Adapted from the American Heart Association
Spring is here and it’s a great time to revisit your New Year’s resolutions. Are you on track with your goals? If you’ve come up short, don’t worry. Perhaps you set the bar too high, like changing your entire diet or starting an exercise program that’s far beyond your fitness level. You can get back on track by focusing on breaking down big goals into small, achievable ones. Better health starts by creating one tiny habit at a time.
To help you out, the American Heart Association has busted some myths about behavior change with its “Habit Coach” series.
Myth No. 1: No Pain, No Gain
If you’re suffering, you’re not likely to keep going. It’s not just common sense, it’s science. Breakthroughs in brain science show that positive emotions are actually what make habits stick. Be forgiving of yourself. If you make a choice that is not consistent with your goals, don’t beat yourself up but try to get on a healthier path tomorrow.
Myth No. 2: Go Big or Go Home
This mindset leads people to choose ambitious new habits that are designed to fail. But what we know now is that if we want to make big changes, we have to start small. In fact, the smaller and simpler a new routine is, the more likely it is to become a habit.
“Habit stacking,” is another way to make small changes stick. For example, you could take a daily habit, like brushing your teeth, and add in a little movement, like doing five squats. Before long, you’ll start into those squats without even thinking about it.
Myth 3: New Habits Don’t Stick Because We’re Not Motivated Enough
While motivation is part of the equation, experts say you shouldn’t rely on it. Motivation is usually high at the start of a new habit, but it will inevitably crash. A well-designed habit works on days even when you’re not feeling motivated. So cut yourself some slack. You’re not to blame when a habit fails. It’s time for a new approach that actually works.
Every journey, including your own journey to better health and well-being, begins with just one step. Learn more about changing behaviors and building better habits with American Heart Association. Check out their full Habit Coach playlist on YouTube and their Healthy Habit Hacks blog series online.