We like making excuses, don’t we? We’ll rationalize every possible reason why we can’t do something, instead of focusing that energy on something that we want to accomplish. Stop making excuses, and start making changes. Try something new. I’m sure you’ve heard this proverb from Chinese Philosopher Laozi:
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
That’s deep, right? No, not really; it’s just logical. You need to make some small changes a habit if you’d like to accomplish a big goal. Want to lose 100 pounds? Move more, eat less. Want to play at Carnegie Hall? Practice. Want better posture? Sit up straight while you read this. (That works every time!) It’s reasonable to assume that most people understand the importance of making small changes, but for some reason our negativity prevents us from making a real difference in our own lives.
Let me share a quick example about my newest client, Dena. When I first met with her, she said something along the lines of, “I know it’s bad, but I skip breakfast sometimes…and when I eat it’s [fill in the blank processed carbs].” Fine, we can work with honesty! I want to make long lasting, healthy changes in peoples lives, and that’s not going to happen if I tell someone to scrap their entire way of eating and start eating more proteins and plants. Instead, I told her to eat breakfast every day for the next week, then let me know how she did.
When I saw Dena a week later, she had reached that goal of eating breakfast every day, and was proud of herself. She accomplished something. While she warmed up during that training session, I recommended eating something with a little more protein in it for breakfast; yogurt or eggs, for example. On week number 3, she met this goal too, and ate eggs 3 times and had yogurt the rest of the time. Again, she made small, ‘doable’ changes, which contribute to a healthier lifestyle. Easy!
Soon, I’ll start to talk to her about eating her meals more frequently, to crank up her metabolism and keep her body full of protein while minimizing blood sugar variation. It’s something simple, but it makes a big difference when you’re eating healthy. I just hope the ‘3 meals a day’ thing isn’t an unbreakable
When it comes to your own life, making simple changes this small can contribute to sustainable habits that benefit your health and the health of your family and friends. It could be as simple as drinking more water, getting more sleep, or not drinking a 6 pack of beer just because it’s a Tuesday. Most research agrees that 30 days is all it takes to make an action a habit, and those habits can last the rest of your life. That’s a pretty good investment, don’t you think? Try something new, improve your health, and live a more fulfilling life. Easy-peasy.
Today, I’ll leave you with a great video that TED posted on YouTube yesterday. Matt Cutts talks about the benefits of trying something new for 30 days, and mentions the positive changes that have occurred in his own life since he’s been making these small commitments. Pick something that you can do differently, and make that small change. In 30 days, you’ll be healthier.