Building Habits Slowly is the Foundation for Success

Working in New York City, Janelle found herself getting into some bad habits. She took the train to work and got off at the station that was closest to her office.

During one of her routine health checkups, her doctor was not very happy with her lab numbers and told Janelle she needed to change her ways; she needed to get more exercise and eat better.

Being a high performer, Janelle did some research on diets and found that adding more fiber to her diet was a great way to be more full and, hence, eat less. She also started eating oatmeal frequently for breakfast and increased her intake of fruits and vegetables.

She didn’t give up sweets altogether, as she had an admitted ‘sweet t0oth,’ but scaled back on them significantly. But she didn’t do this all at once. Janelle incorporated these diet changes over several weeks. Changing her habits was proving harder than she thought so going slow helped to change her patterns.

As for my exercise, Janelle decided to start walking which she started out slowly. For about a week or two, she decided to get off at the train station that was a couple blocks further away from where she  worked (both to and from work).

As she got used to the pace, she started taking the train station two stops away from her workplace. Since this took longer to walk, Janelle had to increase her pace a bit faster in order to make sure she wasn’t late for work.

Janelle continued this process of choosing train stops further away from her office until she was walking about three miles per day. She was also power-walking because of the distance and increased her productive times due to getting up earlier for this routine.

Because she built this up slowly, Janelle found this routine became a natural part of her daily routine and was now eager to these daily walks.

During her next checkup, the doctor was amazed at Janelle’s results and told her to keep doing what she was doing. Janelle’s results weren’t just an improvement – they were fantastic!

The point is not necessarily to go to work in New York City (unless you want to). It’s about building up good habits by doing so in a slow and steady manner. Had she tried to walk three miles in that first week, it’s likely that Janelle wouldn’t have been as successful.

By making small changes over the course of several months, it became a part of her  life and something that she enjoyed doing. Janelle used the principle of Kaizen, or starting small but building to create life-long habits. This actually primes the brain for safety so she could continue on.

If you want to create life-long habits, starting small wins the race (think of the tortoise and the hare). Celebrate your wins so and successes and feel the emotions from this as this is motivation to keep going. This works with any practice you want to adopt. Try it and see!

“Excellence is not a destination; it is a continuous journey that never ends.” ~Brian Tracy.

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