Change Habits Gradually for Maximum Success

by Stephen Mills on February 16, 2009

Gradual Changes Yield Big Results

Gradual Changes Yield Big Results

I used to go cold turkey on every habit change I tried to make.  When I decided to exercise, rare though those occasions may have been, I would kill myself the first time and try to maintain that pace.  When I went on a diet I would change everything starting at the snap of a finger.  I have recently found a much better approach for me, and I think for most people, is a gradual habit change.  For instance, I have been improving my diet over a period of several months and I have barely noticed anything different.  Nothing except the weight loss and energy gain!  That is one of the most striking effects of gradual changes – the price you pay is often unnoticed.  There were no drastic changes that put me into sugar withdrawal syndrome.

It is highly unlikely you had a crash diet gain.  More probable is that you noticed no difference on a day to day basis and then one day you looked in the mirror and said “OMG I’m fat”.  This process might have taken years.  If you gained that weight at 1 pound per month, why do you need to lose it at 10 pounds per month?  The power of the gradual was demonstrated in your weight gain so why not utilize that same power in the loss?

The Power of Gradual works because, quite simply, little things add up to a big thing if you have enough little things. Given enough time, the steady drip-drop of water becomes an ocean. Given enough time, small regular deposits become a small fortune. Given enough time, steady work at my awful first drafts yields a passable final draft.

The Power of Gradual by Ian Newby-Clark (Habit Guy) of My Bad Habits.

I am a convert to the power of of gradual habit change.  Whether you are trying to save money (add to the amount gradually), lose weight (reduce the calories gradually), exercise (increase time, frequency, and resistance gradually), or any other habit change, do it gradually.  You will spare yourself and those around you a lot of stress and make your success much more likely.  Here are several articles on the subject of gradual habit change.  Two of them are written by the same author.  They are all excellent.

The Power of Gradual
Look Back in Gratitude (to Yourself): The Power of Gradual (Part II)
Make Gradual Lifestyle Change Your Anytime Resolution

Please comment and let’s discuss your success or failure in changing your habits.

Stephen

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March 29, 2009 at 5:53 pm

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