Could Tiny Habits Heal Your Posture?

Tiny habits every day like how you stand and sit can improve your posture and overall well-being.

Article At A Glance

Changing lifelong habits is not easy. This applies to everything from how we keep house to how we sit or stand. The Tiny Habits® method is a systematic approach to developing new, healthier habits. 

No, my fridge was never quite this messy, and I’ve never cleaned a fridge in heels.

Breaking news: my fridge is clean and has been since early January.

This may not sound like much, but bear with me.

All my adult life, I have kept a messy fridge. I didn’t mean to, of course. No one does. But I was busy. There was always something better to do than clean the fridge. And I like food, so I would fill my fridge with good things to eat, which made it harder to keep clean.

Inevitably, I’d find a slimy lettuce or a liquifying cucumber at the bottom of the produce drawer. This would be followed by a stab of guilt over wasting food and a strong urge to shut the fridge door and do something else. Days later, I’d still be harboring the liquid cuke.

I’d launch myself into a fridge-cleaning frenzy when I couldn’t stand it anymore. Hours later, the fridge would be pristine. Then, the whole cycle, complete with rotting vegetables, would repeat.

Time after time, it reinforced my conviction that I was always going to have a messy fridge and, worse, that somehow, deep down, I was a messy fridge person. In fact, I just didn’t have a fridge-cleaning habit.

Now I do, thanks to Stanford behavioral researcher B. J. Fogg and his Tiny Habits® method. (1). I’d highly recommend buying B.J. Fogg’s book, Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything. But there’s plenty of information on Fogg’s website. And this NPR interview does an excellent job of providing an overview.

Tiny habits like keeping your fridge clean can be liberating.

(No, my fridge was never quite this messy, and I’ve never cleaned a fridge in heels.)

How Tiny Habits Rescued My Fridge—and Can Rescue Your Spine

Why bring up this tale of domestic drama on a website devoted to Original Alignment? Because more than anything else, learning Original Alignment is a massive exercise in habit change.

And as someone who has just changed a 55-year-old fridge maintenance habit, I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to spend your life alternating between trying to stand up straight and slumping. And you’re not in any way a lousy-posture person. You just don’t have a habit of living in a balanced posture.

It’s true that most of us begin Original Alignment with a road-to-Damascus moment. The scales fall from our eyes, the magnificent truth floods our understanding and we embrace it: healthy posture is beautiful, comfortable, and our birthright as human beings.

All we need to do is learn what simple habits keep us in balance with gravity and then adopt those habits all day, every day. But simple isn’t the same as easy. If habit change were easy, none of us would smoke or drink to excess. We would all eat well and get lots of exercise. And we would all live in clean, clutter-free houses and get our taxes in early. We don’t.

Changing Our Unconscious Posture Habits

Posture habits, being largely unconscious, come with an extra layer of difficulty.

Learning where it’s best to put your weight when you sit—forward of the sitting bones—doesn’t mean that you’ll remember to adjust your pelvis every time you sit down. Trying to change every posture habit you have while sitting, standing, walking, or bending is an overwhelming task. It can feel like you’ve hired yourself to be a particularly demanding boss.

That’s where Tiny Habits® comes in. In brief, a Tiny Habit has three parts. (1)

3 Steps to Practicing Tiny Habits

Tiny habits done daily can make a big difference.

  1. The Anchor that Triggers Action

    An ideal anchor is something you do regularly because you want to. I press start on the milk frother every morning because I love matcha lattes, and the milk frother produces perfect ones. I am always going to push that button every morning.

  2. The New Habit

    My habit is to open the fridge door and look inside for something to tidy. That’s it. I don’t have to tidy anything. I just have to open the door and look inside.

  3. A Celebration

    This may be where Fogg departs most radically from other habit theorists. He believes that what sets a habit into place is the rush of dopamine we get when we feel successful. Fogg calls this emotion “shine.” Helping yourself to feel shine is an essential part of habit change. It may also be the most difficult part of the method, especially if your habit is to scold yourself or if celebrating an act as small as the typical Tiny Habit makes you feel silly.

Tiny Habits: Either Expand or Proliferate

Habits like Fogg’s “After I pee, I will do two push-ups” can expand until they become 20 push-ups or more.

Habits like opening the fridge door grow differently: they proliferate. Our current fridge is stainless steel, so it smudges. Now, I take 10 seconds to wipe it down with a microfibre cloth. And while I have the cloth out, what about the stove?

You can see where this is going. I’ve now ceased to be a messy fridge person, and I’m becoming the kind of person who tidies up.

A Tiny Habit Practice for Healthy Sitting Posture

How could you adapt Tiny Habits for Original Alignment? Here’s a recipe I would suggest. There are, of course, many more.

Anchor: After I sit down in a chair.

Habit: I will make a quick adjustment so my weight is forward of my sitting bones, and then relax.

Celebration: Whatever works for you. What works best for me is thinking of the word “home.” Not “home,” as in a home run, but home, as in the happy feeling of being at home in my body.

And that’s it. There’s much more to balanced sitting, of course. But if you form the habit of sitting forward of your sitting bones, you will set off a chain reaction that will gradually release tension throughout your body and make it possible to come into balance.

Reprinted with permission from Eve Johnson/Spinefulness
Eve Johnson, writer, yoga teacher

Eve Johnson taught Iyengar Yoga for 18 years before being introduced to Spinefulness in 2016. Convinced by the logic, clarity, and effectiveness of Spinefulness alignment, she took the teacher training course and was certified in July 2018. Eve teaches Spineful Yoga over Zoom and offers an online Spinefulness Foundations course. For course information, go to

Resources and Acknowledgements (1) Tiny Habits®

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