- Series: Mini Habits
- Paperback: 126 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 22, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1494882272
- ISBN-13: 978-1494882273
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 810 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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About the Author
On December 28, 2012, Stephen Guise started doing at least one push-up every day. It was his first mini habit. Two years later, Stephen's mini habits have him in peak physical condition, writing 4x as many words, and reading 10x more books.
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Top customer reviews
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Mini habits gave me the key to unlock that cage.
I started simple, 1 push up a day. 1 minute walking outside. Read 1 page a day. 24 days have passed since I've started (I read the blog first of all, that's how I've learnt the concept). Everyday a success.
My 1 push up is still growing, but I've consistently do bonus reps. My "read 1 page a day" has resulted in completing 7 books in roughly 3 weeks. My 1 minute walk outside changed into me conquering my fear of darkness which has been with me my entire life. I go out twice now for two walks, and I run back from them. Once when it's still light and once in the dark. My fear of dark has completely gone, I feel like I'm a completely different person now. I'm proud of my self. And all this from just walking outside for 1 minute.
Mini habits will teach you what you need to know to get along with your brain, and leverage the power of habits. It'll tell you how to get there step by step. Understanding is key here, because it's easy to make a blunder, like increasing your requirements when they should stay "stupid small". The book has everything you need. It'll give you the science, and help you along your first steps. Once you know what you're doing, you'll have no trouble growing on your own.
Like they say: Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.
This book will teach you how to fish.
For many years, I was a regular exerciser. My zeal for exercising ebbed and flowed, but I always did something on a regular basis to get my heart pumping. At my best, I walked to the gym in 25-degree weather - in shorts, because I'm not smart - and I ran several miles on the treadmill. I exercised even more when I had a gym in my apartment building. I felt great, and I never once questioned whether exercising was a worthwhile practice. It so obviously improved every facet of my life.
Then, a few years ago, I stopped. Maybe it was moving out of the building with the gym. Maybe work got busier. Maybe it was having a kid. Whatever the reason, my exercising habit dwindled and eventually disappeared outright. I could not find the time or - more importantly - the motivation to fit in a half-hour of exercise into my days.
As is true of all habits, not exercising became easier and more ingrained each day I did it. Not only was it easier physically to lay in bed rather than run on a treadmill, my brain became better and better at justifying my lack of exercise:
"I have no time - not in the morning, the afternoon, the evening, weekends, weekdays. It's too cold out. It's too cold in. My gym is too far away [my gym was a block away; I could see my apartment building from the treadmills]. I would definitely exercise at Equinox, but I can't afford to join. If I had a treadmill at home, I would run every day. I can't do exercise DVDs because it would annoy the people living below us. Exercising would take away time I could be spending with my wife and our new baby. What if my son ended up in therapy because daddy was too busy exercising to play with him? I can't risk it."
Even more insidiously, my lazy brain began implanting deeper ideas that would prevent me from exercising today, or tomorrow, or any day: "Does exercise really matter? I'm a cerebral guy - who cares what my body looks or feels like? Sure, exercise is great for Michael Phelps, but I don't need it. My life is just fine without it."
But it affected me. While I maintained a healthy weight through dieting, and I walked several miles each day as part of a normal life in New York City, I could still feel the lack of regular cardio exercise, the kind that really gets my heart pumping. I felt the lack of exercise in my chest. My body dragged. I was in lousy shape. Climbing a flight of stairs caused me to lose my breath. While singing songs to my baby son, I had to pause for breath between each verse. I even confessed to a friend that "I get winded while whistling."
In the back of my mind, I had the nagging notion that I was hurting myself by not exercising. But it was dwarfed by the impeccable, inarguable logic behind a sedentary lifestyle.
To the tiny extent that I did want to exercise, the idea of running a few miles seemed like torture. But of course, I couldn't do any less than that. I was going to exercise perfectly, or not at all.
I waited in vain for my old motivation to suddenly return, for the day when I'd wake up, realize how vital exercise was, jump out of bed, and run five miles with a smile on my face. But it never came.
A few months ago, I read Mini Habits; and everything Stephen said about willpower and motivation lined up with my own experience. He understood every dirty trick my brain had pulled to keep me from disrupting my lazy, comfortable, and deeply unhealthy equilibrium.
I decided to build the Mini Habit of exercising for 5 minutes per day. My Mini Habit would, at least initially, consist of running in place in our backyard if the weather was good, or in our laundry room if it wasn't. It felt absurd, like it would accomplish nothing, but it was an exercise commitment that flew under the radar of every excuse that my brain could come up with. My brain simply said, "Sure, whatever, Carl Lewis. Have fun with your 'exercise'. Maybe you'll qualify for the New York City Marathon over in the laundry room."
That night, I laced up my sneakers and headed to the laundry room. My brain didn't try to stop me. I huffed and puffed in place for five minutes. When my timer went off, I wheezed, "Oh, thank you, thank you" and, coursing with relief, I threw off my sneakers.
That was 85 nights ago, and I haven't missed a night of exercise since then. A few weeks ago, I felt comfortable enough to bump up my Mini Habit to ten minutes of exercise per night. A few days ago, I added 2 1/2 minutes of crunches after I run in place.
If any of this becomes too onerous, I'll shift back to five minutes per night until I'm comfortable exercising again. For now, though, it feels right; and every night of exercise makes the next night easier to accomplish, physically and mentally.
Eventually I hope to build back up to a half-hour of running, and not just running in place. But I know I'll get there; and I know that it will only happen if I continue to do something - however small - instead of nothing.
Even with only 5-10 minutes of cardio every night, I feel so much better. I breathe easier. I walk faster. I sing - and even whistle - without any detrimental effects.
Perhaps most importantly, and fully in line with the book's philosophy on exercise and willpower, exercising has slowly brought back my motivation to exercise. I'm remembering how good I feel when I'm a regular exerciser, the joy of resting, covered in sweat, after I've pushed myself to accomplish something physically difficult. I get excited picturing how my body will eventually look. I'm realizing - once again - how important regular exercise is to my physical, mental, and emotional health.
After 85 nights, I'm excited about this. Slowly, over several months, exercising has once again become a part of my identity. None of it happened magically overnight. It happened in sweaty five- and ten-minute mini-increments.
Mini Habits helped me improve a vital area of my life when nothing else worked. Thank you to Stephen for inventing such a fantastic concept. I hope that anyone who wants to make a similar change will give Mini Habits a try.
I purchased this book on January 4, 2014 and already have three minihabits in place. The book was written in a way that made it easy to comprehend and I finished in a day or two. Now I meet my minihabit requirement every day (1 push up, 5 strokes brushing my dog, read 2 pages of a book), but I usually surpass the requirements because they're so ridiculously simple, I'm doing more without even thinking about it, BUT I DON'T HAVE TO! That's the key! The habit of "taking that required action" every day is getting established. And it gets easier and easier as my mind is being "trained" in this direction. I'm also discovering that I'm more likely to do a "non scheduled" chore by suggesting to myself that I only have to do it for one minute.. and sure enough, I'm up and at it and usually end up completing the whole thing because I didn't go into it feeling the pressure I HAD to finish. I'm excited to see my life changing right before my eyes.
I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to improve the quality of his/her life. Great job Stephen!
This is, literally, an essential book. The affirming feeling of accomplishing minimal goals is not to be underestimated for long-term success and there are important concepts that he touches on in this book that can be riffed on in many areas of life even beyond goal accomplishment.
Most recent customer reviews
Easy and enjoyable to read. Who would've thought the phrase "start small" was so powerful.
Look forward to starting my mini habits.