Rome wasn't built in a day. A jug fills drop by drop. Put one foot in front of the other, etc. You can take your pick, but the sheer number of sayings that emphasize the need to start small and be consistent provides a hint to its success.
With the holidays bearing down upon us, I think it's important to share this as a reminder. Every year I have clients who seem to either go into a full-on panic or get that "deer in the headlights" look when they think about surviving the seasonal celebrations. As if simply envisioning the spread of food, drinks and desserts will cause them to put on the pounds.
While there are some of us who do best by abstaining altogether, the rest of us can allow ourselves a few bites here and there without ruining our healthy endeavors. Go ahead, have a piece of pie or enjoy that side order of mashed potatoes.
What's this? A personal trainer and nutrition coach telling you it's ok to have dessert?! Blasphemy!
No, I haven't been spiking the eggnog. I simply know that if we plan out and allow ourselves small respites from our nutritional regimens we stand a much higher chance of overall success. But I highly recommend starting small and actually planning to allow yourself the treat. This will ensure you don't overdo it and don't feel guilty for falling off track.
On the other side of the calorie, when it comes to setting exercise goals to burn off those pesky pounds that hang around after the holidays, it's best to start small as well. I've seen far too many people hit the gym all eager-beaver style, ready to go, only to falter after a few weeks because they're too tired, sore or burned out.
Just as it is with decadent food choices, so it is with burning off the excess calories. Start small and realistic. Remember, the five minutes of walking you actually do is better than the 5 miles of running you don't.
By starting small, you allow yourself a better chance at succeeding. With that success you're able to pile on one small win on top of another. Stacking those small wins will lead to the results much faster than relying on a huge win that may never happen.
You can actually apply this principle to almost anything in life that seems overwhelming or daunting. Have a huge project and don't know where to start? Simply aim to write one page or even a paragraph. Looking at a full day of chores? Start with doing just one of them. Whatever the task or tasks, breaking it down into smaller pieces makes almost anything much more manageable.
Slow and steady wins the race. Look at whatever your currently procrastinating on and ask yourself, "How can I make this smaller and easier?" Whether you're looking to start a new dietary lifestyle, pick up an exercise routine or simply survive the holidays, starting small and thinking ahead can lead to major changes down the road.