31. Tiny Habits Big Results

Hello.  As we are winding down with our summers and start gearing up for school to start, this is usually the time when we start thinking about changes in schedule and goals we want to conquer or dreams we want to fulfill.  So, I figured, this is the perfect time to talk about habits.

What is something you want to accomplish by this time next year? What about a little bit longer term, like in five years? Are you looking for a better relationship? Or maybe a better relationship with yourself or maybe you want to lose 10, 20, 30 pounds. Maybe you’re shooting for a promotion or to change careers. Whatever it is, did you know that you could decide right now that will happen? I know this because when you start seeing yourself there, you empower yourself with feelings that will motivate you to start acting like the person who was already there, and that my friends is what will eventually get you there.

Our habits are what we become.  And it’s usually the tiny ones that snowball you into amazing results. I saw the cutest sticker this past weekend. It said you gotta nourish to flourish. So cute!  

Our tiny little habits consist of showing up every day and nourishing our body, mind, and soul.  Now don’t get overwhelmed, I’m going to guess that you’re already doing lots of brilliant habits already, like brushing your teeth and taking showers, yes, these are tiny habits that will give you amazing results! I tried to think about different habits that I already do or will build up to as I continue to master each one at a time.

What are your physical health habits?  Simple things I do are getting enough water every day, taking my supplements, remembering to do my breathing exercises, and exercising each morning either with yoga or Pilates or some other strength training. And my husband and I try to take walks at night as much as we can.  I also try to limit my sugar intake and read food labels to make sure I’m physically nourishing my body.

Maybe you nourish yourself spiritually already by reading scriptures and praying daily and volunteering.  Or maybe you’ve already developed some good mental health habits like having a good sleep routine, noticing one thing that you are thankful for daily, or being mindful in the moment. Maybe you look around you when you walk and notice the little things.  When you eat your food, perhaps you chew slower and notice the taste more, the texture, and the temperature.  I’m working on being more mindful and embracing each moment, in the moment.  Maybe you only take half the pictures that you normally would.  When my kids were younger, I took so many pictures.  Especially at their sporting events.  They liked looking at them.  But after one game, I realized that I watched the entire game through the lens and didn’t experience one part of it real time because I was always focused on getting the perfect shot.  I have far less pictures of them halfway through their high school experience, but I enjoyed watching them in the moment and could appreciate their talents more fully because I was there, with them, in the moment, instead of trying to hopefully capture a moment.

Did you know your mind is the control center for your life? Remember, your thoughts are what will eventually create your results.  I recently learned that when our thoughts are just screaming at us or are overwhelming our day, we are too much in our left brain.  Making a daily habit of getting into your right brain will help you balance that.  Right brain activities are designed to allow your creative side to flourish.  To nourish that creative side you could paint, color, draw, meditate, garden, cook, scrapbook, play matching games, dance.  What is something you’ve always wanted to learn to do?  You don’t have to be good at it.  The right side of your brain doesn’t care about that.  It just loves being used. Learn to play an instrument, learn a new genre of dance, learn a new cooking skill.  Remember, when your thoughts are too loud, your right brain is needing attention.

What do you really want in life? I mean really, really want?  You may be thinking, I’m not capable of that, but you are so much more capable then you give yourself credit for!  And there is no right or wrong about where you are right now.  Its just where you are and what direction you want to go.

I know it can be a challenge to get started on something that we’re not familiar with. It’s quite common for any living creature with a brain. For example, I got my dog over the winter so it was months before we took her on her first walk because the ground was snowy or wet or it was just really cold outside. So she was probably 4 to 5 months old before we took her on her first walk. It was laughable what we had to do to get her to go. We put her leash on and I literally had to drag her outside the door and drag her down the front steps and she was not having it. I’ll post the video of her fighting me. I’m thinking if you only knew how much you would enjoy this, but she was just not having it.  So we finally just put her back in the house and took our walk. The next time we tried, we took my daughter and a bag of treats and my daughter would literally go 5 feet in front of my dog, Leila, and put the treat on the ground and Leila would run up and get the treat, then go another 5 feet for her next treat, and another 5 feet, and we did this for a good block.  Then we spaced the treat giving out a little further and a little further until she decided she was okay to start walking on her own. Now every time she sees me putting my tennis shoes on, she runs up and rolls over hoping that I’m going to put on her harness and take her for a walk. In fact, we’ll walk 2 miles and as we turn the corner to go in the house, she’s now pulling on the leash because she doesn’t want to go in. We kept consistent with her every day taking her on walks until she realized all the fun the world had to offer her outside her own little domain of our house and backyard.

Isn’t that funny how we can be the same way when we are starting something new? We plant our feet down and are mentally trying to find reasons why we don’t want to do it and then we finally get so tired or uncomfortable with our current circumstances that we decide it’s finally worth the change and it’s finally worth going through the fire to get to the other side. And then when we get to the other side, we think why didn’t I do this sooner? What was I waiting for?

So my question for you now is if you’re looking to have a better relationship, if you’re looking to build your confidence, if you’re looking to lose weight, if you’re looking to level up in your career, what are you waiting for? If you already knew what it would look like on the other side of that fire, I imagine the only regrets you’d have is not starting sooner. So what gets in your way? Is now not the right time? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told myself that story. But guess what, it’s a story that’s keeping you stuck where you are today. And as believable as it is, I’ll bet you could also tell me why this is the best time for you to start.

