Do you ever wonder why changes to diet or lifestyle can be difficult to stick to? It is easier to understand why the big things are tough, like quitting smoking, losing 100 pounds, or simplifying your life by 50%. But often a change you feel is reasonable will also fall by the wayside. Changes that are not accomplished can make you feel like you have no willpower, initiative, or stick-to-it-ness.
If it seems like some of the goals you set for yourself are not getting done, one of the possibilities is that you are trying to take too big a bite at one time. I know that for me, it works better to make small changes, often just one at a time and stick with them until they become habit. When you take things one small step at a time, you might find some of your goals are easily reached and maintained. Break the things on your list into smaller parts and you might have more success. If you make your lifestyle or diet changes small and reasonable enough, you will feel like you are making the progress you want. After you are living those small changes without even having to think about them, you can add something new that builds upon that success.
An idea that has been around for quite a while is to assign something you want to accomplish to a specific day of the week. Meatless Monday is a site that is a good example of that. I think the idea of using one day of the week to make a change is a good one, but be careful of over scheduling. If you try the Meatless Monday approach, don’t immediately assign something else to each of the other 6 days of the week. Stick with the Monday goal until it seems routine, then add to it.
You may want to change something that is not easily assigned to a single day. In that case, try to look for some other method of making it a routine. I think the key is to go after a change you want to make one step at a time, focusing on one that goal and trying not to get distracted by other changes you want to make. Save those for another day.
That having been said, also acknowledge the person you are. I had a friend who always did everything all the way, all at once. To stop doing something, he went “cold turkey”. If he was to make a change in his life, he just did it all the way and stuck to it. He was a very detailed, disciplined person who demanded that of himself. It was just who he was and that approach was what worked for him. I think most people are like me. I need to take things one step at a time. I need to constantly remind myself why I am trying to make a change.
Many habits, bad or good, become habits because we enjoy them. (Usually.) To change something in our lives we need to understand both why we feel the change is important and how best we adapt to these changes until they become a part of your new lifestyle.
When I post a small step suggestion for positive lifestyle or diet change that you think you might want to try, think about the “one step, one day” approach. Give it a try, then let us know if it helps.