2018 is the year of the Mini Habit

(Note:  This post contains affiliate links.  That means that if you buy a product through one of these links I will receive a little bit of money in return, at no extra cost to you.  However, I was not paid to advertise any of the products featured here, and all opinions are my own).

The start of the new year is a great time to turn over a new leaf and push on to bigger and better things, as a result, many people start the year off with a New Year's Resolution.  The problem is that New Year's resolutions have an abysmal success rate.  By the end of January, most people have already given up on their resolution.  We have these huge goals and start off the year with lots of motivation and hit them hard, doing things like going to the gym 2 hours a day every day.  That kind of motivation is hard to keep up though, especially if you don't see the kind of results you would like immediately.  Before long you are discouraged, skip a day, then two days, feel like a failure, and give up.

What if instead, you had a teeny tiny behavior that you had to do every day that supported your bigger overall goal, one that required you to do so little that you could do it easily every day, without fail?  Then every day you would make incremental progress toward your bigger goal, and since you were meeting your daily requirements every day you would feel like a success.  You would be encouraged rather than discouraged, and you would keep at it, right?

For a while now, I have been trying to figure out ways to create daily habits that would support my overall goals - getting fitter, writing for the blog more often, and doing research for the podcast every day.  I have tried Habit Stacking, and habits based on a cue, and habits based on a time of day, one habit at a time, multiple habits at one time, and every other derivation you can probably think of.  I always failed.  I didn't have enough motivation, or enough time, or enough energy.  Life consistently got in the way of hour-long workout sessions, and marathon research.  I tried to make myself do too much, and I just couldn't keep up - at least not with enough consistency to actually form a habit.

Then, after what seemed like ages of searching I found Mini Habits, by Stephen Guise.  The idea behind Mini Habits is that the thing you are striving to do every day is so minimal an obligation, so simple, and so easy that you could still do it on your very worst day.  That way you never fail, you stay encouraged, and keep working toward your goal.  You can always do more than what your mini habit requires, but you never HAVE to.  Even if you only do the minimum you have still succeeded, and if you exceed the minimum, well that feels even better.

So how small are mini habits?  As the author of the book likes to put it, stupid small.  Currently, the mini habits I am working on are;

  1. Preform one push-up or sit-up per day  
  2. Write 50 words per day
  3. Read the equivalent of one page in a book per day

I can complete all 3 of these in 5 minutes or less and I have every day since I started Mini Habits.  I have also exceeded my minimum in most areas on most days so far.  The thing that makes this so much easier than all of the other habit programs I have tried is that I have to do so little that I can always do it.  I don't have to get up the motivation to do one push-up, it is so easy that I just do it.  And usually, once I am down there doing the push-up, it is easy to do a couple more, and maybe a few stretches, and then why don't I turn on that yoga routine that looked pretty good - after all, I don't have to finish it since I have already met my goal for the day.  In the same vein one page usually turns into 10 or even 20, and 50 words (which is not much more than a tweet) often turns into 200 or more.  Once I start it is easy to keep going, but if I knew beforehand I HAD to sit down to write 200 words or read 20 pages I would never start, it would just take more motivation than I could generally muster on a daily basis.  I have a full-time job outside the blog and podcast, 2 kids, and a list of things that need to be done at home longer than my arm - doing more just seemed like too much, that is until the requirement became so small that it seemed easy.  Now, I may not be making leaps and bounds toward my goals, but I am making steady progress, and that feels really great.

If you are looking for a way to reach your goals in 2018 and have had trouble sticking with it in the past, I would like to encourage you to give Mini Habits a try.  The worst that can happen is that you spend a few bucks and discover it isnt for you, the best that can happen is that you finally meet your goals and live your dream.  For me, that is a risk worth taking.




3 Inexpensive Comfy Chairs for your Reading Nook

October is National Book Month and a great time of the year to start thinking about where you will curl up to read during the long winter months.  On Episode 21 of Hang Your Hat I discussed the ergonomics of reading chairs and what to look for when picking the perfect chair for your reading nook.  Today I am sharing 3 comfy, pretty, and inexpensive reading chairs that might just be the chair you need.

