Want to form healthy habits? Start small. Really small.

I need to work on being present.

I need to work on being present.

Did you know it takes 66 days to form a habit? According to this article from Fast Company, a new habit becomes automatic after performing it every day for 66 days in a row. After that, it becomes part of your routine. Like brushing your teeth or folding your laundry.

The key to making a successful shift, however, is to start small. Really small.

“The bigger a project seems, the less likely we are to complete it, since it seems like too much effort,” author Drake Baer points out. “What we need to do, then, is to find a strategy that lets us lay the foundation of a productive habit while minimizing the upfront workload.”

Baer offers some suggestions to help make this shift, such as eating one extra vegetable per day to be healthier or to sit and meditate for five minutes each day to be more mindful. The premise is that since the habit is so tiny and small, “you’ll feel ridiculous for not getting it into your day.”

I’ll admit that I haven’t used this technique to form my dedicated exercise and healthy eating habits. But maybe if I did, it would have taken me less than the six years it actually took me to form the habits so engrained in my routine today.

I’m going to try this tiny habit hack with my meditation and mindfulness practice. Right now, I’m lucky if I can squeeze in five minutes during my busy morning routine. I usually find time to sit and meditate three to four times per week, but I would like to make it as much a part of my day as exercise. I’m going to take a suggestion from TinyBuddha.com’s Ten Mini Habit Ideas list and meditate for just one minute each day. Everyone has one minute to sit quietly. There. Now I have no excuses.

I will report back after 66 days and let you know if it actually became a part of my routine!

Looking for a tiny, healthy habit hack you’d like to make a part of your routine? Try one of these habit ideas and do it every day:

  • Drink one glass of water
  • Take one really deep breath
  • Do one sun salutation
  • Do one body weight squat
  • Walk once around the block in your neighbourhood
  • Include one (or one extra) vegetable serving at dinner
  • Prepare and eat one meal per day that doesn’t come from a box or package (unless it’s a whole grain)
  • Have club soda with slices of lime and lemon instead of pop
  • Do one superman
  • Sit quietly and be mindful for one minute
  • Do one forward or backward lunge on each leg
  • Eat slowly and be present (no distractions) for two minutes during one meal
  • Take the stairs one time during your day instead of the elevator

Do you have an tiny, healthy habit hacks to share? Have you tried this method before? Did it work? Let me know in the comment section below!