Small hinges swing big doors.
To be successful with a new year’s resolution, do one small “do-able” thing daily for the next 28 days.
One small change can make a big overall difference in our health at the end of a month – and especially over a year.
Brain Wansink’s research into how to eat less without really noticing it, found that lifestyle and health changes occurred when people did 1, 2 or up to 3 of the following small, helpful things for 28 days to make it a new habit :
* use a smaller plate
* drink from a tall, slim glass
* pre-plate your food instead of serving it family style
* use the Restaurant Rule of Two: besides the entree, order only 2 other items
* take small bites and breathe while chewing to enjoy the taste more
* instead of snacking from the bag, divide foods into smaller individual servings
* keep the bones/bottles to register how much you’ve eaten
* use the 1/2 rule: aim for 1/2 as much protein and carbohydrates while doubling your servings of vegetables and fruit
* put unhealthy, tempting food in foil or opaque containers (out of sight)
* pass on second helpings
* stop eating when you start to feel full rather than when your plate is clean
* turn off the TV when eating
And if your goal is to be more relaxed?
Less stressed in daily life?
Use the same concept. Do one small helpful thing every day.
Here are some quick things that are helpful when done frequently:
- relax your shoulders every time you are at a red light
- replay a great memory, or list things for which you are grateful, when waiting in line
- cue your jaw and waist to switch off tension whenever you pick up the phone / water bottle, walk through a doorway, or after every reading each e-mail
- take 3 breaths (slow + low + longer blow out) every time you sit down at the computer, dining table, or before starting the next project
- smooth your face, soften your eyes, and smile
- change your password to something like let tension go! or easy exhale! to remind you to do just that every time you log on
- for a moment, vividly imagine something, someone or some place that you care for without reservation
- remind yourself “I may not be able to control this situation, but I can control my reactions to this situation” when experiencing a stress, anxiety, or anger provoking event
Is there one small thing that you might do daily for the next 28 days?
For effective, practical stress and sleep management skills that enhance health and performance, check out the Stress Management & High Performance Clinic programs at http://www.SelfRegulationSkills.ca.
Kathy Somers, R.Kin, BCB