Many of us make changes in our lives by jumping straight off the deep end. Cutting out all carbs, vowing to work out seven days a week, ‘going on the wagon’ for a month….. Making positive lifestyle changes is great, of course - but the problem with beginning at an extreme is that it’s tough to maintain over the long term. We tend to set ourselves up for failure when it’s a black or white equation; the flip side of going at a task full throttle is that when you fall, you fall hard. No carbs becomes a carb fiesta, or that seven day workout ends in injury and no workout at all, or (and we’ve all been here), going on the wagon turns into tequila shots at the bar!
The premise of taking change slowly translates into almost every area of life. Believe me, this lesson has been learned the hard way. As you may have guessed by now, I’m my own guinea pig. For years, I threw myself into flaky New Year’s resolutions, summer binge diets, and taking so many vitamins and supplements I could barely think straight. None of this was sustainable, of course, and I ended up yo-yo-ing through life, perpetually off kilter. I was yearning to be the best I could be but was going about it like a bull in a china shop.
What I learned was this: the simple secret to successful, lasting, positive, glowing change is to take it inch by inch. To put a new goal into action, start small but think big.
Try the following tips for sure and steady success in any area of your life.
One thing at a time. Make small, do-able changes. Four cups of coffee a day turns into three, then two, and maybe one. Don’t take on anything else, just focus on your goal and stick with it.
Have a goal. Keep a clear objective in mind so that you don’t lose track of where you’re headed. It can sometimes help to chart out a timeline.
Slow and steady. Sustainable change doesn’t happen overnight. Give yourself time, and as long as you’re on the right track, don’t beat yourself up for how long it’s taking.
Reward success. When you’ve achieved any small victory, give yourself a pat on the back. Then plan your next goal!
Remember, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Virtually all your goals, health and otherwise, are within your grasp if you give it time. Small, winnable steps will ultimately land you at the top.