If you’ve ever proclaimed a New Year’s resolution or any desired change for the better, you know that deciding to make a big change is fairly easy. That mighty burst of enthusiasm can easily evaporate once the novelty wears off and day-to-day pressures take over. Ambitious goals require big changes in everyday life that are tough to sustain. Because this sustained change is tough, long term success is more easily within reach if you start low and go slow.
Flash dieting or the weekend warrior who packs a month’s worth of activity into just 48 hours doesn’t get the same physical benefits as those who change their taste buds gradually or who exercise moderately and regularly. Activities you do day in and day out have a much greater impact on your healthspan than fad diets or superhero bursts. Charles Duhigg writes in his bestselling book, The Power of Habit, “Keystone habits offer what is known within academic literature as ‘small wins.’ They help other habits to flourish by creating new structures, and they establish cultures where change becomes contagious.” Don’t you just love that? Change becomes contagious!
Here are some key points to remember as you START SOMEWHERE to incorporate changes gradually and incorporate keystone habits:
- Pick just one or two small things to “tweak.” Resist the temptation to start exercising an hour a day, drinking six glasses of water, going to bed an hour earlier, and eliminating all sugar all at once! That’s the recipe for frustration!
- Be prepared for lapses in focus and motivation. This awareness can help you to not be caught off guard and get restarted quickly. Interludes are normal!
- Embracing an anti-aging lifestyle requires reorientation. Give yourself grace and allow yourself time to adjust mentally, physically, timewise, and logistically to these slow changes.
- Our bodies are designed to heal. As your body gradually comes into homeostasis, you will notice profound changes in your sense of wellbeing, energy level, and sleep. Your results will provide motivation to help you take the next small steps. The START SOMEWHERE philosophy is self-perpetuating!
- Resist the temptation to compare yourself to other people. Every person is unique in genetic endowment as well as in life experiences and preferences.
- Review my post from yesterday, January 3, 2018. Because we know that “what fires together, wires together,” we can be confident that these small changes in behavior are actually making significant changes in brain connections.
Gradual renovation of your lifestyle is powerful medicine. Every positive small change that turns into a lasting habit can change the trajectory of your life. Moving your body more, getting extra restorative rest, and eating additional real food all have ripple effects to help you feel like making more small changes. All will help you look better, feel better and decrease your risk factors for chronic lifestyle diseases.
START SOMEWHERE increasing your vitality and joy with small changes that can have cascading effects. Start low and go slow to close the gap between your lifespan and healthspan. You can do it. I will help you!