Have you ever promised yourself that you’d dive headfirst into something new, only to find yourself overwhelmed and ultimately ready to give up? You’re not alone and we’ve all been there. The enthusiasm to make a change in our lives is great but the approach matters. So, rule #1 when starting a new habit: make it easy.
Let’s talk about the art of starting (and maintaining) a new habit.
Picture this: A newcomer at our gym is fired up to change their life for the better. They haven’t trained in years but now want to commit to training every single day. They also plan on overhauling their entire diet to speed up results. My advice? Please don’t do that. While their passion and motivation are commendable, we know that such drastic leaps are unsustainable.
Reflect on your own experiences – how often have you gone from zero to hero and genuinely maintained the momentum? How long did that previous diet last? Or running three times a week? Or reading a new book every week? This isn’t a personal attack; I’m talking about my own habits I haven’t stuck to that I said I would.
To truly embed a new habit, you need to start simple and incrementally build from there.
Want to change your diet? Begin with breakfast. Ensure you’re not skipping it and that you’re getting in enough protein. Master that for a month, then consider the next tweak.
Been out of the fitness game for a while? Diving headfirst into training every day isn’t as simple or easy as it might sound, no matter how tempting. Starting with three days a week is already a big step. Once you’re comfortable there, you can consider upping the ante.
One analogy I absolutely love when thinking about habits is comparing them to compound interest. Day to day, you might feel like your efforts aren’t amounting too much. But extend that timeline to a month, even years, and the cumulative effect can be enormous. And remember, this compounding applies to the value of good habits and the cost of bad ones.
So, if you’re on the cusp of beginning a new chapter, as weird as it sounds, probably do less first. Simplicity is your best friend, whether it’s nutrition, fitness, or any other personal development endeavour.
Stay tuned for more!