One Small Step At A Time
Size does matter
Many of us have come to believe that big steps equals big results, so it stands to reason that if you want a big change then you have to, well, make big changes.
Which is certainly true in many areas of life, but when it comes to health it seems that for many, the opposite might just get them there faster.
A recent study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society showed that for each 30-minute increase in daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity in women aged 63 to 99 years old, there was roughly a 40% reduction in all-cause mortality. That probably seems pretty fair given how we all know how essential exercise is for health.
What they also found was that the same amount of very light activity like housework, gardening or a 30 minute stroll, led to a 12% reduction in mortality.
Why is this important?
Yes of course 40% improvement is better than 12%. But 12% is better than no percent. Say you are a completely sedentary person. Asking you to do 30 minutes of vigorous exercise every day would seem insurmountable. So much so that you'd likely go home and sit on the sofa.
As step in the right direction
If however we agreed that you could stroll out your front door for 15 minutes, turn around and stroll home, there's a much higher possibility that you'd comply. Done often enough, it would become the norm. A new habit.
Similarly, if you are a junk food stress eater and your friend tells you her secret to successful weight loss was no sugar, no alcohol, no coffee, no pasta pizza wraps sandwiches etc etc etc for 42 days straight, it'd probably be enough to send you grabbing a large bag of chips and a kit-kat on your way to said sofa.
And trust me, you aren't alone in this behaviour.
When we believe that only big old ugly changes can make any difference, we are less likely to take action. When however we understand that even light activity or cutting out dessert after dinner, can make meaningful progress, we'd be a lot more likely to do it.
So you try that small step. And it's doable. And it feels good. So you're inclined to take the next step, and then the next, and another. Until such time that you are off and running.