Health & wellbeing

Small steps to success

The key to making a change towards a healthier lifestyle couldn’t be simpler – it’s about taking baby steps.

The thought of making a big change can feel overwhelming – we get it. You probably think you have to work extra hard, be ultra tough on yourself, and set massive challenges. But we’ve got good news: being hard on yourself doesn’t work. Psychologist Robert Maurer says, ‘Big efforts to make a change can be counterproductive. A major challenge can trigger a flight or fight response in the brain that stops us acting positively. The solution? Make changes so small, you barely notice them.’

If you’re thinking, ‘I have too much weight to lose’
Your goal weight can seem a long way off, but it doesn’t mean it’s time to give up. Eat as healthily as you can, move as much as possible, and aim to lose just 1lb this week. Every pound is one step closer – and will spur you on to lose the same again the following week.

If you’re thinking, ‘I have no time to get healthy’
Setting yourself ambitious goals, such as an hour’s exercise every day, is a hard task – but everyone can find five minutes, right? Build exercise into your day by taking the stairs, standing up during meetings, or fitting in a walk around the block at lunchtime. Before you know it, these small steps will pay off.

If you’re thinking, ‘I can’t give up chocolate’
If you have to give up your favourite foods, you know you’ll end up giving in, so feel you might just as well give up altogether… Instead, try to make healthier snack choices for five days of the week, such as swapping cake for sugar-free jelly, and use your weekly SmartPoints allowance for a treat at the weekend.

No matter what your goal is, there are always going to be obstacles. But by taking a step back and thinking about achieving the mini goals along the way, you’ll stay more motivated. Try spending 10 minutes making a list of your mini goals and how you’ll reach them – before you know it, you’ll be celebrating your ultimate goal.