Making Small Changes a Habit Can Have Long-Term Impacts

Resolutions can take many forms and can be introduced anytime of the year.  Think about the smallest change you want to make (not something you have to do) and then think about how to make it a habit.  The goal is to experience the success of making a small change that can have a lasting impact, and will have the additional benefit of a positive health outcome.

For example, if your goal is to increase your water intake, start with the goal of drinking an additional quarter cup of water each day and then determine what time of day it will be easiest for you to drink it.  It might be while you’re preparing your morning coffee/tea, or it may work best for you at lunch or dinner time; you may decide to replace your usual drink with water.  If you have success with a quarter cup of water, then try increasing to half-cup of water the next week.  When you have successes with these types of small changes, it can give you the confidence to tackle other changes you want to make.

So whether it’s increasing your water or vegetables intake, increasing the amount of sleep or exercise, reducing the amount of screen time or the amount of time you spend alone – break it down into manageable chunks.  For example, you may be unable to sleep in an extra half-hour in the morning, but perhaps you can aim to get to bed 15 minutes earlier.  Getting up during commercials to walk about your home may turn into a more extended walk outside at a time that makes sense for you.  Having regular conversation with others can also keep you connected with your network of support as you look for ideas on how to build your own chunks of healthy habits.  Remember:  identify small changes, figure out how to make them a habit, and the health benefits will follow.