I have tried to do a Personal Extreme Life Makeover and let me tell you it doesn’t work. When you try to change all of the things that are wrong with your life all at once, you are doomed for failure.
We have a “bootcamp mentality” thinking that self discipline all at once will get us where we want to be in a short period of time. The only way to get to where you want to be in life is by one small habit at a time. The tortoise wins remember?
Now, that does not mean that you pick something so easy that it does not inspire you in the least bit. At the same time, don’t pick the biggest challenge first.
Can small habits make big changes in your life? In this episode, Jonathan offers 4 reasons why starting small works. What small change can you make today that will make a big difference in your life?
Here are a few key principles for understanding why starting small works:
1. It is easier to manage – Having a single focus is just easier to manage. Most of us try to set up an elaborate plan for the new habits we want to start. I know I have. I tell myself all I need is an elaborate spreadsheet where I can track all the things I want to do. Whether it is exercising, keeping the house cleaned up, managing our finances, or organizing our home office. The problem is there is so much “new” to be done that our brains cannot remember it all. When you have one focus for 30 days you have clarity and clarity is power.
2. Gradual change always sticks better – We have all seen the “crash diets,” right? We try to get instant results as fast as we make our instant mash potatoes. Real change just doesn’t happen that way. Slow, gradual changes is what lasts. The problem comes into play when we are not patient. We have so much pain that increases over time from the bad habits that we want to fix everything in one big swoop. We need to combine commitment with patience. If all you have is commitment you will find something else to be committed to. You need to combine commitment with patience in order to have lasting change. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
3. You get some “wins” under your belt – Some of us get discouraged so quickly. We try starting a new habit and realize that it is hard. Like I have said in other posts, staring a new habit is a lot like trying to fight gravity in the beginning. Don’t start with your biggest challenge first. Start with a simple habit that you have wanted to have in your life. Allow yourself to experience some “wins.” When you do that, it will fuel your fire for bigger challenges in the days ahead.
4. Your mind is more focused – The biggest problem with trying to change your life and go from not being organized at all to to super-organized is that you are trying to focus on too many things.
Ever wonder how the lion tamer in the circus can hold off a lion with a stool? Legend has it that the lion is somewhat paralyzed because there are multiple stool legs coming at him at once. He doesn’t know what to focus on so he ends up not moving at all.
The same happens with you when you try to focus on changing too many bad habits at once. You become paralyzed and discouraged. Instead start with a small habit and focus on it for one month straight. You will get to the rest of it in due time.
Question: What small step can I take NOW so I can create the future I’m so excited about as I enjoy this moment I’m so blessed to have?