Oddly, a measure of success that most overlook is that of New Problems. It’s common to wish all our away but humans are generally happiest when their solving problems, not when lacking them. New problems signify growth and movement in relation to previous problems and it’s THE GROWTH that inspires and motivates us.
As the saying goes, with your work comes self respect. New problems indicate:
- You learned something new, so a new roadblock popped up.
- You adopted a new habit, so you moved on to more challenging ones.
- You pushed past a previous plateau only to find a more challenging one in front of you now.
Folks often get stuck on things and repeat their actions, expecting new outcomes. This doesn’t work and generally leads to a lot of frustration. Yes, change is incredibly hard but if it’s change you seek, then it’s changes you must make.
Start Small to Grow Big
Starting with small habits will allow you to build some wins. Once your new habits become sustainable patterns, adopting newer (more challenging) habits is not only possible, but likely. As the process repeats, success mounts. In neuroscience terminology, this would be considered an increase in neuroplasticity. Meaning, as you learn new stuff, you can make new choices, develop new patterns, and achieve new outcomes. It’s really pretty fascinating. The phrase “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” may be true to some degree but really, it’s incomplete. Neuroplasticity tells us we (humans) are capable of any change deemed important enough to withstand the pain of said change. Essentially, if it matters enough you’ll find a way to get it done.
Why start small?
The success from your small wins will build confidence and confidence is needed for more challenging tasks. What is commonly underappreciate is that success doesn’t eradicate problems, it breeds more difficult ones. But… success also breeds a ton of confidence to handle those tougher problems.
Said another way, there are no problems, only opportunities.
Let’s look at example. Here we have an athlete that wants to change their physical activity levels, nutritional habits, and sleep. As a beginner, any small change will produce movement in the right direction so that’s where we should start. Perhaps we focus on:
- Walking 15 min x day
- Be in bed by 10pm every night
- Eat something for breakfast every day
These habits won’t necessarily get the athlete where he/she wants to go but they will produce a result. A leveling up of sorts. This leveling up will produce confidence and a belief that great challenges can be tackled.
So, what’s next? More of the same, only more challenging / harder.
- Walk 25 min x day
- Lifting weights 2x week
- Be in bed by 10pm, be out of bed by 6am
- Eat a serving of protein at every meal
The second list is harder, not easier… as such, the result(s) will be greater. You might be thinking, “but I’m not ready for those changes”. You’re probably correct but you must remember, the athlete in our above example is likely to feel he/she CAN adopt the new habits due to the wins he/she collected working on the easier habits.
New Year’s Resolutions
It’s likely that a lot of people are thinking about changing something about their fitness, health, or nutrition right now. Undoubtedly, most of them will overshoot their current abilities. This will lead to burnout or possibly failure. We see this every year in the gym, overflowing in January only to be near empty in March.
Starting small is the move here. If you’re not sure what that might look like, head over to our free FB group, Strength Health and Nutrition in St Louis and drop us a question. We’d love to help you get started. If you’re ready to get started now, check out our upcoming group nutrition program, The Kickstart. You don’t have to be a gym member to participate, and folks see great progress.
To see the progress you want in 2024, you’re going to need to level up your habits. And as those habits become patterns, you’re going to have to do it all over again. The great news is each level you move up brings more knowledge and more confidence!
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Hope this helps!