**This tip is derived by a concept within a booked called Switch by Chip and Dan Heath
#1 Tip for Achieving Successful Habits: “Shrink the Change”
“The gates of large goals are lined with small accomplishments” -Chip Heath
The #1 way to be successful with a goal is to “Shrink the Change.” The only way to get to your larger goals is to accomplish smaller goals first, and build momentum.
We recommend lowering the bar first, and then raise it after you have had some accomplishments. When you set the bar high from the beginning, you may become overwhelmed. This contributes to individuals giving up before they even get started. The emotional (dominant decision making) part of our brain has no trouble conquering these mini milestones, and as it does, something else happens. With each step, this part of our brain feels less scared and less reluctant, because things are working. With each step, we start feeling the change. A journey that started with dread is evolving, slowly, toward a feeling of confidence and pride.
Let’s take this tip and make it practical. I am going to use weight loss as an example, however, these principles can be applied to ANYTHING.
The Common Approach
George is looking to start his year with a clean start and wants to lose 20 pounds by the end of the month. After some quick math he figures he needs to lose approximately 5 pounds per week to hit his target. Although this is not an impossible goal, it is quite lofty!
George makes a variety of changes to his routine and has great success in the first week! However, in week 2, he only loses 2 pounds. George is frustrated but he is still committed to his goal! George dials his routine in even further for week 3, but to his dismay, he has only lost 0.5 pounds. Although George is still making progress, he is furious! How could this be! George assesses his time remaining within the month to achieve his 20-pound goal, however, he knows he cannot possibly lose 12.5 pounds in the final week and decides to throw in the towel.
If you’ve ever tried a weight loss attempt of your own, this may not sound too dissimilar. Would it surprise you to learn only 5% of people who lose weight keep it off for one year?
A New Approach
Ann is also starting her year off with a clean start and also wants to lose 20 pounds. The difference between Ann and George is she is not tied to getting the weight off as quickly as possible and is just going to try and make a few small changes and see what happens. To keep herself accountable and track to see if her changes are working, she has set a mini goal to lose 0.5 pounds each week.
During the first week, Ann decides to focus on adjusting ONE habit. She will write down everything she eats onto a dedicated piece of paper. At the end of the week, Ann steps on the scale and is thrilled to find she has lost a whopping 3.5 pounds! This is huge progress to her small goal and she feels thrilled. Although she is tempted to raise the bar for the next week, she maintains her focus and keeps up her new habit. After week 2, Ann steps on the scale and again is astonished, she has lost another 2 pounds. She can’t believe her eyes because she has again exceeded her goal. In week number 3, Ann has a VERY stressful week at work and is nervous to step on the scale. However, when she finally does, she is again thrilled because she has lost 0.5 pounds. She thought for sure the scale was going to move in the opposite direction but instead she was able to achieve the goal she set out for, although she knows that if she really pushed herself that she could achieve more. At the end of week 3, Ann continues strong on her journey and is much more likely to achieve her final goal and potentially more in the future if she desires.
Call to Action
You may be thinking to yourself, this makes sense but why the heck is Vimocity talking about weight loss? Again, this is an analogy for how to approach all habits within your life. When initiating a goal, set the weekly/monthly target low enough so that you are 100% certain that you could hit it during the most stressful weeks.
On a more relatable topic, let’s play out a scenario with Movement Prep. It would not be uncommon to have anywhere from 5-9 movements within your Prep routine. This could take you anywhere from 3-10 minutes to complete. If you have not been as good about implementing Movement Prep into your routine in the last month or two, instead of committing to the entire routine every day, how about just ONE move? One move takes about 30-60 seconds to complete, who doesn’t have a spare 30 seconds!? Also, we know that the first 5 seconds is the hardest part, once you get started, there is nothing stopping you from doing more. Remember, when you have a low bar to step over, you are more likely to start in the first place.
So give this a shot! Try this with a goal of your own. We believe in you and we are here to act as a resource for you. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.