Progress comes from tiny changes

Last updated on Fri, 21st Oct 2022

I’ve never been a fan of New Year’s Resolutions.

Like almost everyone else on the planet, my grand New Year’s resolutions of old started off very well-intentioned, but my resolve would vanish well before January was over. And the biggest reason why I’d give up on these resolutions so easily was because the change associated with them was far too big!

Setting a target to go to the gym 3 times a week when your current attendance is zero times is too big a change. Planning to attend loads of networking events when you’re painfully shy is too big a change. And saying that you’re going on a diet when you currently eat everything around you is too big a change.

That’s why our resolve fails. The change is too dramatic, and it doesn’t stick.


What we need to do is set ourselves really small incremental changes or micro-goals. These are tiny little changes that don’t make much of a difference to our lives – and as such we don’t rebel against them – but can be added to other small changes over time, to achieve real progress.

The key is to understand what your eventual goal is, but not try to achieve it straight away. Instead break it down into lots of little incremental improvements that will get you there over a period of time.

Rather than trying to go to the gym 3 times a week straight away, start with the micro-goal of walking for 20 minutes more than normal next week. See how you go with that small incremental change, and then come up with your next micro-goal, and then the next, and next. With all these small very-achievable changes we’re going absorb those changes more easily.

Slimming World is all about small changes

It’s one of the reasons why I like Slimming World. It’s not a crash diet – in fact, it’s not a diet at all. It’s a healthy eating plan where you make smallish changes to what you eat.

Instead of making one big change of giving up eating all the delicious unhealthy things you like, you are instead encouraged to make a small changes to substitute one unhealthy food for a more healthy version.

Loads of Slimming World recipes are all about making healthier versions of the foods we already love. So it’s not a dramatic change. It’s a small change, and as such it’s a lot more palatable (pun intended!). 

A crash diet may deliver more dramatic results, but it’s not sustainable in the long term – and if anything it’s just going to fuel yo-yo dieting – and that’s not healthy.

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