While it may not seem like a small change such as committing to attend a group exercise class three times a week for two weeks will alter your fitness journey, think again.
The small changes are an integral part, perhaps stage one, of what creates global changes in your fitness life. For years on our nutrition bulletin board at one of my clubs, we featured the photograph of an apple and the caption beneath it simply read, “The Small Things Matter.”
Consequently, this week, we will highlight a few small changes that you might consider making to improve your journey along the fitness trail. And, while you are contemplating remember the words of Henry David Thoreau, “I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor”, nothing is impossible. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
Small Change 1: Consider how committed you are to the small change whatever it may involve. Ask yourself if you are truly “all in” or ambivalent? If you are not “all in,” then choose and commit to another small change instead, such as one valuable healthy habit. For example, perhaps you could commit to walking with your spouse or significant other after dinner three nights a week for two weeks.
Small Change 2: Unless, and until you have achieved the first small change, avoid adding the next small change. So many times throughout the years clients will come to train with me raring to go, only to lose their steam after a short period of time because they were taking on too many changes at once and found it too daunting to continue. The small change concept may help to avoid this undesirable outcome.
Small Change 3: Keep your small changes varied. For instance, perhaps one small change is dietary and another is physical. You commit to walking for two weeks, manage that change and then find 100kcal in your dietary regimen per day that you simply can live without. Now, adhere to these small changes until each becomes a habit.
Small Change 4: Now that you have achieved a couple of small changes, just begin to contemplate what the next small change might be without creating too much pressure on yourself. Does it sound like I am “babying” you? Well, that may be true for those well on their way down the fitness path and succeeding, but for those that are struggling, this “small change” approach may be just the ticket to life-long fitness success.
Small Change 5: This may simply be a “piggyback” on one of your other small changes such as the above-mentioned walking activity after dinner several times a week. Perhaps this small change is creating longer duration, intensity or frequency to your walking program. Again, change one of these components at a time.
Small Change 6: Each time you decide to create and commit to another small change, first ask yourself again, how committed you are and if you are having difficulty being authentic about your answer, perhaps you have jumped the gun a little bit. Take a step back, resume the previous small changes and give it a little more time before moving forward.