Habits are essentially what define us. Good habits result in positive routines, efficiency and order. Reversely, bad habits take us in the opposite direction and lock us into rigid, negative patterns of behavior.
Our happiness or lack thereof, success or lack of and even health and fitness levels are all tied into and the result of daily habits.
The stark reality is, we may know how to eat healthy, how to exercise and how to get in shape yet we find ourselves no closer to reaching our goals than we were months back. We may have the best intentions to improve ourselves but find we are still “wallowing” and practicing the same destructive habits.
It is, for the most part, hard to form new, healthy, “lasting” habits even with the best intentions to become better. However, there is a way to move past these seeming “stumbling blocks” of resistance that arise and try to keep us locked into damaging, unhealthy habits.
What is this secret formula we can follow that renders these blocks neutral?
Believe it or not, there is a lot of science behind the process of habit formation and a “habit-forming” formula that actually works is available for anyone to use.
Here’s the secret:
“Dream big; start small.”
In other words, pick just one habit that you want to change for the better. Keep it small and attainable and focus your energy on that small/tiny habit for a period of 21 days to one month. By keeping it small and simple, you eliminate the temptation to say “no,” and the more likely you are to keep going.
To be successful, this new “tiny habit” must be –
A behavior you can do at least once a day
Something that takes less than 30 seconds to complete
Requires little effort but is relevant to the full behavior
The key is to not “bite off more than you can chew.” Literally. Drop the illusive idea that your life goals must be big audacious things that are only achievable when the timing is right, or you have better resources or you finally catch that “big break.”
Waiting for your “big break” before moving forward is like Charlie Brown sitting in the pumpkin patch waiting for the “Great Pumpkin” to appear. It’s not going to happen. In fact, it’s the small steps… the baby steps that you intentionally take that “move energy” in the physical realm and this is what draws your “big break” to you.
Remember, you can’t light a big fire, you must first spark it and then feed it kindling. View your life goals as tiny, daily behaviors (sparks) that are repeated until a successful habit is formed.
“Doing it” is what counts, and by keeping things small and attainable, you are much more likely to “do it.”
What seeds of change would you like to see manifest in your life this week that could grow into a healthy character quality or habit?
Want to begin exercising? That’s admirable. Shoot for just five minutes a day for one week. That’s all it takes. You can do this!
Cooking from scratch? No problem. Set your sights on creating one meal from scratch daily or per week to begin with. Design it around your schedule without adding stress.
Want to get out of debt? Start by saving an extra “defined amount of money” per week. Or begin earning that much more weekly.
Don’t try to earn it all at once.
Once you decide to create a new habit in a “small way” you harness the power of your subconscious mind making it easier to do once established.
Examine and select one small habit that you can start on today that will help improve your life status.
Take baby steps towards shifting this habit from negative to positive and find ways to stay accountable. Piggyback your new healthy habit onto an older, established habit or something you do on a regular basis and watch as it seamlessly becomes part of your routine. Easy peasy!
As your small tasks get easier to complete, slowly expand your goals and efforts while building more momentum with future victories. Racking up those “small victories,” especially when beginning, makes it easier to continue enjoying more “small victories.”
Wise Chinese Proverb:
“It is better to make many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.”