Making small changes by setting small goals

Having your goals in mind are great, whether that's knowing that you want to get fitter or healthier, drop a dress size or go down a notch or two on your belt, or even getting a handle on an existing health condition or injury. However, building and changing your habits in a sustainable manner is a little more complicated than just throwing yourself in at the deep end and hoping for the best.

Why?

The reason to make small changes rather than huge changes is pretty simple: making small changes is not nearly as overwhelming as making bigger ones. Once you've decided on your goal and you are ready to make a change, the troublesome part is committing and following through.

By focusing on one small, realistic thing that you can adjust a little bit at a time, you are not jumping in too fast. Simply choose something small and allow that to become a healthy habit before adding in a new one.

How?

In order to make these small changes make yourself a plan. Think about your goal and that first change you're going to make, and from that make a plan - be specific. If you're going to walk more, set aside a time each day that you can go for a walk; if you are cutting something out of your diet, write down a menu so you don't fall back.

Once you have identified short-term goals that can get you to your long-term goal, you need to break those goals into small steps. If your goal is to lose one stone in the next six months, you might choose to aim for losing one pound each week as a weekly goal. In order to reach that goal, you might make a small change like replacing fizzy drinks for water.

Remember to remain flexible, though. For example, don't beat yourself up about not managing that walk every single day of the week - managing it five days out of seven is still an achievement. Having flexibility will allow you to recognise how to correct yourself if you veer off the path towards your goal, so you can get yourself back on track.

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