Why do New Year’s Resolutions fail? Why do diets fail? Often we start out highly motivated and take on a lot of changes at once. Then as time goes by we end up feeling overwhelmed and discouraged; We fall short and then we give up.
Changing your diet and lifestyle habits are for life. It is a marathon, not a sprint so you need strategies that keep you going on the days when your initial motivation ebbs. Taking One Tiny Step can be a powerful way to keep going when you just don’t feel like it.
The idea is that you have one tiny action that you take towards your goal every single day whether you feel healthy, sick, happy, sad, motivated or discouraged. The most important aspect of the action you choose is that it is easily achievable every day. I like to have one for exercise and one for healthy eating. For me, they are 1) do 5 minutes of exercise every day (usually walking) and 2) eat some vegetables every day.
Choose one thing to start with and make it something that you know you can absolutely do every single day. Can you commit to eating protein with your breakfast every day? Eating one fruit or vegetable every day? Doing 5 sit-ups? Only choose one thing and commit to doing it for a month, tracking your progress every day. If you can’t keep going with your goal, choose something smaller.
Get a positivity tracker (contact us here with tracker in the subject ), mark off a calendar, or get a big jar of marbles and every day that you do your tiny step transfer a marble from one jar to the other. The idea is that you create a visual record of your progress until your habit becomes second nature (usually after a month or two).
After successfully building the first habit take on a second if you want to but don’t take on more than three in total. The idea is for it to be easy and sustainable and taking on too much will lead to failure.
Why does it work? Taking one tiny step lets you accomplish your goal every day and it reinforces a feeling of success which encourages you to keep going. You will feel more confident in your ability to change your habits. It also reinforces your identity as a healthy person. On many days you will do more than your minimum. If you are cutting up one vegetable, you may as well cut up two while you are there. But the key is not to require more and to truly make that optional for yourself.
Eventually you will get so used to your tiny steps that your body will just feel better when you do them and that feeling will be its own reward and motivation to keep going.
Try it out and tell me how it goes. What tiny step did you choose?
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