When thinking about making a change to improve one’s health, lots of people think the way to do it is to make elaborate preparations. If it’s a change in diet, people might buy and read a few books. Choose a new way of eating. Clean out their kitchen cabinets of foods that are not on the new food plan. Buy a new kitchen appliance.
If it’s an exercise plan, they might buy expensive equipment, sign a contract for a year’s membership at a local gym or plan to do an Ironman triathlon in six months.
You have to know your personality. For some people, maybe those elaborate preparations work. But for most of us, we end up falling flat and disappointing ourselves. Not to mention wasting a lot of money.
So what can you do?
Psychologist Dr. Doug Lisle says, “Six pushups, eight sit-ups, a little jogging in place until you are tired. Right in your living room. You can begin right now….and in just a few minutes, you have discovered the great secret to change.”
When it comes to food, Jon Gabriel, author of The Gabriel Method, has a similar suggestion. He calls healthy foods “live foods”. He counsels all his clients to add more and more live foods into their diets. Eventually, according to Gabriel, the healthy choices will multiply and crowd out the junky food choices. It will happen organically, without you having to force yourself to make a huge lifestyle change all at once.
The simple idea behind making long-lasting changes is just to begin with a small step. If there’s a food that you can’t resist, get that one food out of your house. If you can’t make a commitment to a weekly Tai Chi class, try moving your arms and legs slowly and rhythmically for three minutes.
If it’s not your nature to need a huge commitment to motivate you, don’t do it. You don’t have to get overwhelmed. Just remember the Chinese proverb “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Just take one step toward better health.