The Most Important “One Thing”
A popular idea as of late is the Minimum Effective Dose. I do think this has merit. I remember hearing John Berardi speak about adopting new habits. If you attempt one behavior change your success rate is about 80%. Add one more change simultaneously (a grand total of two things here) and success drops to less than 35%. I believe this idea is mentioned in the book The Power of Less by Leo Babauta.
This post is meant simply to provide examples of small changes that could yield significant results. The idea is not to do all of these. Instead only take one (or better yet create your own) and practice it until it is habit. If you think back I would bet that you can attribute many roadblocks in the past to simply not following through. So take this idea: do less, but do it.
1) Bring your lunch to work every day.
2) Eat more slowly.
3) Stop eating at 80% full.
4) Cook dinner at home during the week.
5) Prep food for the week over the weekend.
6) Keep a food journal.
7) Eat protein at each meal.
8) Drink more water.
9) Sleep more.
10) Eat from a smaller plate.
1) Pack your gym bag the night before.
2) Go straight to the gym after work.
3) If your plans get derailed go for a walk instead.
4) If walking bores you then grab a friend and head to the park for frisbee or whatever activity you enjoy.
5) Do mini-sets of pushups, squats, or plank at home in between your work or house cleaning. Some days I accumulate a couple hundred pushups this way. Also, shout out to Andrew who mentioned the Oregon Duck mascot and pushups. After the team scores the mascot does an equal number of pushups to the team’s points on the score board. Andrew mentioned he did this during the last Bill’s game, and the reps add up fast!
6) On the weekends ride your bike everywhere.
7) Arrive a few minutes before or stay after a class at the gym to work on one skill, such as chin-ups.
8) Find new ways to improve your strength. Grabbing a heavier weight will not always be the best route. Try doing more reps at a given weight, resting less between sets, or doing more total sets.
9) Bring a notebook to the gym. After your strength work record your weight, sets, reps, and time for each movement for that day. The simple act of recording what you’ve done will make you more mindful of improving in the future.
10) Rest when you need it. Workouts are stressors. Listen to your body for when you should take it easy, go hard, or maybe take the day off from training. Optimizing your recovery between workouts could be one area of focus that will improve your results. We tend to focus on the stressor and not the recovery, which is where we actually improve.
Sounds almost too easy right? Sure, maybe we could get better/faster results if we did ALL OF THE THINGS! But we know that’s not reasonable. In fact, even something as simple as going to the gym consistently can be challenging because it may actually involve a number of smaller behavior changes wrapped into one. Rearranging work schedules, finding a babysitter, etc. My best advice is to be like a snowball. Start small, find a good hill (the hill being a behavior change you have confidence in), and as you roll and gain momentum you’ll find that it’s much easier to take on more.