I did a post at the beginning of last year where I shared an article that talked about why people who have small, attainable goals are MUCH more likely to succeed in attaining them. The writer of the article I shared called it “shrinking the change” and I happen to refer to it as taking baby steps. Either way we are saying the same thing. Break your goal or the healthy habit change into the smallest step and begin there.
Changing habits is not easy. Even breaking it down to the smallest baby step you can may still not be enough to create a new normal for you. I have found that besides making it a truly small baby step, it helps to piggyback it onto something you already do every day.
So as an example, if your goal is to increase how much water you drink each day, start off just having 8-16 oz. in the morning while you wait for your coffee to brew or your tea to steep. Once that becomes a “habit” then begin to have 8-16 oz. while you prepare lunch. It helps to have a sipper filled and ready to go too!
This way you are performing this new action (drinking water) at the same time daily and attaching it to something you already do (brewing coffee, making lunch) so the chances of cementing it as a daily habit are greater. Stick with each baby step for at least 2 or 3 weeks before adding the next. It takes longer to do it that way but it is more effective.
If you are like me and love keeping lists (actually I enjoy crossing things off once I complete them!) this may be helpful to you. If you keep a daily food log, note the new habit there. For instance if you list your meals just put the word water before you list breakfast. Then once you drink your water put a Y for yes (or an N for no if you didn’t). This way you can see your progress and keep track over a period of time. You also then know when it’s time to add the next baby step in.
Having someone hold you accountable is very helpful in cementing new behaviors. This is one of the most important tasks I have as a health coach. Once we choose the desired changes, having me support you and hold you accountable for being consistent can make all the difference. When you have to report to someone else, you tend to stay the course more than if you are just doing it on your own.
How do you create new habits in your routine?
Make gradual changes. Boost health, vitality and energy. Become your best YOU.
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