Tiny Habits Project (2)

01 Apr

I want to say a little more about the third habit I worked on last week, “After I open the door on my way out of the house, I will touch the door jamb and say, ‘I’ll be back.’”

In the Middle Ages, one of the vows Benedictine monks would make was called stability. It wasn’t about their emotional life, rather it was a commitment to live out their life in a particular community. They promised that they would not pull up stakes and leave without their abbot’s permission.

In a lot of ways, our current home is perfect for us. It’s a condominium, so we don’t have to take care of the yard. It has an attached two-car garage. From our back windows, we see lots of Nature since we overlook a greenbelt that the city has committed to never develop. It’s small so it doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. And we got it new, something Karen had always wanted.

I wanted a simple leave-taking ritual to remind me of all this when I leave the house. That’s what the tiny habit is about. Touching the door jamb and saying “I’ll be back” reminds me of my commitment to this house. We’ve moved enough times already. Our plan is to stay here.


Posted by on 2013/04/01 in Uncategorized


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2 responses to “Tiny Habits Project (2)

  1. M

    2013/04/05 at 21:21

    This is very interesting. How do you make the transition from tiny habit to something of consequence (ie, working out or eating on plan)?

    So far this week, I have done the tiny habit steps for putting things away after using them, taking trash out of the car every day, and opening/filing daily mail. So far, so good! Thanks for sharing!!

    • Tom

      2013/04/06 at 06:25

      I’m so pleased to hear that the technique is being effective for you!

      Re: transitioning to larger behaviors — that’s a good question. It’s something I hope to explore someday. My understanding is that BJ is working on a more advanced course that I think may cover this. I think it would be just a matter of gradually expanding the behavior. For example, in his videos BJ talks about flossing just one tooth or doing just one pushup and how, for him, those behaviors naturally grew into flossing all his teeth and doing 50 to 60 pushups a day, in sets of 10 or 12 spread throughout the day.

      He also emphasizes the importance of keeping the original behavior tiny, so it can be done in 30 seconds or less and doesn’t provoke any sense of resistance or wanting to do something else instead. That’s to make the behavior automatic as quickly as possible. Then we can expand from there. I’m interested in hearing how it goes for you if you want to keep posting reports.


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