Ok, so change is hard, or it can be for some. Others say “Oh, I love change.” But what they really mean is they love “good” changes. So how do you make changes to improve your health but not give up everything you love in your life?
What if your goal is too big? Try breaking it down into small (maybe even tiny) steps. For example, if you want to exercise more, start with two push-ups, not fifty. Or if you want to floss your teeth, start with one tooth. Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? That’s actually what it takes to make lasting changes.
Make it a Habit
Often people feel overwhelmed with change. How do you fit yet one more thing into your already over packed schedule? Find an anchor. That means, anchor the new behavior to an already existing habit.
Shaw Achor is one of my favorite authors. He wrote the Happiness Advantage. I love what he did to watch less TV, read more and play the guitar more. He put his guitar on the sofa along with some books. Then he took the TV remote, removed the batteries and put them in a drawer in another room. He made it 30 seconds harder to watch TV and 30 seconds easier to read books and play guitar. Can you think of ways that you can make a new behavior 30 seconds easier?
Some Habit Forming Examples
What actions do you do regularly that you can attach a new behavior to?
Most people pee an average of 7 times a day. What new habit could you attach to that activity? Could you do lunges on your way back to your desk from the bathroom? Sure you might look silly, but you’d be working out. And who knows, you might even start a new trend at the office.
Listen to books or language CDs while driving. Connecting it to an existing behavior will make the change last.
If you want to walk more, put on a headset during a conference call and do laps around your office.
Want to eat healthier? Plan just 1 meal per week that you cook.
The big thing to remember is, if it hurts, you’re doing too much. The new behavior needs to be not a big deal.
Ok, to summarize, take your big goal, break down into action items, and then connect those action items to an existing behavior. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
The Next Step
Ok, here’s the next part of the plan:
Acknowledge your accomplishments.
Celebrate in the moment. Say you do your 2 push ups then take a moment and look in the mirror and tell yourself well done! Your brain doesn’t know the difference between a big celebration and a small celebration. Remember to acknowledge your successes.
Look in the mirror and give yourself a 2 thumbs up or a big smile while saying “nicely done!”
It seems like such a simple thing yet how often do you celebrate even the tiny successes in your life? The funny thing about our brain is, it can’t distinguish between celebration over something HUGE VS something TINY. By celebrating the small stuff, you leverage that into bigger successes.
It’s a snowball effect. The more small changes you are successful with, the more you increase your confidence and pave the way to reach bigger goals.
That is SO AWESOME!
Intention is in everything. It’s important to set your intentions daily and remind yourself of them every day. Here are some examples of daily intention:
Every day and every way, I find ways to be more grateful.
Every day and every way, I find ways to be more outstanding.
I’m happy and healthy.
It’s my intention to …
Live my life with purpose and love
Respect myself and others more often
Create loving relationships
Express my gifts and talents
Feel successful and abundant
Take a minute right now to list five reasons for getting healthy. Look at how your health may influence your spouse, children, or friends.This list is your why. Everyone needs a why. Your why is the reason for doing what you’re doing.
Next, look at this list and use it to create one or two simple intentions that you can repeat aloud every day. Put your intentions on a note card and place it where you’ll see it several times a day, such as on a bathroom mirror or a nightstand.