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Personal development blogger Stephen Guise offers a self-improvement program that is “too small to fail.”

Mini Habits

Mini Habits

by Stephen Guise


2.42K reads

Mini Habits: Too Small To Fail

  • Take one small step every day to initiate a lifelong positive habit.
  • People form habits over time through repeated behaviors.
  • A mini habit is the smallest possible iteration of a positive habit, like one push-up.
  • A mini habit is “...

  • Mini habits work because they deplete little of your willpower reserve.
  • On the mini-habit plan, you divide your goals into “stupid small” but effective actions.
  • The mini-habit rules are: don’t cheat, be glad when you succeed, give yourself rewards, st...

To make changes last, you need to stop fighting against your brain.

Instead, decide that you’re better off taking a step, even a small step, than staying in the same place. Taking one small step daily leads you in the right direction and sets you on your way to develop...


Mini habits are low-willpower Trojan horses that can leverage their easy access into the brains control room into big results.


Smart willpower management is key to personal development as smart money management is key to financial success.

Contrary to common belief, the average time it takes to form a habit is not 21 to 30 days. Studies show it takes anywhere from 18 to 254 days to form a habit. The average person needs 66 days.

You’ll know when a behavior becomes a habit when you experience a d...

An inverse relationship connects motivation and willpower.

  • When your motivation is high and you’re enthusiastic about something, you only need a little willpower to get going.
  • When the initial buzz wears off or you must face a task you don’t want to do, your need for willp...


You already have all the inspiration you need inside you, but it may be dormant. Awaken it with mini habits.

Studies show that human beings have only a limited supply of willpower.

The five primary causes of weakening willpower or self-control – called “ego depletion” – are:

  • effort
  • perceived difficulty
  • negative affect
  • subjective fatigue

  • Write a list of positive habits you’d like to have.
  • Break each habit down into a stupid small step, the minimum possible action, such as sorting one email or saying thank you to one person a day.
  • Try a mini habit for a week and evaluate the results.
  • Then choose...

Ask yourself why you want to instill a mini habit into your life, and delve deeply into the answer by asking the question more than once.

Make sure that your mini habits align with your values.

Habits are either “time-based” or “activity-based.” Identify which cue works for each new mini habit.

Do you want to exercise at a specific time, such as nine every morning, or give yourself more flexibility, such as before dinner? If specific cues tax your willpower,...

Many habits don’t offer immediate rewards. Sculpting your abs, for example, takes time. Give yourself mini rewards to accompany your mini habits.

For example, allow yourself a 10-minute power nap or watch a fun video as a reward for meeting your mini goal.

Writing something down grants it importance. Visually track your mini habit success to reinforce your sense of accomplishment.

Crossing your performance off on a calendar each day gives you a graphic representation of your progress. Several digital apps can help you r...

The advantage of mini habits is that repetition strengthens your willpower. Each task requires just a little willpower to complete and the frequency of repetition forms a habit over time.

Once a habit is in place, you can build on it more easily. That’s why stupid small is powerful.

While having a positive belief in your capabilities is good, setting your expectations too high can hold you back.

When you’ve exceeded your stupid small goal several days in a row, your expectations will naturally rise. You won’t be content with one push-up when you’...

Several signs will tell you that you’ve developed a positive habit:

  • You’ll feel less resistance and perform the activity without much thought.
  • The activity will become less emotional and more routine.
  • You incorporate it into your identity, such as “I’m a writer” o...

Following the rules of the mini-habits program will keep you on track and ensure success:

  1. Never, ever cheat
  2. Be happy with all progress
  3. Reward yourself often, especially after a mini habit
  4. Stay level...

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