Tired of Failing?
Everybody wants to have a quick path to health. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works so you may be in the wrong place if you want that. If you want true lasting health changes, they take time and you must be patient. Starting small and with one thing at a time does work. It takes time, but it will stick much better than a month of crazy motivation and back to the beginning soon after.
As a sidenote, I am not promoting being “lazy” or doing things sub optimal. Meeting people where they’re at, understanding the challenges they face, and making it as easy as possible is the best way to start. The smallest change that you will actually do can jump start progress.
This is for those of us who have a lot of trouble getting started or those of us who want to help someone move forward and meet them where they’re at.
Don’t try to do it all
When creating a health goal, simplify the process. Don’t go all out by starting to run two miles a day. This may seem productive and the right way to go at the time, but it is more likely that it will fall out of favor after a while and not stick. Instead, start very small, such as running a minute at a time.
How can we stick to our goals to create a healthy lifestyle? Simplify. I thought about this more after listening to a TED Talk The 1-minute secret to forming a new habit by Christine Carter. It makes total sense and I want to share this with everyone.
The goal is to create a new healthy habit that will stick with you in your life. It is not to quickly lose weight or make a change. The long term view is likely the most successful.
Start VERY Small
I mean the tiniest amount of effort. See where it takes you. I’m going to give you some examples and hopefully you’ll be able to apply it to your own situation.
I want to eat more greens.
Eat one leaf of spinach every day. Put one leaf in your sandwich or whatever it is. Then maybe the next week you’ll add two or maybe you’ll decide one day you’re having two handfuls in a smoothie. It all counts. If you want to eat more salads, try adding two lettuces to your meal no matter what it is. It’s so easy and there’s nothing to complain about there.
I want to work out more
Start with a minute of exercise. Yes, a minute. Go out the door and walk for a minute. (see TED talk above) Go up and down the stairs for one minute. Do a minute of movement. Any movement counts. The thing is, you will probably do more than a minute because it seems silly, but you will still feel like you accomplished your goals.
Start by adding movement to one thing you do everyday.
I want to lose weight
Always the hardest one. This may be done best by breaking it down, what’s one healthy thing you want to add that you can change now? I specify “add” because no one likes to have things taken away, not at first anyway. Examples are below:
- Add in one glass of water
- Add in one vegetable to a meal (a spinach leaf even!)
- Add in one minute of exercise
When that minute is done, for example, you think to yourself, “I could easily do two or three.”
You could use something like this sheet if you need to see the habit: Change Your Exercise Expectations
I want to meditate more
I myself have tried this one and felt overwhelmed by trying to fit in even 10 minutes of quiet (two small children?) I take one minute to take breaths and that’s all I have started with. Let’s see where it goes, but it can easily level my mood in just a minute if I need it rather than trying to fit it in a bigger time period.
These super small changes are progress forward, and that’s exactly what we need. The steps are going to lead to bigger accomplishments and they will stick much better. Sure, this may not be for everyone and you can go your own path, but for those who are struggling, this could be a way to make it work.
Fresh Idea: Choose a step forward that is so small and so accessible that you will actually do it. See what happens from there.