I may be dating myself here, but did you see that movie with Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss called “What About Bob?” Dr Marvin (played by Richard Dreyfuss) is a well known psychiatrist who takes on a very needy, clingy and socially awkward patient Bob (played by Bill Murray). In an attempt to help Bob, Dr Marvin shares is book and method of “Baby Stepping” through challenges to over come them. This of course makes for some serious comedy as Bill Murray attempts to baby step his way into Dr Marvin’s family vacation. If you haven’t seen it, you must, it is a classic!
The point: there is some real validity to “baby stepping”. We often think that change must be an all in, cold turkey, full submersion type experience, but in reality, this is often too much too quickly and we cannot maintain the changes. If instead you were to pick a few small things that you could change and be consistent with, the compounded effect will be far greater. If you have never run before, but decide that you would like to run a marathon, would you go outside and set off to run 26 miles from day one? Of course not, yet we often tackle other changes in this exact manner.
Want to get healthier, possibly lose some weight? By simply reducing your caloric intake by 125 calories a day, getting in your 10,000 steps daily and drinking a few extra bottles of water you could drop up to 33lbs in 27 months.
Want to kick your soda or smoking habit? Try cutting back little by little over the course of a month or two and replacing the soda or smoking with a healthier option. In week one you might cut out one smoke break or one serving of soda and instead chew gum, go for walk or have a sparkling water. Even if it takes a few months, the chances of you having consistent success are far greater than the cold turkey option.
These small changes, done consistently over time will actually help to rewire your brain and create a new, neural pathway that will help to cement the behavior long term. It is ok to start small, to take those “baby steps”.