She’s starring you down and you wish she’d get lost already!
There she is—that part of you you know all too well. Her arms are crossed and she’s got that smirky, cynical, ooooohhhh soooooo disapproving sneer plastered all over her face… “I told you so” she insinuates. So pleased with herself. She’s right—yet again.
You swore this time it was going to be different.
You just KNEW it was gonna be different. You had such plans. Oh the places you were going to go. You were going to…
- Start eating healthy and get in shape.
- Read a new book every week.
- Dust off your old guitar and start playing again.
- Find yourself a new job—one that you actually really liked.
- Take that Salsa class you’ve been looking at for years.
But here you are, barely into the new year, and your resolutions are already out the window.
“Yeah, saw that one coming!” Snidely jeers from the sidelines.
One more failed attempt chucked onto a pile that’s turning out to be quite the landfill of broken dreams and unfulfilled promises.
What’s the point anyway right?
You even promised yourself you weren’t going to do it this year; you weren’t going to set yourself up. You weren’t going to make any New Year’s resolutions because the whole thing just ends up feeling so frickin awful. And yet…..
Somehow you can’t help yourself. There’s this ever hopeful, this time will be different voice that gets you stepping up to the plate again… and again… and again.
Deja vu? Lucy and the football anyone?
But you know what? Bravo to her!!!
Bravo to that part in you—that eternal Pollyanna—who just won’t give up. Bravo to that part who knows what’s possible for you and she’s sticking with it come hell or high water.
But let’s get serious. She doesn’t stand a chance unless you actually give your Pollyanna some tools she can work with. Something that’s going to work so she doesn’t end up flat on her back when the football gets pulled out from under her charging foot… yet again.
The reality is broad brush stroke resolutions don’t last. They don’t make it. They’re not sustainable. Okay, well maybe that’s a tiny overstatement. There is a minute percentage of the population who can set ginormous goals and actually stick with them all the way through.
But if you’re anything like me, that’s definitely NOT the case. So… what do you and I do? Give up? Uh… nope.
Enter micro habits stage left.
Now hang on. Don’t stop reading. If you’ve gotten this far, there’s something in this for you.
And in the spirit of full disclosure and transparency I have to tell you that I fought this one tooth and nail for years. Anything “micro” wasn’t big enough… strong enough… and most certainly not fast enough for me!
And so, I set those huge, surround sound, full screen goals year after year and pretty much let myself down every year. Until I really started paying attention to how I (and my clients) actually really did change in the real world, in real time.
So let’s take that first example—eat healthy and get in shape.
You start off with great gusto. You throw out all the junk in the fridge, you even get rid of the crackers in the cabinet. You go shopping. You get a slew of healthy stuff. You pull out your old sweat pants and you’re ready.
The plan? You’re going to jog every morning and you’re totally going to change how you eat.
Could it work? Hmmmm… it could.
Honestly? Probably not.
But could you eat a piece of broccoli every day? One bite?
Honestly? That one’s a pretty strong yes!
One piece of broccoli. That’s it.
That’s where you start. That’s how you wedge your foot in the door of “eat healthy and get in shape”.
You see, if you want to make some permanent changes, it doesn’t really matter how far open the door is; how big the initial action/behavior is (like eating 5 servings of leafy greens a day along with multicolored veges.) What matters is how long the “this is the change I’m making” door stays open.
So, with healthy eating? A piece of broccoli will do it.
One bite of broccoli every day will get you further than a heaping plate full of vegetables 3 times on your first day.
Heaping plate of veges by day 3? Day 4? Not so likely.
Little piece of broccoli by day 3 4?…..7, 8? VERY likely.
And little by little, once 1 piece is a no brainer, it’s a new habit. It’s set in stone, it’s non negotiable.
Then, you add another little habit, maybe another little piece of broccoli. Or you bundle something else to it like a small salad. Tiny, micro steps.
And then, something incredible happens. At some point that little micro habit has really taken root and it starts to exponentially affect other things. That little piece of broccoli turns into drinking more fresh water. It turns into a little meditation in the morning. It turns into a yoga class.
New year’s resolution? Break it down to it’s tiniest, smallest, easiest component. And yes, really, it might just be a piece of broccoli.
Here’s to creating that life you’ve always wanted to live! One teeny tiny habit at a time.
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© Rhegina Sinozich