So many of us, adults in particular, feel we can’t change anything.
It doesn’t take many failed attempts at change before we begin to doubt our ability, lose trust in ourselves.
This is where the “start small” advice draws its power. By making promises that are easy, ridiculously easy to keep (“I’ll run for 2 minutes,” for example), you start to taste success again. And in this way, day after day, you slowly rebuild that belief that simply says, “I keep the promises I make to myself”.
But where do you start? What habit should you change or create first?
I’ve heard (and had) plenty of ideas, mostly strategic. Like start with the easiest change first or change something that will free up time, so that you can use that time for other, new habits.
But I’ve come to believe that it shouldn’t be even this complicated. There’s a more important first habit to change, because it’s one of the most important habits you can change, period.
Start with the change that’s the most fun. For you.
For years, my “anchor” habits have been what I’d call grown-up fun. Reading non-fiction every morning; running while I listen to podcasts or audiobooks. They’ve worked, for the most part, and have kept me motivated to make new changes.
They’re exciting for me, because I like self-improvement stuff. Satisfying, sure, and fairly low-resistance since they’re enjoyable. But fun?
A confluence of books and ideas have suddenly made it regretfully clear to me that when it comes to my list of priorities, I’ve let fun slide too far down. And I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one — that in fact very few adults still make jump-up-and-down, shiny, happy fun a must.
But there’s so much good to be put out into the world, if only we put our own oxygen masks on first.
Artists suddenly feel nurtured, inspired, for the first time in years. Athletes remember why they started their quests. Grown-ups recall, after far too long, what they’re working so hard for.
What’s the habit that, if you could somehow find 30 minutes a day to do it, would light you up like nothing else?
Yes, that one.
If you could make it happen — and trust me, a lot of resistance, both external and internal, will try to get in your the way — how would that change your attitude? Your energy levels? The way you interact with other people? Your ability to create other changes?
So what’s stopping you?
Start small (five minutes is plenty, at first), and make it happen.
And don’t forget — have fun with it.