“I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do something I can do.” Helen Keller

We are firm believers in the power of tiny habits – those small, daily, recurring actions that build up over time into something far greater than one single grand gesture. Routines can be difficult to work into your life, but are ultimately what push you (and the world around you) toward the better future that you want to see. 

In a world overflowing with ‘self-improvement via smart habit building’ books and TED talks, what about leveraging the power of habit for activism? How can you tackle a social issue just as you would a personal goal like weight loss or skill-building? 

Here are our 3 steps to becoming an activist of habit (a champion of tiny change? a micro-world changer? You get the idea):

STEP ONE:  Find your why

Find your ‘what’ and your ‘why’. As with any grand vision, identifying the heart of a goal is what will make your project or personal movement something meaningful and worth sticking to. Do it.

STEP TWO: Break it down to the hour

Uncover your how by breaking your vision into the tiniest pieces possible. We call these little moments of activism Tiny Actions. They are the antidote to “I don’t have time” or “I’m not that kind of person who ____ (goes to marches, jumps on anti-whaling boats in the Arctic, etc).”

It’s not about the grand gestures. Rather, how can you break down a global issue into actionable pieces that you (and your family and friends) can take on every day? 

Here are some big problems with immediate next steps to get your brain thinking:

STEP THREE: Get habitual

Now that you have clarity on your Tiny Actions, turn your passion for change into a personal routine that ultimately contributes to the greater good, day-by-day and tiny-action-by-tiny-action.

  1. Write it down. Writing down your goals dramatically increases your chances for success. If you don’t write it down, it’s probably not going to happen. Easy first step!
  2.  Make it daily and make it manageable. While you might actually be trying to change the world, you may burn out if you attempt to do it all at once. Start small—smaller than you think you need to help you adopt the habit. Then build your actions from there.
  3. Find an accountability partner. Whether it’s a friend with the same fire in their belly or a handy habit building coaching app on your smartphone(like Coach.me or Habitica), leverage the relationships and technology you need to get things done.
  4. Get savvy with your reminder system. You are training your brain and need to give it nudges to grow in the ways that you want it to. Invest in the coolest, most obnoxious Post-It notes you can find or pair your desired new habit with something you already do habitually already to make things stickier.
  5. Embrace imperfection. New habits don’t lock in overnight. Give yourself room to forget, make mistakes or slack a bit and then get right back to it.

Tiny actions create the sparks that have changed history. Embrace the power you hold even in the smallest of gestures, these gesture are what will help re-shape our culture and build new narratives that challenge the status quo. Baby steps all the way.