One small change here, one little tweak there is often all you need to create a new habit.
It may sound too simple and too good to be true but it really can work that way. Rather than thinking of how much you need to change, how hard it is to start and the amount of effort required to get a new habit underway and ultimately engrained, just making a few simple changes can be make all the difference.
It’s like finding the missing piece in a jigsaw puzzle or lining up the cogs in a machine – just making one little alteration can align the cogs so everything starts to work beautifully and seamlessly.
This can then have a knock on effect, so that everything else starts to fall into place. You start to feel better about yourself, that sense of achievement and pride grows and you feel able to make even more changes.
You will find that this knock on effect seems to happen almost by itself, until you suddenly notice all the new things you are doing.
A ‘one time’ change may be all you need.
Sometimes to create a better habit or to improve an area of your life you may need to make a ‘one time’ change.
If you are wanting to improve your sleep – you may need to install black out blinds to make your room darker, or remove the TV from your bedroom to avoid watching it late at night instead of going to sleep.
Recently I wanted to cut down the amount of time I spend on my phone, I always scroll through it just before I switch my bedroom light off and so delay going to sleep, and in the morning as I switch the alarm off on it, I immediately look at notifications and messages and start the descent into the deepest, longest rabbit hole known to man – being nosey on social media, watching meaningless videos, and googling anything that pops into my head.
So I made a one-off decision to charge my phone downstairs in my kitchen every night. I got out my old fashioned alarm clock, and I read a few pages of a book before I switched out my light. And bingo! I go to sleep quicker, and I am waking up earlier and GETTING OUT OF BED! And because of this one simple, one time change I am now doing exercise when I wake up. I either go for a walk or run every morning and do 20 minutes of HITT when I get back. It’s been a revelation and 7am seems like a lie-in now!
All from one simple ‘one time’ change.
One change at a time
If you want to make a success of your new habit, stick to changing just one thing at a time. We often get carried away with our own enthusiasm of all the things we want to do when our motivation is high. Think about New Year Resolutions – they last about 3 weeks at the most, if you’re lucky!
When we want to lose weight, the list might be to cut out sugar, stop eating snacks, drink more water, no fried food or takeaways etc., and this might be do-able for a few days or even a week or two. But then life gets in the way and one thing goes by the way side, and you feel like a complete failure and give up ALL of the changes, because what’s the point – you can’t do it!
Pick ONE thing to change, remembering to keep it small and easy – maybe have one less spoonful of sugar in your tea/coffee OR miss that mid-morning biscuit. Focus on that one simple change, feel successful and proud about doing that and then as that becomes more embedded and a new habit …. then you can add another one.
Make it flow
Add a new simple habit or change onto something you already do, so it flows and feels more natural and normal. Think about all the things you already do, that are natural, daily habits. You will find lots of them throughout your day when you start to look. Next think of what would be a natural, easy and SIMPLE addition to that routine or action.
When you get out of bed, DRINK A GLASS OF WATER
While you wait for the shower to warm up, DO SOME YOGA STRETCHES
While you wait for the kettle to boil, MEDITATE FOR TWO MINUTES
When you need a break from your desk, TAKE A QUICK WALK AROUND THE BUILDING
When you switch off your computer after work, WRITE THREE IMPORTANT ‘TO DO’ TASKS FOR TOMORROW
Whether it’s starting to drink more water, moving more, finding some calm in your day or being more organised, adding a simple change onto something you already do naturally will make it easier to do regularly. A great resource to look at to improve your mastery of new habits at is ‘Tiny Habits – The small changes that change everything’ by B J Fogg.