Let’s face it—change is hard.
If it wasn’t, the chronic disease epidemic wouldn’t exist.
But the good news is that we can use smart strategies based on recent discoveries about how the brain works to make change easier.
One of these strategies, is “shrinking the change.”
This means breaking a big change—like starting an exercise program—into smaller, more doable chunks.
Shrinking the change increases our chances of success for several reasons:
- It reduces our resistance to getting started
- It gives us a series of small wins, which increases confidence
- It builds momentum
And sometimes, even the small changes themselves can have a surprisingly big impact.
For example, consider a 2017 study which showed that replacing just 30 minutes of sedentary time with light physical activity reduced the risk of death from all causes by 11 percent and death from cardiovascular disease by 24 percent!
The researchers also found that replacing just 10 minutes a day of sedentary time with moderate-to-vigorous physical activity resulted in a whopping 38 percent reduction in deaths from cardiovascular disease.
That’s pretty impressive.
If you’re completely sedentary and you start off with a goal of exercising four times a week in the gym for 45 minutes, you might find that goal difficult to stick with.
But if you start by replacing just 30 minutes a day of sitting time with light physical activities like walking, gardening, or gentle yoga, that’s much more doable.
You’ll feel better and you’ll see results right away, which will give you the confidence and motivation to move on to the next step.
Properly trained health coaches know how to support people in making smart changes like this. But you can also use these concepts yourself to make your own change efforts more effective.
Give it a shot and let me know how it goes!