By Dolores Day
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”
— Vincent van Gogh
Success in any area of our life, especially our health is neither magical nor mysterious. Great health is the natural consequence of repeating the same good habits consistently. There is a litany of choices all day, every day, that we can participate in that will either improve our health, or deteriorate it. Put another way, in every moment of every day we are either choosing to positively or negatively impact our mind and bodies.
It is easy to get overwhelmed looking at the big picture of where are health is today and all of the things we are doing or not doing. Typically, we are focusing on the negative. We lose sight of the fact that if we break it down to one new action step every month, within a one-year period we will have implemented 12 new things that absolutely will impact our overall health. Twelve small habit changes have the potential to make one large transformation in our health! If you are ready to pick up one small stone at a time to move the mountain as Confucius says, then try this powerful strategy in your life.
First, define what great health means to you. In order to change anything, you must identify what that looks like for you. For me, health is simply a state of well-being where the mind, the physical body, and the emotional self feel balanced and are operating at their highest possible state.
Second, take inventory of what you ARE doing every day to care for your whole self and acknowledge and celebrate those efforts. Most of us don’t take credit for all the self-care we are already engaging in. Write down a list of 10 to 20 great habits you do have and affirm and approve yourself.
Third, move forward by choosing just one new healthy habit of your choice to add consistently. I call it the power of plus-one! Let’s face it, we can all do one more of anything in our life. It’s the act of starting so small that you can achieve success. The power of plus-one is so basic that most overlook it. Yet, overtime it will make a drastic dent in our health for good! Some easy plus-one’s are to begin to carry a water bottle with us everywhere we go, cut back on caffeine, begin a journaling practice for emotional health, or start a daily gratitude practice. Brainstorm what you think is easily attainable for you and that feels good, because when you achieve that success this month and feel good, it makes it easier next month to apply the power of plus-one again.
Last of all, shoot low. That’s right, don’t ask too much of yourself.
When we shoot low and make it simple, we actually accomplish the task which encourages us overtime to say, “Look we did it! That wasn’t so hard! Let’s do it again!”
This trains the subconscious mind to repeat the behavior. Your subconscious mind will also approve this success and feel more confident. When we feel more confident, we are 90% more likely to continue. We want our mind to think way more of this. Positive!
And with more positive, confident thoughts and feelings, they will encourage us to take even more, one stone, or step at a time. My clients are often floored when I require so little of them by adding 10 minutes of daily exercise. They think, “Why bother?”
But when they do the math, they realize that was 70 minutes they didn’t participate in last week or 280 minutes they didn’t bother with last month! You get the point.
We live in a world of socially accepted over achieving, hustling, and working hard. But the truth is most truly successful happy people do not even identify with these words at all. No, they have learned by doing the small things in life that are simple and easy they feel good.
And when the mind/body feels good, it repeats the behavior. When the mind/body feels bad, it resists, throws a tantrum or two and eventually willpower is overrun by our self-protective mechanisms so intelligently placed within us for survival.
We must start small and make one decision. Nothing changes in life until we decide. Let us bring into focus a series of small positive steps to create a massive shift and improvement in our health over time. By focusing on what we can do, instead of what we can’t, we discover what we will do one step at a time!
(Connect with De on Instagram @de.day.love or at www.de-day.com. email firstname.lastname@example.org.)