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Progress Not Perfection

Since September is Fruits & Veggies–More Matters Month, I’m very excited to welcome a guest blogger this week!  Amanda Brooks is a seven-time marathoner and personal trainer and the author of RunToTheFinish, a fitness and healthy living website that stemmed from her passion for running.  Here she has combined her love of writing, strategy and running to develop a site that is a destination for tips, motivation and tools for getting the most out of the healthy living journey.

I had the pleasure of hearing Amanda speak at the recent Healthy Living Summit for bloggers and asked her to share her views on taking that first step toward a healthy life.  Here is the valuable insight she has to share with us.

The healthy living journey can begin to feel daunting after listening to the news or reading the latest magazine article about everything we need to cut out of our diets and all the exercises to start doing ASAP.

Luckily change is cumulative and there is no rush to do it all overnight.  In fact we actually benefit by making changes more slowly.  A Change Psychology report stated we have an 85% chance of success when implementing one change for 2-4 weeks.  After that time it becomes a habit and no longer feels like a forced action.  However, implementing two new behaviors at once results in only a 35% chance of success and the ratio becomes even more dismal after that.

Because change is often scary, I believe that this process of creating one new habit at a time is what allows many of us to be successful in any endeavor be it weight loss or running a marathon!  This approach allowed me to lose 35lbs and maintain it for the last 8 years.  However, the one change at a time approach also meant that my progress was gradual.

No one assumes that by signing up for a marathon they will be able to run it the next day, nor should we expect to start a healthier lifestyle and see an immediate change.  In both cases there are a lot of LITTLE steps along the way that add up to major shifts.

What is one step you could make this week towards better health?  Can you find a way of tracking that change?  It’s been proven that what we measure we change.  For example, mark on a calendar every day that you are soda free and it will begin to feel like success.  Most importantly remember that if you slip up on day 4, you have the right to celebrate that you made it three days and now you have a new goal of going four days soda free.

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