We’ve all heard the saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Making a major change in your life can seem overwhelming but if you take it one step at a time the journey doesn’t seem so long. Making small changes daily may seem trivial in that instant, but over time as you add up those small changes they can compound to a monumentally different you. It’s easy to look at a mountain and say it’s too high to climb, but if you just look at the steps in front of you and do what you can, a little at a time, eventually you’ll be at the top. Here’s some pointers I’ve found helpful when trying to make a lasting change.
- Write out a long term plan with short term deadlines. My dad used to always say “Failure to plan is a plan to fail”. Writing out your goals gives you a plan to follow. When it’s in your head it’s easy to forget, but writing it out makes it tangible and gives you an action of taking the first step in making a commitment to yourself. Countless studies support the importance of writing out your goals. Awhile back, in the news there was a study that concluded that if people wrote out a list of goals for the year and put it in a visible place where they would see daily then they were three times more likely to reach their goals. I did that and wrote out a list of five things I wanted to change in a year and before the month’s end I was able to cross off two items. You can take it a step further and make a bucket list and tuck that one away. My husband and I made one together and it’s fun to pull it out every once in a blue moon to cross things off and read through the future adventures that are waiting for us.
- Take it easy; slow and steady wins the race. Add one small change to your day each month. They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit so let your little changes become habits before adding in a new one. If you try to do too much at once you may get overwhelmed and give up all together –hence the “baby steps”.
- Don’t discount the small stuff. I’ve had so many people give me slack before when I say I’m just going to go the gym for 20 minutes. I have gotten responses like “Twenty minutes? Why even bother going at all?!” First of all, something is certainly better than nothing; and second of all, a lot of times a step in the right direction will cause a positive reaction that will make you want to go further than you intended. There have been many times when I said I was just going to go to the gym for little bit but as I got there and was working out I felt better about myself and ended up staying much longer.
- Try multitasking the change into your day. Adding a new change isn’t so drastic if you combine it into your existing daily routine. I have a friend who does her squats and lunges every day while she brushes her teeth every morning and night (I really need to start doing that one). Not too long ago I started taking some time aside to read my Bible on my lunch break. I also found a lot of the downloadable Google books have a read aloud setting so you can listen to them on the way to work or while at the gym. I actually wrote most of this blog during my son’s bath time (he likes to play in there for a long time).
- Ask a friend to become your accountability partner to make you accountable and to help support you. Share your list of goals with them and give them a time frame, whether daily or weekly, that you want them to check in with you. This is the whole purpose of public weigh-ins at weight loss meetings. When you have to answer to someone other than yourself you’re more likely to thwart off making excuses and procrastinating.
- Don’t get discouraged and give up. Some progress is better than no progress. If you slip out of the new routine you can always start over. Every day is the chance to a fresh start. You don’t have to keep repeating the same mistakes.
I encourage you to start right now! Think about how you want your life to change and what needs to happen in order to enact those changes. Take these steps and commit to the process. Procrastination is the enemy of success. The sooner you start the sooner you’ll achieve a better you.