It’s “that time” of year where we all intend to make changes.
Starting in December I got “back on the wagon” tracking all the food I eat. I also started tracking my exercise. I discovered that I eat a lot more than I realize and that I am almost completely sedentary.
Rather than set a New Year’s resolution to “get fit” or “lose weight” which is doomed to failure, I’m working out a fitness system to help me make little changes each day.
The headline is a paraphrase of Scott Adams (author of Dilbert) and it’s true. Social science research shows that we cannot will ourselves to decide on a big goal and immediately make major changes in our behavior.
The key is to decide on something shockingly small and tie it to something you already do consistently. For example, one researcher wanted to floss more consistently, so he said “after I brush, I will floss one tooth, and then celebrate my success.” He found that before long he was flossing all his teeth regularly.
There’s a powerful social science researcher from Stanford who offers a free program to help you implement change.
A summary of his program is here: along with a TED talk on the same topic
One Final Thought
Instead of a “resolution” – What small change can you make? How can you add it to a routine that you already have in place?
We decided to help our kids be more active when it came to recreation. We instituted a rule where they need to walk a mile (2 laps around the block) to “earn” a 20 minute Wii turn. It worked so well that we had to set an upper limit! Some of our kids did a 5K just to earn more playtime!