Taking It One Step at a Time

Whatever your reasons for getting healthy, breaking them down into manageable steps can lead to success.
Published March 9, 2016

Once upon a time, there was a crow perishing with thirst. This crow miraculously found a pitcher with water in it. But the water level was too low for the crow to reach. Desperate, the crow came up with a plan. It collected as many stones as it could carry, and dropped them one by one into the pitcher, until the water level was high enough to drink from it. There are many lessons that can be taken from this famous fable, but the main moral is this: Little by little does the trick.

It’s the same with any goal you’re working toward, whether it’s losing weight or training to run a 5K or even planning a family reunion. You may feel super­charged, but to make it to goal, you need to turn that motivation into action. Like the crow, you get there “stone by stone.” 

Create a behaviour chain
Looking down the road toward your ultimate weight­loss goal, or any big goal, can be a daunting vista. So take it in small steps that lead to where you want to be. Say, that as part of your weight­-loss efforts, you’d like to break out of your nightly ice cream habit that costs you an extra 8 SmartPointsTM values a day. To make this action stick, you can come up with a linked series of smaller actions. Your first one might be to substitute a piece of fruit as your 9 p.m. snack. You might follow that with an activity that takes you away from the kitchen and the siren song of that frozen treat: folding laundry, emailing a friend you owe a letter to, playing a game with your kids. Finally, use your My Day tracker or app to input your daily meals and snacks. Seeing where you’re at in your daily budget — without that ice cream hit — might be the final step you need to seal the deal on saying so long. If not, check out the Connect section of the mobile app for real life encouragement; or use our 24/7 chat to talk to one of our experts about overcoming your craving.

Consider the Ws
A good way to set up a strong behaviour chain is to include steps that cover as many as possible of these four Ws: what, where, when, and who. In the example above, the “what” is having fruit instead of ice cream, the “when” is 9 p.m., the “where” is not the kitchen, and the “who” is the Connect community.

Mind over matter
Getting to where you want to be, whether it’s weight loss or other goals, involves your mental muscle as much as anything: Hone your problem-solving skills and minimize negative thinking, and you’re more likely to stay motivated and succeed.