In the nutrition world, sometimes 1 equals 5

Have you ever wondered why it can be so hard to accomplish one small goal you’ve set for yourself? It’s supposed to be easy, right?. Just one thing to do to be a little healthier…but it never gets done!

For starters, aim to make the smallest slice of change that is consistent with your long term goal. For example, try introducing one serving of vegetables when you normally would have eaten none. This is much more doable than aiming to eat 4 servings per day if you currently eat only 1. Making small changes allows us to make more changes over time and to make big changes with less willpower. You’ll feel less of a sense of a struggle and be motivated to make more changes in the future.

Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life – tweet this!

Making a change to your eating or lifestyle can be tough because one change usually requires 5 steps (or more!), a fact that is often overlooked. The trick to overcoming the challenges is to know what those steps are and to tackle them one at a time. It sounds obvious, but without some practice, it is easy to forget how much work can go into changing.

Let’s continue with the example of vegetables. Most people want to eat more vegetables and the goal of “eating more” sounds simple enough, right? But wait, this means buying vegetables, having a recipe in mind, preparing them, cooking them, and eating them. If any of these steps are not completed, the whole plan is at risk of failing.

Some of these steps may come easy to you, while others may be harder. The fact is, if you aren’t able to make that so called “simple change” to your lifestyle, you may want to break down all the steps required to get it done and figure out where you are getting hung up. For example,

  • Is it getting to the store that’s so tough?
  • or is it that you buy vegetables you don’t know how to prepare them?
  • are you waiting to find the perfect recipe but never find the time to search for one?

Find what is tripping you up and swash it! For example, buy only veggies you like or only ones you know how to prepare. If getting to the store is the problem, buy canned and frozen versions so you don’t have to trek to the store every time you want to eat a veggie. Forget complicated recipes & focus on one simple one. Use the easiest cooking method you know (for me its the microwave so sometimes I splurge and buy the steamable veggie bags). If you gotta add some salt or dressing to make those vegetables appealing- then do it! Once you get into the rhythm of buying, preparing, making and eating more veggies you can start to forgo the dressings and salt and dressing. But for now keep it simple and yummy.

Don’t aim to be perfect all at once. Setting many small goals will give you many more jolts of motivation and more senses of accomplishments than one big goals. And who doesn’t deserve more pats on the back!?

One last tip- willpower is finite so relying on it when it is in short supply can set you up to fail. We all have natural high and lows of energy during the day so plan to chose high energy times to tackle goals or face temptation.

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