WM chair.jpg

Fuchsia Nina Chair from World Market

At $329.99 this is the most expensive of the 3 chairs, but it is also the prettiest.  The velvet upholstery and turned legs with casters give it a traditional look, but the Fuchsia color makes it modern.  I have sat in this chair at my local World Market and I found it firm but comfortable, and very luxurious feeling.  I do have some concerns about the chair's durability, however - those castors look pretty delicate.

Amazon Chair.jpg

Clarice Tall Wing Backed Chair sold by Great Deal Furniture on Amazon

The Clarice chair is the cheapest of our 3 chairs at only $199.99 with free shipping.  It also comes in multiple color combinations (some of which are even cheaper) to fit several home decor color schemes.  The overall appearance of the Clarice chair is quite traditional, but the style lines of the wing back armrest combo keep the chair from looking too old school.  I will admit I am a little suspect of a chair that costs so little, but it has 4.5 stars on Amazon with over 100 reviews, and the written reviews are pretty positive, so I think it is worth considering, especially if your budget is pretty tight.  


The Strandmon Winged Chair from Ikea

The Strandmon winged chair is the chair on the list that I plan to make a part of my own reading nook.  At $229 dollars it is very reasonably priced, comes in lots of colors, has pretty good reviews, and a 10-year warranty.  I have also sat in this chair at Ikea and I found it very comfortable.  This chair is a little on the small size.  I am 5'4" and I felt like it was made to fit me, however, my husband, who is 6'4", thought it was reasonably comfortable as well.


If you have a favorite reading chair you would like to share, please let me know about it in the comments!

Great Books to Curl Up with this Fall

On Episode 21 of  Hang Your Hat I discussed some of the science behind creating a reading nook that will perfectly suit you, the reader, as well as some unscientific accessories that will serious seriously amp up the cosy factor.  You should totally check it out.

But no reading nook is complete without some great books.  Here are a few of my current favorites (not necessarily my all-time favorites, but the ones I am enjoying right now).


The Bobiverse Book Series

Currently, this is my favorite new book series.  I absolutely LOVE it!  Bob is a self-replicating space probe (a Von Neumann probe if you want to be technical about it), that is on a mission to explore space and save humanity.  Throughout it all, he maintains a great sense of humor and a sense of wonder.  He is the kind of space probe that I could become friends with, and I have grown attached to him and his many copies while reading the 3 books in the series that have been published so far.


The Dresden Files Series

The Dresden Files is an Urban Fantasy series featuring Harry Dresden, a wizard detective.  Jim Butcher, the author of this series is a New York Times best-selling author and it is easy to see why in this series.  He is able to seamlessly meld irreverent humor and fun with issues of life and death, love, family dysfunction, and faith.  I actually prefer the audiobook version of this series as read by James Marsters (you might remember his as Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer), to the physical book.  Marsters completely embodies the character of Dresden, which makes this series an engrossing listen.


Anansi Boys

If you have not already made yourself acquainted with the work of Neil Gaiman, you should.  It will give you a completely new perspective on the world around you, and leave you wondering what you would find if you were able to scratch the surface of reality.  Anansi Boys can be thought of as a companion book to American Gods, as it was written along the same theme.  The Anansi Boys are the sons of the trickster god Anansi, and the book explores their life, origin, and family dynamics.  


Sherlock Holmes as read by Stephen Fry

I love Sherlock Holmes.  I have multiple versions of the complete collection, and I enjoy them all, but this version read by Stephen Fry is my new favorite.  His reading draws me into the story in a way that I have never experienced before.  It is like I am there standing next to Holmes in his rooms at Baker Street watching him solve the mystery.  


The Cormoran Strike series is about a disabled vet who works as a detective, his assistant Robin, and their outrageous cases.  Don't be fooled by the author's name, Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, and while the Strike series isn's even in the same genre as Harry Potter her creativity, attention to detail and wide knowledge base still shines through like it did in Harry Potter.  In case you were thinking this is a good series to give to the kids after they finish Harry Potter, fair warning - this is NOT a kid's series.  This one is also being picked up as a TV series as well, so stay tuned.  I only hope it is as good as the books.



If you have a recommendation for a good book everyone should make time to read this fall, please let me know about it in the comments.  I am always on the hunt for new books, and I am sure other readers would appreciate the recommendation too.