The Expanded Habit concept is simple. You first determine what goal, dream or identity you want to take on in your life. Then you commit yourself to developing a simple foundational habit over the next 30 days that you can then expand upon and refine in 30 day increments until you are living out the goal, dream or identity you chose.
It is not rocket science, but it does require that you cultivate and develop your inner resources. Let me explain.
Decide what your long term dream, goal or identity is for the next year. Break that goal down to a step or habit that you know you can do EVERY SINGLE DAY for the next 30 days without missing a single day. This is what we call the “Base Minimum Habit”. It should be easy enough that you will absolutely not miss a single day out of the next 30 days.
If you are trying to become healthy, then the “Base Minimum Habit” could be walking for 10 minutes a day, or eating an apple every single day, or eating a salad every day or doing some form of physical activity every day. It must be something that you KNOW you can do EVERY DAY for the next 30 days.
You make an agreement with yourself that you can reasonably commit to. You agree that for 30 days you will do the “Base Minimum Habit” every single day so that you can move closer to and experience progress towards your life dreams.
As part of this agreement, you must to the MINIMUM amount or task that you agreed to, but there is another important caveat to this plan. You also must be careful to not go ABOVE the minimum that you set as your daily goal. This is a crucial part of the process of building habits, but it will require patience and discipline to hold yourself back on certain days where you are feeling extra motivation.
This “extra motivation” can actually inhibit your long term success. This is because when you start taking on too much before you have built a foundation, you often lead yourself into burnout and end up quitting your dream journey all together.
This “extra motivation” often comes at the cost of using up all of your extra energy that you will need to complete your FULL set of 30 days. You are committing to doing a full 30 days and so you must make sure that you respect your reserve energy and time resources and allow it to remain intact for when you need it in the future.
The goal is not to rush the process and speed by which you accomplish your dream but instead to simply and build life long habits that will eventually snowball into great success.
Above the “Base Minimum Habit” is what I call the “Danger Zone”. During your 30 day habit, you may feel like you are ready for more challenge and suddenly go from walking 10 minutes per day into running for a couple miles. However, this often leads to over exertion and rushing of a process that requires patience to develop.
Often times the end result of over exertion is quitting. It actually makes perfect sense that it happens like this because really if you take on too much too soon, before you are ready, you overwhelm your limited capacity. You need to first build up your foundational capacity before you can ask more out of your daily practice.
You must do the “Base Minimum Habit”, but you also must stay under the maximum you set. You are trying to cultivate habits that you will have for the rest of your life, there is no rush!
Once you complete the first 30 days of performing your habit every day, you begin your first expansion of that habit. You can do things like increase a 10 minute walk to 20 minutes per day, you could increase the number of pages you are reading per day from 15 pages to 20 pages, you could try learning a new coding skill and focus on that for 30 days, add another putting drill to your practice routine, focus on a new yoga pose, learn a new karate move, you get the idea, but the point is to add to your foundational habit gradually so that overtime the results “Snowball”.
You must do this NEW quantity/task for the next 30 days and this becomes your new “Base Minimum Habit”. If you do have days that you overextend yourself and cannot make the time, at least make sure you do the old “Base Minimum Habit” so that you keep the momentum of your habits in place. You are still in the habit forming stage and it is more important to have a reduced repetition rather than no repetition.
Together, we can do this my friends, believe.