My personal belief is that making big sweeping changes never works long term because big changes trigger your "Inner Resistance Monster." Did you say I have a monster living in my psyche? Yes, I did, and we all have one.
The Inner Resistance Monster leads the charge to sabotage, create procrastination, and put up road blocks whenever you try to make changes in your life. The Monster is the one that keeps you locked in your comfort zone. How much power that Monster has is up to you because remember you are the one in charge of you. It's not the other way around although it may feel like it sometimes.
The Inner Resistance Monster thrives during the NY's resolution weight loss frenzy because most people make overly ambitious declarations like "I'm going to exercise 6 days a week. I'm going to only eat organic foods and restrict my calories intake to 1200 per day." When in reality, they are starting from exercising only 6 days a month. They eat primarily a fast food or take out diet, and consume over 2,500 calories a day. Changes that require huge leaps triggers the Inner Resistance Monster, and he goes into action doing whatever he can to get you back to your comfort zone. The result. Your big plan to drop 20 pounds by Spring is dead in its tracks by February because procrastination and resistance has kicked in.
But all is not lost.
See your IR Monster is trained to only spot the big changes. He cannot see the small, tiny ones. Tiny incremental changes go under the radar, yet over time they add up and before you know it you are achieving your health goals. It will take longer for the results to manifest, but they have a much better chance of sticking long term because they happened slowly without triggering any resistance. You've expanded your comfort zone versus trying to leap out of it.
...over time tiny changes add up ...
Every week I'd like you to start making two tiny changes related to any of your health goals or even life goals. Sometimes the two are intertwined. The kinds of changes I'm talking about are small. I mean they are so tiny that you almost wonder if you can call them a change because it feels like it required nearly zero effort. Here are some examples of tiny changes:
- Using 2 packets of sugar in your coffee versus your usual 3.
- Park 5 spaces farther away from the front of the store so you get a few more feet of walking in.
- Smile at one extra person a day.
- Buy one piece of organic fruit and eat it for an afternoon snack.
- Try making your next meatloaf out of grass fed beef and see if you can taste a difference.
- Switch to a new toothpaste that doesn't have an artificial sweetener in it.
- Start sitting up straighter at work meetings.
- Increase the incline level on the treadmill or elliptical 1% over your usual.
A a suggestion, make one tiny change a "cutting back", and the other an "addition". For example, tiny change #1 could be eat 100 less calories a day. Tiny change #2 could be add 5 minutes to your cardio workout. Another example, tiny change #1 could be eliminate 5 minutes of feeling stress during your day. Tiny change #2 could be, add 5 minutes of recess playtime into your work day. By including an "addition" with an "elimination" you will never feel like you are missing out on something or deprived.
Making these tiny changes is basically slowly weaning you off your old unhealthy, limiting habits, so that you can move onto more healthy and vibrant choices. If you have a big goal, you can break it up into smaller pieces kind of like Quarters in a football game. As an example, I wanted to stop drinking Diet Coke.
I tried cold turkey before but that never worked so I started by cutting down drinking 1 can a day instead of my usual 2. After a couple weeks of doing that, I went from drinking 1 can a day 7 days/week to drinking 1 can 4 days/week. Then I did 1 can/day every other day. Eventually, I got down to no Diet Coke at all. It took me almost a year to do it because I was a total addict. But today, I am Diet Coke free and my body now reacts badly whenever I take a sip.
So, every Tuesday, I'll post my two tiny changes of the week, and I open all of you to come share your changes as well. It's more fun to make changes with support!
This week, here were my 2 tiny changes:
- I drank one cup of water more than I usually drink each day. I want to eventually work my way up to drinking per day half my body weight in ounces ie. If you weighed 200 pounds, you would drink 100 ounces of water/day.
- I split in half a Whole Foods chocolate chip w/ walnuts cookie from the bakery, and ate one half the day I bought the cookie, and ate the other half the next day.