Small steps

Here’s an idea! Never mind a Dry January or a Sugar Free February… How about an Everything in Moderation Life?

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If you are like me you will make grand statements like “I’m giving up booze”, “I’m going to run a marathon”, “I’m going to exercise everyday”, “That’s it! No more coffee”, “I’m done with pizza”. And what happens is such grand statements are short lived. We set ourselves up to fail by making such huge, generally unachievable goals. It’s hard not to have a drink of alcohol from time to time. It’s hard not to have pizza, or a coffee. It’s difficult to run a marathon.

There are two things to consider here.

First, set realistic goals. I genuinely like the taste of beer and red wine. I love to have a drink or two. I don’t like drinking too much. Well, I do, but I don’t like how it feels the next day! So how about planning to have some alcohol free nights, or sticking to a glass of wine with a meal, or having just one night a week when you have a few drinks. Why not? There are risks with everything we do, yes, but also there are benefits. Having a drink relaxes you, red wine is full of antioxidants, and can be good (in moderation) for your heart.

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Beer can be good for you as well! It can fight inflammation and aid digestion. It can also help maintain healthy bones. Obviously drinking too much too often is not good but, is not drinking all together really the answer? Set yourself the target to drink less and have a few days a week alcohol free. Get the benefits from these things rather than eliminate them all together.

The second thing relates to setting yourself goals that are too big and not achievable in the short term. Take the, ‘I’m going to run a marathon’ statement. Running a marathon is a great thing. I’ve done 3 myself. But it’s also a gargantuan effort. If you want to do something like this you need to break it down into small steps. So, week 1, run 2 miles, week 2 run 2 miles 3 times, week 4, run 3 miles 3 times. …and on you go. Setting yourself small goals and nailing them relies on a psychological ‘buzz’ called the power of small wins. If the goal is the marathon you don’t get the buzz until you do the marathon. But if the goal is broken down into lots if smaller goals then you get a psychological boost every step of the way.

So, set realistic goals and break down big goals into smaller goals

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A little of what you fancy does you good. Don’t remove things completely from your diet. Enjoy a small amount. Coffee, alcohol, sugar, chocolate are all fine. In excess they are bad for you. But a little bit will be fine (unless you have a medical problem of course!)

Small steps lead to big changes over time.

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