One of the dangers of an ‘all or nothing’ mentality is that you risk doing nothing at all. Even if you start out with the best intentions, there will be days you run out of time, don’t have the energy, or simply lack motivation.
And when we lose motivation, our natural (human) tendency is to do what’s easiest. If our goals are too challenging, we don’t give ourselves a chance to succeed. Change is often difficult because initiating a new behavior requires your brain to create a new neural pathway. But once it’s repeated, you adapt, learn, and eventually can do it ‘on autopilot.’
Christine Carter explains how to start developing ‘better than nothing’ habits, which create sustainable change and successfully promote new behaviors. You can make your ideas and goals achievable by building small habits on top of one another.
Succeed One Small Step at a Time
When creating new habits or changing behaviors, we often feel overwhelmed and shut down, instead of focusing on small behaviors that can spur us toward change. I used to psych myself out from volunteering at the Crisis Line. I stressed out trying to meet the 4 hour per week time commitment, but once I decided to sign up for just one hour a week, I was able to find the time to help others. I had to learn to be okay with falling short of others’ expectations (as I rarely met my time goal) and embrace making a difference with the time I had.
We do not need to be perfect—and trying to be is a recipe for disaster and disappointment. Moving in the right direction can lead you to victory through small successes. And nothing motivates you more than success!
Simple Changes to Healthy Living
Venturing into something new can be as easy as: meditating for one minute each morning, adding one vegetable to dinner, drinking one glass of water before lunch, changing your moisturizer to a cleaner/less toxic version, or kissing your significant other before bed.
You do not need to meal prep every single day if your schedule doesn’t allow for it. If you can only cook on the weekends, then do that. Cooking at home two days a week is better than zero. Likewise, if you are in a season of life where you only have 10 minutes to workout, you are better off finishing three short workouts a week instead of zero.
Just remember that you don’t have to do it all. Doing something is better than nothing, and can be part of the many small things you do that add up to living a life of health and wellness.