Setting goals in life is smart. It gives us something to shoot for and increases our chances of success. However, aiming too high and biting off more than you can chew are sure ways to end up abandoning your objective. If you want to make big changes that last, it is better to start small and work your way up. This is because small habits lead to big changes in our life.
Our brain circuitry is actually wired to adapt to incremental changes and repetition. If you start taking small steps toward a bigger goal, your brain will begin to develop new neural pathways that make achieving that goal easier. As these pathways are created, you’ll notice that what once seemed difficult becomes more routine. Jumping right in can overstimulate your brain and cause resistance. Here are two examples of what I’m talking about here:
- When I was teaching my fifth grade class one year I quickly realized only a few of my new students knew their times tables through 12 x 12. Instead of asking them to memorize them all over the next couple of weeks I taught them a strategy that would be more efficient and effective. I had them close their eyes and make fists with both hands so they couldn’t count on their fingers. I would say the times tables to them in a soft voice and soon the neural pathways opened. It took almost a month, but 100% of my students had their times tables down cold.
- My goal in 2006 (the year I came online) was to turn myself into a writer. I couldn’t do this overnight, so the next best thing was to create the small habit of writing every single day. I challenged myself to write one hundred articles in one hundred days. I did not do it…it took me only seventy-eight days! My small habit has taken me to over one and a half million published words as of this writing.
Let’s take a common real-life example and examine how making small changes can add to big results. Weight loss is something many of us strive for. The first step is to choose a realistic goal – say you want to lose 15 pounds in six months. That’s less than a pound per week. Then choose several small habits you can start doing to move you closer to your goal. Work on each one until it becomes automatic. For example, consider drinking a glass of water before each meal to help you eat less. Then cut down on portion sizes. Next, add one exercise to your daily routine. Small steps do add up.
Consider Your Lifestyle
Making habits last can happen when you take small steps that fit easily into your current lifestyle. Try to consider your personality and preferences when setting goals. Find ways to sneak new habits into what you’re already doing. If you want to be more active, but you’re not very athletic, signing up for an intramural sport or paying for an expensive gym membership may not make the most sense. However, you probably can get more steps in each day if you park far away from your office building and take a short walk during your lunch hour.
These are just some examples of how small habits can lead to big changes. Keep in mind that you can always add new habits and strive for bigger goals once you feel comfortable. The trick is to work your way up gradually. Soon, you’ll see major results. Your small habits lead to big changes if you stick with it.
I’m bestselling author, marketing strategist, and entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green and I would love to connect further with you to help you to achieve your goals. If you are interested in learning how to optimize the syndication of your content, please take a look at my popular Syndication Optimization training course and consider coming aboard to increase your visibility, credibility, and profitability.