When it comes to living your best life; whether that means developing your career, or making lifestyle improvements for your health and wellbeing, making smaller more achievable changes is your best approach. It will minimise the chance of regression and will have a greater overall impact on sustainability than making bigger more dramatic changes with the risk of resistance and overwhelm.
Often we want immediate results and to make a big impact, but doing small things you can sustain over the long term will yield more permanent results, especially because it reduces the overwhelm and requires less willpower, which is in effect a limited mental resource.
Behaviour change is not easy, but with the right mindset and strategy, you can improve your life, one small step at a time. Here’s how:
- Habit Stack: seek to change one small habit at a time, only moving onto your next habit change, once you’ve mastered the one before.
- Try adding in new habits before removing less desirable ones (make it easier for those to drop away.)
- Don’t rely on willpower to keep you from, or to your targets, it’s not always available.
- Modify your environment to reflect your desired result.
- Set a time frame (but be flexible as timelines aren’t always accurate)
- Set a concrete behaviour, not an abstract goal (eg, Concrete: ask for a pay rise. Abstract: make more money.)
- Appreciate you will regress because that is all part of behaviour change, don’t let it derail you.
- Don’t aim for perfection, just aim to improve.
- Be consistent as Bruce Lee said, “Long-term consistency trumps short-term intensity”.
- Get comfortable with delayed gratification.