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Little Changes, Big Results

Posted on August 23, 2017


When it comes to lifestyle change, it’s common to want to take an extreme approach and have an all or nothing mentality. No matter what kind of big feat you hope to accomplish in life, any drastic change from your daily norm can be overwhelming and at times scary, so of course it seems better to rip the band aid off and cut to the chase, right? Well, maybe not so much.

 

A complete lifestyle overhaul can be a great way to kickstart forming new habits, but if you want lasting change and are transitioning from a state of low motivation to high motivation and excitement, you may want to consider slowing your roll and making sure you’re being realistic and seeing the full scope of how your changes will affect your life.

 

 

Whether your goal is to lower your cholesterol or feel and look better, it’s best to have a plan and know exactly what you want in the long term. Getting in the right frame of mind, being prepared for things to take longer than you may expect, and finding ways to enjoy the process of change rather than having a fixed mindset of how things “should be” will be hugely important in staying the course even when challenges arise.

 

 

When setting goals and forming habits, it’s important to have both outcome goals (I want to be able to run an 8 minute mile by October 1st) and behavior goals (I will commit to running X number of miles at a pace of X from now until October 1st). Doing so will provide a plan. When there is a plan, there is less likely of a chance that you will deviate because the small steps are far less daunting than the end result. Can you imagine stepping to the start line for a marathon you committed to running 3 months ago but didn’t follow the plan and work up to the necessary mileage over time? That marathon would be uncomfortable, to say the least.

 

 

If you want to successfully accomplish a goal, do yourself a favor and take the time to put it down in writing. The goal(s) should:

 

  • Be specific and measurable
  • Have a specific timeline
  • Be realistic
  • Have significance

 

 

Now that you have your goals written down, list them in order of priority.

 

  1. Focus on one or two habits per month, whatever you think will have the biggest impact on your life and make it your primary focus.
  2. Write down your plan- specifically state what your goal will be each day, when you’ll do it, what your limiting factor(s) will be, and who you will report to.
  3. Post your goal publicly or tell as many people as possible that you are trying to form a new habit. If that sounds completely awful, try an online forum or email it to coworkers, friends, and family.
  4. Report on your progress daily whether it’s privately written in a journal, or you’re telling the same group of people- note or say whether or not you succeeded at that goal.

 

 

If you’re having trouble thinking of ideas, here are a few to consider, remember: start small!

 

  1. Going to the gym one day more than you do currently
  2. Trying a new exercise
  3. Going on a walk where you might spend an hour watching TV
  4. Incorporating a new vegetable in your diet you’ve never tried
  5. Replacing one meal a week where you would eat out with one cooked at home

 

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