If you aren’t quite used to living a healthy lifestyle at the moment it can be quite daunting about how big all the changes can be.
The thought alone of everything you “should” do is enough to create fear, anxiety and uncertainty. Eat well, exercise more, watch less TV, spend more time outside. It can be very overwhelming.
The good news though is you don’t have to worry about any of this. The only thing you need to worry about right now is the one thing.
What is the One Thing?
The one thing is the smallest, easiest thing you can do to create a habit. Now don’t underestimate the power of this one thing, no matter how small it is.
The one thing has magical powers because the one thing can change the trajectory of your entire life. The one thing can build confidence in your own ability.
The one thing can relax fear and uncertainty about “how hard it is” or “I can’t do it”.
Where to Start
Choosing where to start is quite easy. You want to pick a task that you are confident you can turn into a habit.
You should rate the confidence level at 7 or higher. If you are unable to rate it this high, then break it down into a smaller task, or pick something else.
Here are some examples:
- Walk 10 minutes a day (around the block, or on your lunch break)
- Eat a healthy breakfast every weekday (eggs, for example)
- Take a healthy lunch to work every weekday (protein and salad)
- Buy a bigger water bottle (1.8-2.2L) and drink it all each weekday
- Perform the 7-minute workout 3 times a week (check your phone for suitable iPhone/Android apps)
Remember to go easy on yourself. It’s easy to expand the duration or frequency of your task over time, but in the beginning building a sustainable habit is far more important.
Daily Personal Victory
While some habits are timebound if your habit is able to be performed early in the morning this is by far the best time.
By winning the start of the day you reduce the chance of skipping it later on due to “unforeseen reasons” (ie; mental excuses).
If your one thing is accomplished before you even truly start the day, you have already won the day. It doesn’t matter what else happens.
How Long is My One Thing?
I recommend doing your one thing for at least 2 weeks, if not 4 weeks before attempting to add anything else to it.
Habits take time to adapt to and by increasing the number of habits you are trying to build at once, you decrease the chance of the habits sticking. Think sequential rather than parallel.
Once you have spent a significant amount of time doing your one thing, and you are comfortable it has become “one” with your routine, then you may add to it with another.
Again, just follow the same rules. Pick something easy that you’re comfortable and confident doing, break it down if need be, and repeat the process.
Experience Builds Confidence
As long as you are making your goals realistic, achievable and measurable you should find that each time it gets easier. Your confidence should be building with each successive habit.
Remember, it’s quite normal to experience fear and uncertainty in the beginning. Even if you are quite confident, even overconfident initially, sometimes the initial motivation can be lost later on.
But any fear and doubt is just a story. Don’t get sucked into fortune telling. Look back at experience. If you have been successfully doing your habit for a week when doubt sets in, use that week to reinforce the fact that you did it.
So why would the next week be any different? Thank your mind for the wonderful fairy tale, and keep moving forward.
In 30-60 days this unfamiliar habit will feel completely normal and as weeks, months and years go on all of the habits you build will seem like they’ve been with you your entire life.