New You Week 3: Start Small

Last week we asked you to take your hopes for change and distill them into one thing. Trying to do everything at once is a quick way to sputter out.

Now that you’ve got one area to focus on, how will you change it? Our suggestion is to a) start small, and b) make it positive. 

1. Start small.

Tiny changes are sustainable. Big changes often aren’t. Can you make a change so small that it’s almost impossible to not do? 

For example, instead of deciding to work out for an hour every day at the gym, could you do a ten-minute walk every day? That may not seem like much, but a year from now, do you want to be the person who walked every day or the person who gave up going to the gym two weeks into the new year?

Keep it simple. Focus on something small enough that you think you can do it every day. In many ways, every day is easier. There’s no bargaining. There’s no deciding which days count as off days. There’s no game-playing. It’s impossible to fool “every day”; you either did it or you didn’t. 

Set the bar low. It’s easy to raise it as your habits solidify.

2. Make it positive.

It’s often easier to add something positive rather than take away something negative. Can you substitute a walk with a friend for watching the news? Can you replace one less-healthy meal with something you make yourself?

Keep it small, and make it positive. Tiny habits are sustainable, growable, and approachable. 

Your goal to transform your diet to the latest version of perfect is probably not sustainable. But what if you changed one meal? Can you do that? Can you choose to make your own lunch instead of eating out every day? Or, if that’s too big, how about you choose to eat a healthier lunch on Monday. That’s it. 

Can you add Tuesday? Of course you can.

Recommended reading: Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg