Take smaller bites
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. It’s solid nutrition advice. When you take a big bite of food, it is harder to taste, harder to chew, and harder to swallow. If you do manage to get it down, your digestive system still has to work a lot harder than it would for more reasonably sized bites.
The same is true in health and fitness. Change doesn’t happen in big mouthfuls. We reach long-term goals one small bite at a time, and rarely after a major revelation like in the movies. If you try to change everything at once, you’re almost inevitably going to struggle. For instance, think about one thing you could tweak in your morning routine—say, starting your day with a full glass of water. Now, consider if you decided to quit consuming gluten, dairy, and alcohol all at the same time. Which example do you think you could maintain indefinitely?
Try to pick up one positive habit a month. It is totally doable.
By the end of the year you’ll have 12 new positive habits, and by easing into them you’ll find that they aren’t too hard to maintain. Just make the positive habits manageable: Instead of don’t drink alcohol, try not to drink on the weekdays. Instead of workout every day, try to move for 30 minutes a day.
Here are a few easy ones to start. The more easy ones you can manage, the better you’ll fare with the hard ones:
1. Floss in the morning.
2. Get the mail every day.
3. Make your bed every morning.
4. Do the dishes after eating.
5. Move for 30 minutes a day.
6. Watch no more than two hours of TV per day.
7. Consume no alcoholic drinks during the week.
8. Consume protein in your first meal of the day (this decreases hunger throughout the day).
9. Read one book a month.
11. Don’t use any electronics for an hour before bed.
12. Keep a journal (admittedly, this one isn’t as easy).
The possibilities are endless. Come up with a few easy habits of your own and start building your arsenal. I wish I could take the credit for this idea, but I just tweaked what Ben Franklin did when he was trying to improve his 13 virtues. I’m a huge B. Frank fan. He didn’t become one of the most important figures in history overnight; it took him years of continued improvement. And, if you read his diaries, you’ll note that he definitely worked at it a little bit every day.