Start small to achieve big results
The desire and motivation to make changes to our health can often make us impatient, we want to see and feel those results quickly, we don’t want to wait. This can often lead us making massive, wholesale changes that ultimately are hard to sustain long term.
However, if the desire and motivation is there for changes to be long term, rather than for a holiday or special event, then taking things slowly and building on successes is a much more sustainable approach.
How can I start to make change?
Firstly, life will still go on around the new habits we are building, and therefore other priorities vying for your time and attention. I see many clients wanting big results and therefore get carried along with what realistically they can fit in… for the first few week’s motivation is high and will-power strong, a few weeks in and this starts to wane or even drop off completely.
- So, ask yourself, what is the biggest priority for your health now?
- What is going to give you the best feeling now?
- What is the easiest place for you to start/ what is most in your control?
I often work on the basis that if one thing is out with our health and wellbeing then other things are likely out. If your eating is poor, then you probably don’t have much motivation to exercise, you may feel low about yourself, and confidence may be hit. On that basis, if we start to improve one area of our health then other things will likewise improve, so start somewhere and other things will follow!
How can I make sustainable change?
I encourage clients to pick 1-2 small changes to make to start with and see how those changes make them feel and be honest about how sustainable they are. If they are, then continue with those until they are ready add another.
For example, if eating ‘better’ is the aim then start with the meal that is most in your control.
- How can you improve this?
- What can you add/ remove to make it better? Could you add more fruit/ vegetables? Could you make it from scratch rather than eating something ready-made or processed?
See how these changes make you feel – do you feel good/ energised, are they easy for you to do regularly?
If you want to add some more movement to your day/ week. Realistically how much time, and when can you do this, and what kind of thing works for you? If you are starting from nothing, even something once a week is an improvement and much easier to commit to than 3-4 times per week.
I find that as clients start to make small changes, other things start to happen – the way they feel about themselves improves because they are taking action and control of their health. Energy improves, because they are eating better or moving more. Sleep improves because they are more active or feeling less stressed/ worried. I encourage each little change to be viewed as an experiment – to see if these new habits are right for you and things that work with your lifestyle and what you want. That way, failure is not even an option because you are just ‘trying’ stuff, and you keep ‘trying’ stuff until you hit on what works for you!
How much you add in or build on these changes is really up to you, but before you do, be honest with what you can realistically do and try it.
So, have a think,
- what one thing can you do to move you towards your health goals this week?
- Be specific about what you are going to do i.e. going for a brisk walk on Monday lunchtime; making breakfast on Tuesday and Thursday from scratch; Stopping work on the Friday and do something for yourself; going to bed at 10.30 each night rather than staying up and watching that boxset. It doesn’t have to be every day if that is not realistic.
- Whatever you chose, make the commitment, create the environment that will make it inevitable that it happens
- Let these changes ‘bed’ in before adding more – appreciate the benefits these changes have given you and allow them to become part of your routine.
- Approach any change as an experiment rather than a hard and fast commitment – take the word ‘failure’ out of it.
If you would like to make some changes to feel less stresses, more energised and generally more in control, and would benefit from some help, then reach out – lets talk!