Small Steps – What Does That Mean?
When starting a healthy lifestyle program like CalorieKing, you’ll probably hear us talk about “taking small steps.” Why do we talk about small steps, and what exactly are they?
First, for some like me it’s small steps that got you off track in the first place. It was that extra muffin each day and avoiding getting up from the computer when work gets too busy. Each of these small things became a habit that ended up with big lifestyle miss-steps.
Add to that, expecting to make a big change in a short time can be overwhelming – and unrealistic – for most of us. Jumping in to the deep end of the pool definitely earns us credit for effort and intention, but can you keep treading water forever hoping to see a change? Expecting something big to happen and not seeing big results are a sure way to lose motivation and fall off the wagon. I’ve been there. Many times.
Smaller steps – while sounding unimpressive can really help you get to that big goal in the end. Why?
- A small step is just one thing to focus on and with its simplicity is easier to achieve. With achievement comes the positive reinforcement that helps make that small step a habit that you build on.
- Evaluating and recording the small everyday steps you take and how you feel about them can help you get to know yourself again. How did I get to the point I’m at, and why is this habit so important (good or bad)? Learning about what your emotional triggers are will help you recognize them in the future and make a plan on how to act.
- The real goal is to become healthy inside and out, and that is a lifelong journey. If it took small steps to get you in a bad habit rut then it will be small steps in the right direction to turn it around into healthy habits. Fad diets often ask you to make big changes such as drinking a concoction for five days – you may well lose weight but was it a healthy process? What are you going to do when the fad diet is finished? Have you really learned anything? Small steps, repeated over and over add up to a plan you can use to maintain your health in the long term.
So what is a small step? It is different for everyone. Some focus on making sure they log every day. Others focus on a small food change – adding in more fruits or cutting down on sugar. For some it is exercise – walking 10 minutes a day until that becomes easy and more minutes can be added. For me, it was taking the step to sign up for a Pilates class.
Small steps don’t just have to be about your diet or fitness. Maybe it is looking at curbing your stress levels that may be leading to snacking, or perhaps it is getting more sleep. I need to work on that part!
Many turn to journaling, blogging or listing your day and your habits somewhere to help you find one thing that you want to start changing. Sometimes there is something in your daily pattern that is holding you back and you wouldn’t realize it without writing it down. I know that worked for me – I didn’t realize how much I was snacking until I confronted it in print.
If you are already on the journey and are building on your small steps, you are on the right path and moving forward. Three cheers to everyone for making a daily achievement! If you are looking for new steps to try, there is a great website devoted entirely to the idea of making small changes. It is full of great advice about the strategy behind making change and how to get help in doing so. I loved the really creative list of things to add to your day that make positive change. I know I need new ideas all the time.
Small steps take courage. They take patience and determination. But you know what? Small steps move you forward. Small steps allow you to pick up and start again if you have a miss-step as the mountain isn’t as big to climb.
I look forward to hearing about what small steps you made when first starting out – or whether you will try any of the small steps suggested on the website above. Let’s get talking in the community about our good efforts and achievements!