Catholic Summary of Mini Habits by Stephen Guise

What is a mini habit?

A mini habit is a very small version of the desired habit you want to form.

  • Desired habit = Pray the Rosary daily. –> Mini habit = Say 1 Hail Mary per day.
  • Desired habit = Daily holy hour of adoration. –> Mini habit = Visit an adoration chapel for 1 minute per day. 
  • Desired habit = Read 1 book per week. –> Mini habit = Read 1 page per day. 
  • Desired habit = Attitude of gratitude. –> Mini habit = Say “thank you” 1 time per day (either to another person, in prayer to God, or in a journal). 
  • Desired habit = Pray with Scripture daily. –> Mini habit = Read the Gospel of the day and spend 1 minute thinking about it.

Tip = Once the mini habit sounds “stupid small”, you know you’re on the right track… Make it too small to fail!

The blessings of mini habits:

 

#1: You do NOT need to be motivated!

Mini habits are so small that they bypass any motivation issues (ie. your brain is not threatened by the new behaviour) – thanks be to God! We all know that motivation is an unreliable source to rely upon when trying to form a new habit. As a result, with mini habits, you can now see motivation as a bonus rather than a necessity.

Mini habits rely on willpower instead. Since they are so small, mini habits are not a drain on your willpower – mini habits are too small to skip!

Tip: If you feel strong resistance with a mini habit, back off and go smaller. You should not feel like you need to be motivated in order to perform the mini habit. 

Ask yourself: If I had zero motivation, would I still be able to do this mini habit? If you answer yes, then it’s a mini habit

 

#2: Bonus reps!

Relying upon Newton’s 1st law (objects in motion tend to stay in motion), mini habits often lead to bonus reps! Once you get over that initial hurdle of doing the 1st push-up, it’s much easier to add another 3-4 push-ups.

I’ve found this to be true when going to work out. If I am low on motivation, I set a mini habit of just doing 1 set. Once I’ve finished that 1st set, often I want to add in some bonus reps! Same story with reading a book. 

Tip:Celebrate bonus reps as blessings rather than changing your mini habit too soon. Why? If you set the bar too high and too soon, you’ll fail and probably the habit altogether. 

Ask yourself:Have I thanked God for any bonus reps today? 

 

#3: Become like St. Therese of Lisieux!

The “Little Way” of St. Therese is essentially a shortcut to the heights of holiness by sanctifying mini habits.

Rather than despair at her inability to perform “heroic habits”, St. Therese delighted in her ability to perform “mini habits” out of love for Jesus.

“In times of aridity when I am incapable of praying, of practicing virtue, I seek little opportunities (“mini habits“), mere trifles, to give pleasure to Jesus; for instance a smile, a pleasant word when inclined to be silent and to show weariness. If I find no opportunities, I at least tell Him again and again that I love Him; that is not difficult and it keeps alive the fire in my heart. Even though this fire of love might seem extinct I would still throw little straws upon the embers and I am certain it would rekindle.” — St. Therese of Lisieux, C 233

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Click here for a great list for more mini habit ideas and much more from the author of this book: https://minihabits.com/mini-habit-ideas/

 

Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this Richard. I appreciate your quick summary but especially like the connection you’ve made to St. Therese of Lisieux. Guess I will have to consider some new mini- habits.

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