“The journey of thousand miles begins with one step” ~ Lao Tsu
For many, changing any part of their lives too drastically makes them feel really uneasy. The massive overhauls can be hard to stick to. Instead of giant leaps just change one small thing at a time and then, after you have integrated that small step and you are ready, change another small thing. This will compound over time to make a huge difference.
You did not get where you are today by taking one giant leap.
Think about where you are in your career or life. You did not get there with one swift jump. You probably held other jobs that built you up for the job you have now. You underwent an interview and once you finally landed the job you had to start the learning process, eventually moved up in the company to get to where you are today. And you are probably not done growing. The point is it took many small steps to get you to where you are in your career or anything in life no matter what area you are looking at, why should your health be any different?
When it comes to health and fitness. The small step principle can be one of the most painless ways to go about creating life long change. For instance, start with trading out your soda for water and if that is too big a jump trade out half of the soda you drink for water. Or start adding some veggies with one meal a day. There are a lot of small changes you could choose from.
Biting off more than you can chew could sabotage your progress.
How many people have you seen decide they are going to start a health and fitness routine, then suddenly they are putting in an hour or more at the gym 7 days a week and nearly starving themselves? How long do they usually last with this intense new program? Usually not long and then they are right back where they started or worse, claiming that it did not work. If they would break it all down into manageable small steps they would get the results they desire without going insane.
Don't get me wrong, big changes are fine, if you really feel like you can keep them up. Or if you have some serious health condition that requires you to make a huge change right away or there will be big repercussions. If you are not one of the people who have a medical condition forcing you to make drastic changes, then start with small steps so that you can integrate each one and make it a part of your life instead of a crazy fad diet. You could start with one serving of vegetables a day for a few weeks a month or more, then you can add a second and third serving of vegetables. So that eventually you would be eating a serving with each meal. Once the vegetables in each meal is fully integrated and you feel like it is easy you can then move on to another step. For your next step you could start adding lean protein to one meal a day. Or maybe you start to reduce the cheese and butter in your meals. The point is if you just start with one small thing and then add to it, eventually you have fully changed your health and it seemed easy to get there.
Give yourself time to adapt.
Notice that I said you could stay on each new step for a week, a month or more. There is no limit to how long you may decide to take with each new step. For some, a week may be plenty of time, for others it may be a few months to really integrate your new step before you move on to the next. The point here is to have it set comfortably in your life before you move on to another step. The reason we do this is so that it does not compound to the big crazy change that makes us throw our hands up in the air and quit. Make sure you feel comfortable with one change and then move on to the next. I would also suggest you choose steps that will be easier to integrate when you start. If you love coffee and depend on it to wake up in the morning, then getting rid of it would be a really difficult step. That alone may make you choose to not start getting healthier. Give that up last, if you even decide to give it up. You may make so many other parts of your eating so healthy that you keep the coffee. Let’s take the torture out of your healthy lifestyle. It is time to enjoy it and make it easy.
Some small steps we can take in our daily lives:
- Add vegetables to your meals
- Add protein to your meals
- Take a 10 minute walk
- Plan one of your meals to be a healthy meal
- Cut down your soda consumption
- Reduce the cream and sugar in your coffee
- Walk during lunch time
- Trade out your breakfast pastries for a healthy breakfast sandwich
- Eat breakfast in the morning
- Add more water to your day
- Stretch every day after work
The list goes on. There is no wrong step to start with. Everyone will have different challenges and things that need to change. What are some small things you can change starting now?