One big advantage of mini-habits is how they sneak beneath the mind’s radar, evading our inbuilt tendency to resist change.
If you’ve never been running, a goal of a mile a day is too intimidating, and will trigger procrastination; a goal of 30 seconds a day, on the other hand, is laughable – and what’s laughable can’t also be scary.
‘In school, when I was trying to acquire the habit of running, I ran down the street until I’d passed just three houses, then I turned back,’ says Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project (Harper, £6.99) and a forthcoming book on habits, Better Than Before (Two Roads, £16.99, to be published in March 2015). ‘After a few runs like that, I ran past four houses. Over time, I worked up to a few miles. Taking small steps helped me to keep running long enough to make a habit of it.’
Research suggests people stick to moderate exercise plans longer than more vigorous ones.
Alternatively, try SaluteTheDesk.com (£2.49), an app encouraging yoga stretches at work.
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