaviors that create the foundation for you success.
Think about what it is you want to achieve or change, then find out what the smallest component of it that you can do daily as a bare minimum, despite having the energy or motivation that day to do, that will keep you moving forward.