Have you ever tried to do a major overhaul in your lifestyle and your habits all at once? Were you successful?
I have never been successful at making major changes all at once. Usually, I can keep up with everything for three days, tops. Then all my honorable changes come crumbling down in a huge heap of disappointment at my feet.
I was reading through Donielle’s book, Naturally Knocked Up, and I really appreciate all of the health advice that she gives. However, I was thinking about how overwhelming the advice might seem to someone who is trying to go from a very unhealthful lifestyle to a much more wholesome and healthful lifestyle.
Transforming your life isn’t something that will happen overnight. In fact, if you try to change overnight, you’ll likely crash and burn within a few days.
This is why I’m a big advocate of focusing on one small change at a time. In fact, I think this simple principle is so important that, in my new e-book, 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life, I dedicate an entire chapter to this.
At any given time, we are capable of spotting a hundred and one areas that need attention and improvement. We all could always do better in so many different areas. But when I dwell on all the bad habits I want to reverse or the good habits I want to implement, I get overwhelmed pretty quickly.
Instead of trying to implement two dozen habits at once, pace yourself. Just focus on a few habits at a time. Yes, it takes longer to actually see big changes, but those changes will be long-lasting.
And that’s what we all really want, right? It’s better to focus on and master only three habits at a time that actually stick, than to repeatedly try to develop 30 different habits all at the same time and end up overwhelmed, frustrated, and right back where you started.
So, you could approach this two different ways.
- Focus all of your effort in one area, for example, changing your diet. Choose three parts of your diet that you want to change, and work on them until they are a habit, then choose three more. Repeat this process until your diet is under control.
- Focus your efforts on a few different areas. For example, you could change one part of your diet, change out a few of your cleaning supplies, and start exercising for 10 minutes a day. After you have mastered these habits, choose three more to master. This approach spreads your efforts out over a broader area, but may take longer to see dramatic improvement in one specific area.
You may feel as though you will never meet your goal of good health by only making small changes, a few at a time. But think of it more like building a strong, stable health foundation instead.
Each small change that you make and keep will propel you closer to your goal. Your small success will build up, and before you know it, your body will be healthy and stronger than you ever thought possible!
Crystal Paine is a wife, homeschooling mom of three, and author of the brand-new ebook, 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life. For more encouragement to get your life and finances in order, visit her blog, MoneySavingMom.com.
You can also get Crystal’s new ebook on Kindle OR as a PDF for your computer for only 99¢.
Good points! I found that making New Year’s resolutions really helped this past year. Instead of forgetting about them (what I normally do), I held myself accountable through blogging about my progress. Narrowing the list down helped me focus on those few things, rather than EVERYTHING I would like to improve.
So true. Diet and lifestyle habits have been difficult for me to change. I had a horrible diet two years ago that I knew I had to change to become healthier. Of course, I tried to do a big overhaul of dieting that lasted all but a week and then I completely fell off the wagon. I had to learn how to be patient with myself and my changes if I was going to make it work. Finally, I’m eating much better and now I’m working on how to cook a bigger variety of meals. Cooking is not my strong suit! This means I’ll need to learn a few more habits again.