I’m going to start by telling you something you probably already know and really don’t want to hear: Most attempts to overhaul your lifestyle will fail within 3 weeks, tops.

  • Those new Biggest Loser workout DVDs that’ll shape your ass? Getting dusty.
  • New P90X workout set that cost you $300? You’ll never finish it.
  • Sick, fat, and nearly dead? Now you’re sick, fat, and nearly broke.

It’s not for lack of trying, though. That first burst of energy from lifestyle overhaul makes us feel like we run the world! The whole “I’m going to flip my life on its head and drop 40 lbs in 6 week with this new Gazelle/Wii Fit/super strict diet plan!” That massive life overhaul doesn’t work, partially due to homeostasis (see Wikipedia for definition). When I work with clients, I take a different approach–instead of massive leaps in behavior, take little baby steps.

Where Do I Start?

The best thing about this baby step approach is that you can start right where you are. There’s no need to buy expensive workout equipment or a $500 juicer. You can take that first step on your new lifestyle journey any day you choose because it’s such a tiny step. Here’s some ideas:

  • Drink one more glass of water per day.
  • Eat one more serving of green vegetables.
  • Park your car 4 spaces further than you’d normally park.

You see, none of these are exactly earth-shattering ideas. By themselves, they won’t lead to much of a change. Then again, the best starts tend to lead to other changes, which get the process of lifestyle change moving. Here’s how my baby steps started me off on the right path:

Ditching McGriddles for Smoothies

When I decided to lose my baby weight for real in 2011 (ex always teased me for looking 9 months pregnant), I knew that trying another major overhaul would accomplish jack shit for results. Instead of buying another home fitness machine to solve my problem, I thought smaller. My first baby step came from changing breakfast. My daily Sausage McGriddle combo from McD’s wasn’t doing anything for me except give me diabetes, so I switched it out one day for a protein shake. It felt weird to have LESS sugar for breakfast, but I stuck with it. After two weeks of switching out my morning meal, I decided to try out some other crazy shit. That afternoon Dr. Pepper got traded for a bottled water. Fast forward a couple years, and I’d lost 100 lbs, keeping it off since Fall 2013. No, I didn’t get here from those first two baby steps; I will say that I’m here today because I took those first little steps to get started.

Baby Stepping into the Bigger Picture

When it comes to taking those first baby steps toward weight loss and lifestyle change, it’s important to look at the bigger picture. Having a long-term vision for what your health looks like will help guide those first little steps, along with the progress that comes later. I created a 4-tiered goal system that helps people sketch out their lifestyle goals, scaling from 1 week to 5 years. I’ll release the details of that plan soon. In the meantime, ask yourself what your own first baby step will be on your path to that new lifestyle. Hopefully, this next health journey will last longer than that Game of Thrones binge.

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