Why You Should Build One Habit at a Time

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step 

Since beginning my personal development journey, I have created and broken dozens of daily habits. I was a vegan, then a meat eater, Paleo, no sugar, high sugar, I’ve worked out three times a week, six times a week, five times a week. I have trained myself to wake up at 7am, 5am, 4:00am (my wife hates that). But anyway, you get the idea. 

Amidst years of building and breaking habits, I have learned that one of the biggest keys to building a new habit is building them one at a time. 

So often when we get a flash of inspiration we get a barrage of new ideas. For example, let’s say you have ascribed to high-carb doctrine for a number of years. Then, after an illness, you read the Primal Blueprint and your mind is opened to a plethora of new health and fitness ideas. Our tendency will be to try and make a huge overhaul of all of our habits and adopt a new “lifestyle”. I am going to predict that very few people will make it work. 

Why? 

Our bodies are not meant to take big changes lightly. Now, let’s say instead of completely changing your lifestyle at once, you choose to start with eating more fat and a little less carbs. That’s an easy habit that the majority of people can implement with no problem. Then after spending a month solidifying that habit, you can add in some explosive exercise. Spend a month solidifying that and then commit to getting 15+ minutes of sun each day. See where I’m going? 

There are lots of reasons to approach it this way, but one of the biggest is because it makes it easy to track and realize what changes are helping you feel and perform better. If you switch up fifteen variables at once, if you do feel better, it is hard to pinpoint which one had the most significant impact. But on the other hand, if you decide to walk 20 minutes a day three times a week, and stick to it for a month, you can be pretty sure that improvements in mood and energy are a result of that habit. 

So remember, good ideas usually come in bundles. Inspiration usually pushes us to make big changes. But if you want to make change that lasts, pace yourself and consider building one habit at a time. 

2 thoughts on “Why You Should Build One Habit at a Time

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