The New Year brings a sense of anticipation. It also marks the onset of resolution making and the inevitable resolution breaking—sometimes in swift succession. Why is it so difficult for us to change? What leads us to sabotage our good intentions? How can we resolve to make and keep new behaviors that promote health and wellbeing?
Christine Carter, Ph.D., and author of The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work, has some practical and doable thoughts on the matter. To her, making any positive change lies in the art of learning and practicing “baby steps.” She believes (and now I do, too) that, to make a new habit stick, it has to take minimal effort. You decide what you want to achieve and then make the first step so simple that it becomes part of your life without you even noticing it. In other words, turn your resolutions into itsy, bitsy actions that become part of your routine. Her suggested expenditure of time? Less than 5 minutes!
Here’s an example of how this is working in my life. Like many of my fellow boomers, I’ve amassed my share of stuff over the years. Closets and drawers are bulging with long forgotten mementos, clothes I no longer wear and various odds and ends that have remained where they lie for years. The thought of cleaning my entire crap collection is overwhelming. But… guess what? Now, thanks to Christine, I devote 5 minutes every day to sorting and pitching. I still have a long way to go, but the piles are growing smaller on a consistent basis. And, after a few months, I’m amazed at my progress.
At any rate, I invite you to check out her book and listen to the interview I had with Christine on Feisty Side of Fifty Radio. Now is the perfect time to embark on your own baby steps. You’ll never know how far you can go by taking one itsy, bitsy step each and every day!