Goals are set quickly – and are often thrown overboard again just as quickly. The best example? The notorious New Year’s resolutions. “They often don’t last longer than January 10th – if at all,” said Behavior Change Specialist, online personal trainer and Tiny Habits Certified Coach Kerstin Goldstein in the persistence blog podcast .
So what are the key factors when it comes to goals? What role do habits play, what are “tiny habits” actually and how can they help you to finally do more sport?
“I think we’re just taking on too much. So we set our goals too big without thinking a little more about the steps to get there, ”said Kerstin, perhaps addressing a point that might seem familiar to one or the other. Because it is not uncommon for people to set themselves a big goal, start working on it with enthusiasm, only to throw in the towel in the end.
“The journey is the goal,” is a saying that you may have heard before. The way? Habits. “First of all, you need the right goal and then I have to develop a plan and think about how I can get there in small bites. Most people think of this big goal, but then just don’t think about the ideal steps. Normally, the steps to get there are planned too big, if anything is planned at all, ”says Kerstin.
The focus is therefore on the power of habit, more precisely “tiny habits”, which can enable goals to be achieved. And even if we often subconsciously act according to habit every day, it is not at all easy to acquire a new habit. But “tiny habits” can make it easier to persevere and stick with it.
“Because the important thing is not that I start, but rather, the important thing is that I stick with it,” explained Kerstin Goldstein in the podcast.
All of this sounds easier said than done, doesn’t it? Because if the everyday life of professional athletes, for example, is strictly based on their training plan, it is often extremely difficult for amateur athletes to somehow accommodate the training between job, family and other obligations in everyday life. If goals are then too big and difficult or impossible to implement in everyday life without it becoming an ultimate test, it is actually no great wonder that one discards them.
“These people then simply need very small, pre-defined successful steps that they can take ‘no matter what’. And so they can stick with it because they always know: ‘Okay, this minimal goal that I want to do today, I can definitely do it. No matter what happens’.”
Sounds plausible. But to turn these mini-goals into a habit, a “tiny habit”, you need a little more.
The quintessence for developing a “tiny habit” and achieving goals is actually obvious: motivation . “If I have no motivation to change something or do something, then we can forget about it right away,” said Kerstin. However, it is important that the motivation comes from you – and not from outside, for example from your partner. The former professional athlete Sven Knipphals said a suitable sentence: “You are not training for your trainer, your parents or your opponents. You train because you want to achieve something. You have to do it for yourself, that is the decisive factor. ”If the motivation does not come from you or if you do the sport, not because you want to do it, but because someone else“ pulls you along ”, then you will probably throw in the towel at some point .
But motivation from outside cannot be denied from the outset. Kerstin explained: “Of course, external motivation can help me to change something. For example, if I have heart problems and my doctor tells me, ‘Man, you have to do something.’ Then this external motivation will surely help me to get past the first steps. “
Habits can help you finally get more exercise. How you can use “tiny habits” to get fit and stay tuned.
Point number two is the ability , meaning that you have the opportunity to do something, like doing your sport.
At the same time, this point alludes to the knowledge you need. “That means,” explained Kerstin, “if I’m an absolute beginner but would like to run a half marathon in December 2021, then I don’t start with ten kilometers right on day one. But first I have to acquire the knowledge: How do I actually approach the matter? That means I need the knowledge […] to be able to do anything at all. “
In addition to motivation and ability, a trigger is the last of the three means to establish a “tiny habit”. A trigger “is a trigger”. For example, a specific time of day or “anything that instructs you to do something automatically afterwards”. Important: “It has to be a trigger that keeps coming back. It has to be something that you actually always do. “
In this context, Kerstin also gave an example that you can try yourself if you want: When you come home from work and put your work bag down every day, you use this moment as a trigger and then do something else. Something that you want to establish as a habit. “For example: After I have come home and put my bag down, the first thing I do is put on my running clothes and my running shoes.” Whether or not you actually go running is “not important at first,” explained Kerstin.
In the “tiny habit” this is called a “starter step”, she explained. “So a starting step in order to get into a new habit at all.” This is how you got yourself into the “first step of the new habit so that it can eventually become a regularity.”
In “Tiny Habit” coaching, a so-called “Tiny Habit” recipe is developed to establish habits, said Kerstin. “This anchor moment (ie the trigger, editor’s note) is the first part of the recipe. In English we say ‘After I … “, that is,’ After I … ‘, whatever, I will immediately do some’ Tiny Behavior ‘”, Kerstin continues.
The third step of the recipe is the “Instant Celebration”. “I want to create a feeling of happiness in my body, that is, celebrate in a small way that I did the ‘Tiny Behavior’.” And that doesn’t have to be anything big. The clench of your fist can already correspond to such an “instant celebration”. “Anything that signals to the body: ‘You did well.’ And then the body wants that again and again. That’s the trick behind it. “
What do you think of “tiny habits”? Have you tried this before? Please write me your experiences in the comments. I look forward to it!