We always dream of turning our lives around. The fantasy often involves waking up one day and finally getting everything done: going to the gym, work and give 110%, spend time with our family, and so on. In short, we imagine a complete turnaround.
But this rarely happens. In most cases, this fantasy will remain just a fantasy because we are being too ambitious. Instead, we can achieve this dream little by little, by making small changes in our daily life.
Small changes are sustainable
The first reason why is that it’s easier to do a small thing over and over. If you try to run for miles on your first day, you will get tired and drop it. If you try running for five minutes, this change is much more likely to stick around long enough to become a habit.
Eventually, you will build on these five minutes to turn them into ten, then fifteen, and then half an hour. But if you start with half an hour, you might not be able to follow this habit through to make it a habit. Start with five minutes.
Small changes allow you to introduce them into your life and make lasting changes, rather than pursue an ambitious goal that you will give up after two days. Five minutes every day are guaranteed to make more of a difference than half an hour every two months or just once.
Small changes fit most people’s lifestyles
Some people are able to drop everything and make a radical change. But most people can’t. They have responsibilities, relationships, jobs, and more. They might not be able to fit a trip to another country or a radical fitness program. However, most people can fit a small change.
You are probably busy with all the different things you have to do. Small changes ensure that you can introduce this shift into your daily life without disrupting your routine. You can carry on with all the tasks that need to be done but also work to become better and achieve your goals.
Small changes give a dose of motivation every day
If you wait until you have completed a huge project to feel satisfied, you will be waiting for a while. This is not a bad thing, but it can make you lose motivation in the process. But small tasks you complete every day give you a little shot of dopamine – the motivation chemical – every day as well.
It’s useful to have manageable goals for each day or most days, at least. This keeps your motivation fresh and steady, renewing it every time you feel closer to a goal. Small steps can be walked faster than a giant leap, as they help you recognize your progress.
Small changes can be easily modified
You might not get the right habit or path the first time you try. Maybe you want a diet and find that you hate eating the foods you choose. That’s OK and is part of the process. But small goals allow you to change course more easily. Just replace five minutes of this for five minutes of that.
With a small, incremental shift, you are moving towards a specific goal. But if you find that this goal doesn’t suit you, you can just as easily stop, without feeling like you have wasted a lot of time and money. You can pause, adjust your direction, and take up another small change.
You can stack up small changes for better results
If we have a problem, it’s rarely due to a single thing. For example, feeling bad might be due to a lack of sleep, poor nutrition, and no exercise.
While addressing each factor in turn will make an improvement, we need to work on all three for best results. Big changes might be a bit too challenging to undertake at once, but with small changes, you could actually begin working on several issues.
Dedicating five minutes to meditation, a few to exercise, and eating a vegetable with a meal are much more approachable goals than doing two hours of meditation, running a marathon, and changing your diet entirely. But even if they seem small, they make it more likely that you will get to the goal eventually.