This is one small habit that will turn your life around. I don’t know about you, but I’ve lost count of how many times I started a new diet or savings plan to go on that trip I’ve been dreaming about for years.
It always starts out great but never seems to last. If that strikes home for you, then let me tell you what I’ve learned about changing your life for the better… It’s actually quite shocking how simple the solution to this problem really is.
I promise I’m not gonna bore you with the usual “eat healthy and start working out” mantra you probably know all too well. We all want to achieve a healthy lifestyle, save some money, or just do that thing that’s been on our bucket list for years! It’s the journey that becomes too bumpy, and we give up before even truly experiencing the benefits.
But maybe it’s time to take a hint from Neil Armstrong and realize that small steps can be the answer to taking giant leaps. All you need to succeed is to remember the importance of pace!
It’s the classic “Rome wasn’t built in a day” philosophy that usually gets disappointed sighs or eye-rolls. Of course, you want to bring change to your life and see the results right away! But take a step back and try to remember how you got to where you are now.
How many years have you been building on your bad habits and unhealthy lifestyle? You have to set a steady, realistic pace to change these years of bad habits into good ones.
All those promising New Year’s resolutions like saving up, eating healthy, and exercising only last up until a bad day at work or a fight with your partner (or a BOGO at the donut shop down the road!). Why do we do this to ourselves every year? (Or, if you’re like me, quite a few times a year!)
At a certain point, you just start realizing that you’re setting yourself up for failure, and no one likes failing. So instead of trying again, we make excuses. “I don’t have time.” “I can’t afford it.” “It just wasn’t meant to be.” (“How can a pass up such a great deal on donuts!?”) Sound familiar?
Swopping out bad habits for good ones is no easy feat, and it’s not supposed to be. Open up any dictionary, and look up the word “habit” – it’s “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that’s hard to give up.”
Did you get that last part? It’s hard to give up bad habits. It’s hard to swap your daily fries for a salad. It’s hard to suddenly start taking an extra hour out of your busy day to hit the gym.
And that’s ok! Cut yourself some slack, and stop feeling guilty! Slowing down can actually help you make those healthy changes you so desperately crave. And let’s face it, we do crave it! We want to look and feel good, and we really, really wanna be financially independent.
But maybe you should stop trying to become the perfect version of yourself overnight. This is the main reason people give up: they push themselves too hard from the get-go. So take a deep breath, slow down, and check it out…
If you want to start saving some money to pay off your debt or actually go on that long-postponed getaway you’ve been dreaming of, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Don’t start off by putting half your salary into a fixed savings account and starving yourself for a month.
Take baby steps. Cut back on something small at first. Stop buying coffee every morning and take a thermos with you to work. Pack a lunch while you’re at it! Perhaps you could join a carpool to get to work? Once you get used to these little changes, you can add something else, like cutting back on expensive nights out or watching your energy consumption to bring your bills down.
Slowly but surely you’ll start noticing you have more disposable income towards the end of the month. Once this happens, you can start saving up what’s left at the end of the month and not what you still need to survive till payday comes along.
I know this means that dream vacation will have to be postponed again. But once you get into the habit of really saving every month and pacing yourself with these small adjustments that turn into big lifestyle changes, you might even get to go on awesome vacations on a regular basis without stressing about the budget at all!
The same goes for exercise. You tell yourself that going to the gym three times a week is a good start, but that’s just not true. It may seem like three days out of a whole seven-day week is a small change, but for someone who hasn’t exercised for months or perhaps even years, it’s pretty drastic!
At first, you might feel good about pushing yourself to keep up with this fast pace and you can go strong for a week or two, but chances are you’ll burn out before long and that determination will fade.
You’ll start skipping your workouts more often for any reason that seems slightly understandable in your own mind, like a fight with your mom or your boss overloading you at work. Not only is it hard to keep up with a new intense routine, it can also have really serious consequences.
Research posted in an Australian sports journal discussed how intense exercise regimens increase the chances of developing Leaky Gut Syndrome. That doesn’t sound too good, does it? Well, it’s not! This is a condition that leads to the weakening of the lining in your gut.
Now, that lining is there to keep all that icky stuff in your gut from oozing into your bloodstream. If this happens, your blood becomes toxic, and you can get really sick. Research has also shown that overdoing it when it comes to exercise can lead to abnormal heart rhythm, loss of bone density, serious muscle injuries, and even a weakened immune system.
So instead of punishing your body with a sudden and strict workout routine, cut yourself some slack. You’re still human, after all. Set the pace at a rate that you can easily keep up with. Try starting out with a beginner yoga session once a week or a walk in the park every few days. This will be a much more realistic commitment to keep, and you probably won’t give up on it so easily.
And again, once you get used to these small changes, you can slowly add to them and work your way up to going to the gym three times a week or jogging on a regular basis. It’s totally possible if you only allow yourself the time you need to get there. Extreme diets are also not the answer to a healthier lifestyle.
If you suddenly deprave your body of all the food it’s been used to for so long, your brain will trigger survival mechanisms. Yes, that’s right, your body will think it’s starving and trigger cravings to try and get you to eat. What’s even worse, dietitian Lisa DeFazio warns that rapid weight loss can even make your body start using your muscle mass as a fuel source.
Plus, it’s not like you’re doing yourself any favors. An article by the National Center for Eating Disorders states that rapid weight loss leads to lethargy and slows down your metabolic rate. That means you don’t burn as many calories and, thus, lose weight as quickly as you did when you started your diet.
So, when that number on the scale doesn’t change, you lose hope and give up. On top of that, you just feel drained. Isn’t the idea of diet and exercise to feel better? That same article states that to lose weight in a healthy and consistent way, you have to do it gradually.
Multiple studies also show that if you lose weight at a slow consistent pace that’s healthy for your body, the chances of it staying off for good are a lot higher! This is thanks to the fact that this weight loss has become a lifestyle instead of a sudden drastic change.
Yet another reason to do it slow and steady once, rather than having to keep trying and disappointing yourself if you don’t reach your unrealistic goals. So I’ll say it again, pace yourself! You’re not invincible – your body needs to learn to cope with major changes, or it will fight back! One more tip before you start this slow yet promising new journey: start by only changing one thing at a time.
What I mean by that is, don’t start with a new diet and workout plan at the same time. If you want to change your entire lifestyle, it’s better to start with one small aspect and allow yourself to get used to each change before introducing the next one.
So don’t try to make too many changes at once, however small they may be. You’ll still get to your destination even if it takes a bit longer. But it will be worth the wait!
So, what goals do you wanna work toward slowly but surely? Let me know down in the comments! And if you found this post helpful, then give it 5 stars “One Small Habit That Will Turn Your Life Around by Bright Side”, share it with your friends!
Credit: Bright Side