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  • Writer's pictureAviva Nirenberg

The Tiny Secret to Create Real and Lasting Change

I know how difficult it can be to develop and maintain good habits. That’s why I’ve been excited to learn about the idea of Mini Habits over the past year. Mini Habits offer the perfect solution for those of us with ADHD who want to finally be able to create lasting habits!

There’s no doubt that habits make life easier. After we’ve repeated an action enough times, we don’t have to expend energy thinking about every step of the process. Once a habit is firmly embedded in our brains, we can move on to bigger and better things.

Without habits, everyday tasks can become a source of stress and distraction for individuals with ADHD. Frequently, an individual with ADHD might feel overwhelmed, anxious, and unfocused if their everyday tasks are not well-defined or not part of a larger, structured routine. On the other hand, with well-formed habits, the daily and weekly activities become easier and much more manageable. We become more productive, achieve our goals and start to create we really want.

However, for people with ADHD, the challenge with habit formation is that it generally requires more time and energy to stick with a particular habit long enough for it to become ingrained. The other problem is that typical habits rely on our motivation to follow through and as we know when you have ADHD motivation and willpower are unpredictable. The good news is that this is where tiny habits come in. A mini habit routine involves breaking down ordinary tasks into small, repeated steps that can be easily remembered and managed. When executed over and over, these miniscule steps become powerful habits.

Tiny habits avoid the typical pitfalls folks with ADHD often encounter when trying to create traditional habits. All brains resist sudden big changes, but the ADHD brain is especially averse to change. Mini habits are so ridiculously small that our brains don’t protest. If our brain could comment, it would say, “one push-up a day, that’s laughable. It’s not even exercise” and so, our allows us to continue without a fight. Second, mini habits don’t rely on the limited and inconsistent resource of motivation or willpower. Mini habits are so miniscule that even on our worst days, we can muster the physical or mental energy to complete them. We are almost embarrassed not to do them. It becomes an ego thing. Finally, they provide quick and easy wins and are a welcome change from our past attempts to create new habits that ended with failure and shame, replacing it with a feeling of success, belief in our own capabilities and building self-confidence.

How do we create tiny habits? Tiny habits are a minified version of your big goal. For example, when you’re starting to develop a habit of exercise, you might break it down into three easy to complete tasks: put on your workout clothes, open a fitness app, and move your body. Another example, if you would like to develop a regular habit to regularly read professional literature in your field to become an expert, you can create a mini habit to read one page per day. Little by little you will develop expertise

Two quick tips, if you encounter any roadblock to your new mini habit that’s a sign it’s not small enough. It needs further minification. Is that a word?? The key is your habit is so easy you can do it consistently. Tip two, often you will far exceed your actually goal. Your goal is walk to the end of your driveway and instead you complete a 15 minute loop around your block.That’s awesome, but beware and don’t increase your mini habit. There will be many challenging days that you will only achieve your original mini goal. Remember, that’s a win and celebrate! Consistency is key. Little by little you will develop expertise. All it takes is a few minutes each day, and after repeating this sequence over time, you’ll realize that your routine is becoming easier and automatic! You’re becoming a person who exercises, a person who is an expert in their profession, or whatever is your ultimate aspiration with your mini habit.

Making time for tiny habits and repeating them consistently is the key to success, as tiny habits are not only easier on the brain but also less overwhelming than larger, more complicated habits. The best part of tiny habits is that since they’re broken down into such tiny steps, they can be modified or adjusted over time to better fit your life and goals.

The true power of tiny habits is that although they are small, they are capable of producing huge results. In fact, research has shown that small, repeated behaviors are more likely to lead to actual life transformation. I have seen this in my own life, the lives of my clients. So, if you’re looking to create real and lasting changes in your life, give mini habits a try!

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