Wen I came up with the idea of small disciplines as an alternative to self discipline, to merge the idea of building good habits in tiny increments with the conviction that change through self discipline is impossible.
Life altering change is too big, requiring too much self discipline for most people.
Incremental change, is possible. One writer, to develop the habit of flossing, flossed one tooth per day for a week, then added another, and so on.
This is one method of habit formation, but even one tooth per day requires discipline. A small discipline.
My method is not to break your new habit into tiny steps, but to break it into tiny disciplines. What is the largest change you can hold yourself to? That change is your small discipline.
Doing this I noticed something. Originally I thought that each time I have added a new micro habit I did so because the previous one was developing into a true habit.
Which it was, but there was something else; each time I added something new, I did so when I had the time to focus on it. When I had the energy to apply the new small discipline.
I only just realized the reason I had that time. When a habit is formed it no longer needs any effort (no discipline), but it also becomes more efficient, needing less time.
Dad always said, “If you want something done, ask a busy man.”
I just realized that one of the reasons a busy man can get so much done is because he is efficient. Habits make you efficient at getting things done, freeing up time for more things.
All stemming from small disciplines.