5 Reasons Why Small Changes Build Lasting Habits

Picture this scenario:

You have made the decision to start something new: to exercise more, begin meditating, or eat more healthily.

So, how do you start?

Many of us gather our willpower and dive straight in, deciding that tomorrow will be the day that everything changes. Tomorrow you’ll do a 5km run, sit for 20 minutes of meditation, or have a full day of eating healthily.

With determination, the first day often goes well! But as this initial motivation wears off, our newfound habit doesn’t always have much staying power.

What if there was a better way?

Think Big. Start Small.

It’s great to dream big. But maybe the next time you want to start something new, you can think about staring small.

How small is small?

Starting small can be as simple as sitting for a minute of meditation, doing 2 squats or taking a walk around the block.

Why so small?

Here are 5 things I learned when I stopped trying to run for half an hour, and started taking a jog around the block:

  1. Small changes build consistency
    A short run around the block was so easy to do that I rarely skipped a day. Within a few days of starting the habit, it was so simple that it became something that I just did automatically, even when I was tired, felt unmotivated, or felt like I didn’t have the time. This built consistency.
  2. Habits can grow organically
    As a result of this consistency there were even days when I voluntarily ran further. Once your habit can start to happen on autopilot, it can also start to expand organically, and I found myself slowly building up the length of my runs.
  3. Consistency fosters feelings of success
    This consistency and organic growth gave me a feeling of success, and showed me how emotions can help or hinder us when forming habits. When I have previously aimed to run longer distances, I would either struggle through it which often left me feeling drained, or if I did anything less than the goal that I had set for myself, I’d often feel as though I’d failed. Starting small allowed me to feel successful because I completed what I set out to do and I felt capable of doing it.
  4. Small is sustainable
    Starting small is a sustainable way of creating change. After a few weeks, I was consistently going for a run for 10 to 20 minuets. On days when I didn’t feel like it or I was really lacking in motivation, I went back to my jog around the block, just to maintain continuity in what I was doing.
  5. Small things, practised regularly, can have a big impact
    Small things, practiced consistently, can grow and become big changes.

The next time you’re looking to start something new, don’t underestimate the power of starting small, and allow yourself to enjoy feeling of success.

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