Small Changes, Big Difference

“All great achievements require time. ” –Maya Angelou

Too often I meet people who get fed up being overweight and decide to become a different person overnight. They have great intentions. They know that they have to be different in order to make changes in their lifestyle and body, but they make the mistake in thinking it needs to occur with the snap of their fingers and in an instant. The problem with this dramatic shift in lifestyle is that it often isn’t sustainable. While I am all for people moving toward a healthier life, it’s more likely to stick if you make changes gradually and turn those changes into habits. Permanent change happens when you won’t give up or throw in the towel when you have a setback. Think small changes to make a big difference in your life. Here’s how:

Introduce a small healthy habit every week. Each Sunday or Monday (whatever you mentally think of as the start of your week) introduce one small new habit. If you can stick with each habit you add week to week, soon you will be making all sorts of healthy choices. Some ideas to get you started … increase your water intake, take a walk every night after dinner, stand up and walk around while you are on the phone, clean your house vigorously, dance to your iTune playlist, eat an apple every day, try a new fitness DVD routine, keep a food and exercise journal, work on your flexibility, add strength training three times a week … and the list goes on and on. Get creative and you will be compounding your healthy habits with each week that goes by.

Find ways to swap out unhealthy food for healthier choices. Each Sunday I post what I call Swapportunities to my Facebook page. Swapportunities are the opportunity to swap out unhealthy food (or just okay food) for healthier options. You don’t have to view changing what you eat as sacrifice if you find healthier versions of your favorite foods. Some healthy swaps include swapping out soda for water, sour cream for Greek yogurt, high sugar cereal for oatmeal, sugar for raw honey and candy for fresh fruit. Check  out my Facebook page on Sundays for more swap ideas.

Remember that changes you can stick with for two months become habits. You are more likely to stick with healthy changes you make when you begin to do them without even thinking about them and typically that occurs after two months. Repetition is practice and it becomes mastery, so try and stick with your healthy choices you introduce for two months and they are likely to become habits.

Notice small changes in you. Nothing can drive your commitment more than actual visual and physical proof that your body is changing because of decisions you are making. It’s empowering. Be sure and pay attention to how your energy level is increasing, how your body is changing and any doctor appointments that reflect improvements you have made in your health. It’s rewarding to notice all the little ways you see improvement whether it is brighter skin or loose jeans. Take note and it will motivate you to keep going!

All or nothing thinking can get you in trouble because in a sense, it’s perfectionist thinking. Perfectionism means if you don’t stick to your radical, overnight plan and you deem yourself a failure, you may give up altogether. Inch your way toward a healthier lifestyle instead. It’s human nature to want instant gratification, but with a little patience, you will be amazed at how small, healthy changes make a big difference in your body and your overall health.

Origin: Get Fit

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