How can making small changes help you reach your goals? Well too often we set goals for ourselves that we never reach. We may start out with all the best intentions but somewhere along the way we fall off track. Maybe we set too big of a goal for ourselves. Or maybe we just quit. But why does that happen?
More often than not the goals we set for ourselves require us to make changes. Often they are pretty big changes. Losing weight, quitting smoking, organizing our homes – these all require us to make changes. We start out gung ho, guns blazing with all the motivation in the world. Then something happens.
Maybe a cheat day turns into a cheat week. Or we just have a quick smoke on a stressful day, then break down and buy a pack. Either way we give up on those goals because the changes we made were too extreme for us to maintain. Which is where continuous improvement and the power of tiny gains comes into play.
I recently started reading the book Atomic Habits by James Clear and it has changed my perspective on my goals. Or at least on how I am trying to meet my goals. I realized that if I wanted to really see any lasting changes in my life I needed to go about it differently. The goals that I want to meet are pretty big.
- Lose another 35 pounds
- Grow my business to $100,000 minimum per year
- Create a brand around my blog and podcast
- Buy a new home for my family
- Go on a $10,000 spa retreat (this one I REALLY want)
Some of these goals may seem crazy and honestly they are a bit out there. But I always say, if you're gonna dream – dream big. And that is part of the problem – these dreams are BIG and they require big changes from me.
The easiest of these goals is obviously the weight loss but as we all know that is still a big challenge for many. But after I read James' book I realized that small changes could help me reach this goal AND all the others. I finally understood that I was coming at these goals all wrong for me.
Trying to dive into HUGE dietary changes worked for a little while but I wasn't maintaining them. Long term I have found that I can't do a strict keto diet. It doesn't work for me because I can't maintain it. So instead I make small changes every day. I replace something unhealthy with something healthier for me. I find a healthier replacement for the chips that I love to eat!
Instead of trying to go to the gym every single day I do 25 abdominal exercises every day for a week. Then I do 30 the next and 40 the week after that. Small changes that over time are leading up to long term LASTING results for me. Because I am building new habits and subtracting bad ones. I still go to the gym but on days that I don't I am not beating myself up for it.
This mindset change has really helpful for me because when I make a mistake or take a step backwards – it is also small. I don't feel like I have completely failed and so it is easier to go right back to those small changes. And those small steps backwards do not end up wiping out all the progress that I have made – so I am not as discouraged when it happens.
The power of tiny gains and small changes is amazing when you really think about it. If you get one percent better each day for one year, you'll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you're done. No you don't see those dramatic results right away but let's be real – how often do those results last? I know that I lost a lot of weight on the keto diet and it was great. It definitely worked. But I also gained weight back once I stopped following it. Because I had not established the good habits I needed to maintain the weight loss.
The power of making small changes that I can maintain long term is where I am finding success and I highly recommend it.