by Paulette Lambert, R.D., C.D.E.
Director of Nutrition
California Health & Longevity Institute
For many of us, the New Year comes with thoughts of change. After the stress and over-indulgence of the holidays, we are left inspired to transform our body, mind, and overall health. The result, a New Year’s resolution to eat healthier, lose weight, or exercise more. Unfortunately, we now know only 8% of us actually keep these resolutions. Why? Because we make drastic changes that create a lot of discomfort, are too difficult, and set ourselves up for failure.
Fortunately, experts have been studying the science of behavior change for years and have shown that making small changes help people achieve success iwth long-lasting change and BIG results! Moreover, since it takes 66 days to develop a new habit for 97% of us, its is easier to maintain a small change than a large one.
The Concept of Kaizen
Kaizen, a concept built on the premise of small steps, shows that small changes are doable. They do not register as significant change with our brains, and therefore, the change is more likely to happen. Alternatively, large changes are associated with deprivation, difficulty, and failure.
Four Steps to Change
- Identify your strategy for a healthier you
- Pick two strategies and define your small steps
- Practice your two small steps for two months
- Select another two steps and repeat
Six Small Steps for a Healthier You in 2018
- Eat Well: Eat two cups of greens
- Rest: Go to sleep 10 minutes earlier
- Floss: Floss just your front teeth
- Exercise: Put on your running shoes once a day
- Hydrate: Drink a glass of water every time you brush your teeth
- Reduce Stress: Take a deep breath each time you pick up your phone
If you find you are not successful, try a smaller step. In the next few months you will have accomplished a significant change that has a major impact on health. This year you can beat the New Year odds!