Mini habits

I’m reading Dan Guise’s book about mini habits, and the idea if you’re not familiar is to set exceedingly small goals (like doing one push-up) to start a new habit. I have success with it for implementing positive behaviors like weight lifting, but having difficulty coming up with a mini habit for stopping a behavior. For example, I want to stop eating my kids’ unfinished food. How would I turn that into a mini habit?


  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,611 Member
    I get the desire not not waste food :)

    My appetite is predictable enough that I never over serve myself, but children's appetites are less predictable, yes? Can you serve them less so that if they want more, they can take more? Or serve yourself less, and if there are no leftovers from them get more for yourself?

    If I have less than full servings of meat or veggies leftover, I will save them to mix with eggs. However, the logical thing to do with a bite of a PB&J sandwich does seem to be to pop it into your mouth, doesn't it?

    My Mom gardens and has a food composter, as do I when I have a bigger yard, so, next place. After years of composting it really bothers me to throw out food scraps. I even accumulate my used tea bags and bring them to her composter when I go there on the weekend. The struggle is real!
  • seska422
    seska422 Posts: 3,218 Member
    92019start wrote: »
    having difficulty coming up with a mini habit for stopping a behavior. For example, I want to stop eating my kids’ unfinished food. How would I turn that into a mini habit?
    Habits are things that you do. Habits are countable. You can do something X times so that it eventually becomes ingrained. Not doing something isn't countable in the same way.

    Something that might help is to create a habit of logging before anything goes into your mouth. That's really helped me take the time to consider whether or not I really want to consume something and, if so, how many calories I want to spend on it.
  • Diatonic12
    Diatonic12 Posts: 32,344 Member
    I like jerking the rug right out from underneath old habits. Mini habits wouldn't work for an alcoholic or someone who wants to quit smoking. If you don't want to throw away their food, place into ziplock bags immediately. We can learn to moderate ourselves but the brain has neural pathways that it likes to follow for the rest of our lives. We have to create new patterns and pathways of thinking by taking an immediate detour.
  • 92019start
    92019start Posts: 80 Member
    I like all these ideas and thoughts. It helped me generate one more…put one piece of food in a glass storage container for later. Of course, hopefully I’ll see that pitiful little bite by itself and try to save more.
    I also thought of leaving kitchen cleanup for a minute after a break of doing something else.
  • kew1952
    kew1952 Posts: 53 Member
    Maybe set a mini goal to not do it for one meal per day or not finish each child's leftovers.
  • laur357
    laur357 Posts: 896 Member
    How old are your kids? Maybe make part of the mealtime routine include the kids clearing the table. Can they be responsible for packing or tossing their leftovers and putting their own dishes in the dishwasher or the sink?

    Alternately, your habit could be to pack the food in containers as soon as you make it. Then serve the kids smaller portions (they can have seconds if needed) from the storage containers and put them away immediately before you all sit down to eat.
  • nowine4me
    nowine4me Posts: 3,986 Member
    Make a new habit to have the kids toss their leftovers directly in the garbage - no matter how much is left.
  • pinaycoco
    pinaycoco Posts: 63 Member
    Hello! My bad habit was mindlessly eating in the evenings, after dinner, while watching Netflix (I don't have a TV but became a serious Netflix binge watcher). So when I realised I could only change old habits by creating new ones, I cancelled my Netflix subscription, started going to the gym after work and - and this is the best part - adopted a pet hamster to cuddle with before going to bed. 😊
  • Lounmoun
    Lounmoun Posts: 8,427 Member
    Maybe the new habit could be giving your kids smaller servings that they can finish or making less food if this is something that happens regularly.
    Or pop some gum in your mouth before clearing plates so you are less likely to put food in your mouth.
    Or admit that it will be eaten by you and save enough calories and log it.
  • h1udd
    h1udd Posts: 625 Member
    get your kids to throw away the food ... genius .. why have I not thought of this before ... great idea, thanks everyone. I dont know why this hasnt occurred to me before, only this weekend my wife and kid left cake .... the cake had my name all over it (metaphorically, it wasnt my birthday), but before I could clear up, my wife cleared the plates into the compost .. I was livid at first .. then realized she had unknowingly saved me 200kcal .. then I was excited and p1ssed at the same time :dizzy:

    yet it never occured to me to get people to throw the food away before I could eat it
  • stephaniek511
    stephaniek511 Posts: 86 Member
    My work involves delivering quite a bit of training. One of the things we talk about when it comes to goals and habits is making sure we word them correctly, which often means reinforcing the behavior you want instead of the one you don't want. For example, rather than the goal being "I won't eat my children's leftovers" it is worded positively into something like "I will scrape the extra food into the trash before putting plates in the dishwasher." Not sure if that's helpful but I'm amazed at how many goals I word negatively for's kinda hard to word the behavior I want to create without using the word "won't"!