May 12, 2015
I did 20,720 push-ups in 2014 and wrote over 47,000 words for a book by practicing mini-habits and keeping track of them in a simple iPhone app.
I did 20,720 push-ups in 2014.
I definitely didn't set out to do that many. My mind would never allow me to think I could do that, when looked at as such a big chunk.
The idea is to do 50 a day, every day, and take it one day at a time. That's the only way I could have done more than 20,000 push-ups, and “do a little but do it consistently" is the main idea behind a mini-habit, which is a powerful way to get things done. It's the difference between having a goal (I did not have an overall goal of 20,000 push-ups) and a system (I will do 50 a day). Systems are more effective. For more on that, see this James Clear article: Forget About Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead.
I'm on my 501st consecutive day of hitting ~50 push-ups. Sometimes I do many more, and some days I do less (I was sick last week but was able to do 25 on my weakest day). The point is: I still did some every day.
It didn't matter if I was sick, had little energy, had a pinched nerve, or if did them early in the morning or waited until five minutes before midnight - I still could find a way to do at least a few.
I've used an app on my iPhone since 2013 called Lift (which was Recently renamedCoach.me), which helps me stay on top of small daily habits like this.
I use coach.me to track all sorts of mini-habits, all of which lead up to greater things. For example, when I decided to write an eBook about ExpressionEngine development in 2014, I added this to the app as something I knew I'd need to work on every day. I'm now nearly done with my first draft with 47,000 words written.
I've added some other mini-habits recently that are working out well, such as reading 20 pages a day (inspired by this James Clear article). I used to read at least 12 books a year. Then I started using Twitter. Then I had kids. So, being a book reader - something by which I've always defined myself - eventually took a back seat to these other things (one which is very important, and the other much less so).
If you're interested in mini-habits and want to read more about them, Mini Habits by Stephen Guise is an easy read. Like James Clear, Stephen emphasizes that system is more important than motivation. If you wait for motivation to do things, your results will be inconsistent at best.
Practicing mini-habits takes little effort, but the cumulative effects can have a huge positive impact on your life.
Good luck at improving yourself one mini-habit at a time!
Ryan spends most of his time as Mystery Supply Co. He's been floating through space with you since the 70's. King of Michigan.