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Your Habits Grow and Die with Baby Steps

Posted by & filed under Personal Growth.

If you’re reading this, you most likely want to create good habits and live a better life.

Everyone wants to be better. Everyone wants to read more, work out more, eat healthier. Everyone.

But not everyone succeeds.

Shoes on the Grass

And I can tell you why—they make it WAY too hard on themselves. If you want to succeed where others have failed, simply start smaller.

Right now, think about the ONE thing you most want to change in your life.

I know you just thought of something. It’s probably the one you have been thinking about for quite a while. That’s what we will focus on right now—fixing it forever.

Habits Grow From Baby Steps

If you haven’t noticed, most of the BIG changes in your life occur…very……slowly.

It’s because your behavior comes from the small decisions you make every day.

Take weight gain for example:

If you eat one extra burger per day, maybe you’ll only gain ½ ounce. But if you do it every day for a month…

You’ll gain almost a pound.

Now, think about if you did that every day for a year. That’s 12 pounds. From the time you gave up on your New Year’s resolution to work out, to the time you made the same resolution again this year… you have now gained 12 pounds.

The most deadly part about bad habits is this: They form so slowly, you don’t even feel them.

BUT…

This baby step method is also the secret to forming good ones.

How to Form Your New Habits

Let’s keep using the weight gain example. If you want to lose weight, that’s not going to happen in the next 15 minutes unless you put the Twinkie down. I know this does not apply to anyone reading this :-)

But that’s not enough, obviously. If you are serious about changing your behavior, you will have to create a lifestyle change. You will have to stop eating that extra Twinkie on a regular basis.

By eliminating one Twinkie a day over 30 days, you will begin to lose weight.

If you want to save money—you have to cut back on buying. Even if it’s as little as a dollar a day, you must do it. You can increase the amount later, but the critical thing is to get the habit formed.

HINT: Start using coupons. Money Saving Mom has a great coupon database if you’re looking to change your spending patterns.

Behavior Change Takes a While

It is simply a daily process.

I know you don’t want to hear that something will be hard. No one does. But here’s the thing about daily processes—they mostly get easier and easier.

It will only be hard for a little while. After some time, it will be automatic. You won’t even have to think about it.

I know that what ever you are trying to fix could be absolutely insurmountable. I confess totally that I do not understand where you are.

But what I do know is this: There’s a baby step that you can and should take.

You may not be able to do a hundred push-ups or a hundred sit-ups. But you can do one of each.

You may not be able to run a marathon. But you could walk from one end to the other of the house. Maybe even to the mailbox and back.

These decisions pave the way for permanent improvement.

So what are you waiting for? Stop waiting and start acting. There was never a better time than right now to do so than today.

Make This List

In this process, no one will be harder on you than YOU.

That’s why I want you to take 15 minutes to make this list:

Come up with 10 amazing things about YOU. Then, list the ONE habit you will change. This behavior is your new goal. The beginning of your list will keep you from feeling crippling discouragement.

If you would like a template for this list, download mine by clicking the image to the right (you’ll also get the audio version of this blog, read by me).

Try this for the next few minutes. I believe you’ll be shocked at the results…

What habit you are forming or breaking? Tell me in the comments section!

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  • Great post RobertD. I couldn’t help but think of the movie, What About Bob and baby steps. We can only eat an elephant one bite at a time and setting good habits is a lot like that. One step, one victory. Step two, another victory. Appreciate your reminder today.

  • From C.S. Lewis:

    “When the most important things in our life happen we quite often do not know, at the moment, what is going on…it is often only when we look back that we realize what has happened…what matters is the nature of change in itself, not how we feel while it is happening.”

    Focus on the habit, not the change.

    Since my surgery, I’ve fallen out of the habit of exercise. I’m finally cleared and ready to get back. I don’t feel like it, but that’s not the point. Thanks for the reminder, Robert.

  • Great reminder, Robert. I am learning more and more that life is simply a series of daily choices. Thank you so much for your encouragement! Aloha from Hawaii!

  • tbyrd123

    So true; reminds me of JRR Tolkien – Little by Little, One Travels Far.

    • Melissa AuClair

      Love this! To-the-point and profound!

  • Shelley Hess

    EXCELLENT CALL TO ACTION, ROBERT!!! Reading it first, I’m thinking “YES, EXACTLY!” all the way.

    Second, we LOVE your audio option, and knowing the energy you would infuse into this message, we went there! TWO seconds into it David’s laughing. When I inquire, he says “Robert’s SOOO RIGHT ON! He’s talking to ME!”

    Thank you, THANK YOU, for the reminder, and call to action!!!

  • Oh so right on Robert! The power of baby steps comes from keeping small promises to ourselves. We’ve broken so many promises to ourselves over the years. I’m going to lose weight. I’m going to write a book. I’m going to…whatever. But when we break those BIG promises into smaller ones (baby steps) it’s easier to actually KEEP them. Maybe the first step in writing a book is getting up earlier to make time to write. So, the baby step can be getting up 5 minutes earlier tomorrow morning. Keeping that small promise to myself could be the small spark that lights the BIG fire! Thanks for all you do!!

  • Great Post, much appreciated RobertD ;)

  • Melissa AuClair

    I’m forming the habit of moving systematically through projects instead of jumping around. I go by too much of what I “feel” like doing and that is not always what needs to be done. Great post and a timely encouragement.

  • Very timely post for me, Robert. My wife and I decided to get electronics out of our bedroom. I didn’t realize how much of a disturbance my phone had become to my sleep. The past two weeks, I have had the best sleep that I have had in years by changing that one habit. Thanks for this!