What’s the one thought that is holding you back from going after what you want the most? How can you change your thoughts about that just a tiny bit? I want you to think about a savings plan.  Say that you decide to put 1% of your paycheck every month into it.  It might not seem like a lot each month, but where will your savings be a year from now, five years from now, 10 years from now? Versus if you didn’t put anything in there at all because maybe your thought was “that’s such a little amount it won’t make that big of a difference.” And you stay stagnant. 

Now I know you’ve all heard the analogy of a snowball rolling down a steep hill.  Like the snowball, your momentum will continue to build on itself once it gets started.  But you have to get started.  You have to take those first steps to push the snowball.  You have to apply force.  Or in this case, you need to start that one tiny habit that maybe you’ll think isn’t making a difference at first, but as you continue to push and continue to show up for yourself each day the snowball will gain enough speed to need less and less force until it’s momentum is so strong, there’s no stopping you.

So, are there little things that you can do each day that might not seem like that big of a difference at the time, but will give you huge returns later? Even if you were to stay with the same job for 20 years and only give one percent of your paycheck every time you got paid, you’d have more than you have right now. And maybe you decide after five years you want to put 5% or 10% away. Remember the power of momentum and how it takes just a little bit seeing how small actions create those bigger results that you decide to put more effort in. It motivates you and your motivation grows and grows and then look what you have to show for it.

But where does it start? It starts with that decision to make that tiny change, that one small shift could make a world of difference. Take for example your health habits. When we are little, our parents teach us to brush our teeth morning at night. And I have to say I was not that great at keeping that habit until I got older. My tiny brain could not understand the importance of what that habit would create for me, or what the lack of it would create. As a little kid I didn’t want to take the time to do it. That’s all my brain could see was all the play time I was losing from having to brush my teeth.  Or not even the play time, but just that I’d rather be doing something else because brushing my teeth was not something that I thought was super fun. When we get older we recognize the benefits of having that daily habit. And it’s so habitual that we don’t even consider that it’s a waste of time because we’ve convinced ourselves that it’s well worth the time.

So what is that one thought that might be holding you back that you can shift just a little bit to start you in a new direction and that ultimately will help you gain momentum to where you are believing new things and are creating a completely different outcome for your life?

Just find one thought. Start with one believe that’s not serving you and shift it 1° to help you practice something a little better for yourself. Or maybe you identify as the type of person who you can just decide right now I’m done believing that thought, I’m done believing that I can’t do that right now I’m done believing that it’s not the right time and I’m going for it. You could just decide that you’re going to do a complete 180 and radically change your life right now without trying to gain momentum and just taking the plunge. And that’s OK too, but most people, especially when their goals are extraordinary, and maybe even feeling out of reach, they might need to start with that one degree and allow momentum to get them there. There’s no rush.

In the moment, tiny little shifts, tiny little habits that we create for ourselves seem so insignificant. They’re so small sometimes you cannot see the impact until a lot later when you look back and see how far you’ve come. These tiny habits that we are creating are in a sense lackluster because if I change my direction at one degree and move 5 feet I’m not going to be very far off from where I started, but keeping your goal in mind and keeping in mind where you want to be in the future will also keep you from convincing yourself that the small things you’re doing aren’t making a difference.

It’s easy to convince ourselves in that it’s not worth the effort because it’s such a small difference in the short run. If I changed my direction 1° and walked 5 feet I would end up maybe a few inches away from my original target, however if I were to change my direction of walking just one degree and went 1000 miles I would be over 16 1/2 miles away from my original target. Just that one degree, that one little shift, over time will completely change where you end up in life. You could go from having beautiful cavity free teeth from brushing your teeth every day to having no teeth from never brushing your teeth. I think I’ll continue brushing my teeth. But in all seriousness, where do you want to be one year from now? What’s one tiny thing you can do to shift your direction in a way that you will be glad you did a year from now?

And I want you to consider possible habits that you have that would have a negative effect in your life over the long run. What if every time you ate a meal, you took seconds versus every time you eat a meal, you take maybe a half cup less. If you were to save all of that extra food, if you were to save that half cup every meal, imagine how much food you would have in a week. If you eat three meals a day, that’s 21 meals, so we’re looking at 10 1/2 cups of food in one week that you didn’t consume. Versus if you took seconds where is that food ending up after a week? So tiny little habits.

With all the conveniences that we have today, our brains are wired more towards immediate gratification so when we make these tiny adjustments and we don’t see the effects of them right away, we might think it’s not doing anything and it’s not making a difference but, did you know that if you walked one mile a day at a 1°difference, after a year of walking in that direction, you’d be 6 miles away from where you would’ve ended up?

Aristotle said “we are what we repeatedly do,”  It’s easy to discount the small changes in the moment because sometimes it doesn’t seem like we’ve shifted at all, but the path to success is the daily, even mundane, changes that might seem so unworthy of our attention, but that compound into amazing results.

Ok, ask yourself:

What do I really, really want? And what tiny habit can I start today to embody the person I want to be in the future?

Do it for your future self.  And as you start adding up all these days practicing out of love for your future self, you’ll fall in love with showing up for yourself. And each time you show up for yourself you build that momentum towards the new you that, at one time, maybe you couldn’t have imagined. The unachievable will become achievable the out of reach will be reachable and eventually a part of who you are.

Now go conquer your dreams and have a brilliant week!  Bye!

If you’re looking for a life coach, I’d love to be yours.  If you want to lose weight, better your relationships, or need help with crafting your confidence, I’ve got you!  go to myinnerlove.com and sign up for a free mini-session today.

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