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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Small Changes, or Go Big?

Advice is often worth every penny you pay for it, and since most advice is free, you can see where I'm going.  However, there is often two schools of thought when it comes to making changes to your life, and those are whether to make a huge, radical change or to make small changes.

Well, despite it actually being a myth that small changes lead to big gains, the reality is that small changes are easier to swallow than big ones.

The problem is, can small changes work?

First, let's look at the myth itself.  From the above linked article:
Myth 1: Small, continued changes in our caloric intake or how many we burn will accumulate to create a larger weight change over the long term.
The science indicates that this isn't the way to do things.  However, we also need to be clear what this actually means.  This means a small change that you continue to do, like stopping the cafe mocha at Starbucks or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

What this myth doesn't address is continuing to make changes.

Things like skipping a fattening drink or taking the stairs is a great place to start, but if that's all you do, you'll get nowhere fast.  The secret here isn't to make just a few small changes, but to use them as a springboard to more.

In that same post, I said the following:
Instead, if you need to make a radical transformation, then you need to make radical changes.  There's no way around it unfortunately.  The trick is to find what kind of radical changes work best.
So, am I going back on this?  Not really.  You still need radical changes.  Your body will never transform without it.  I didn't lose 35 lbs by making small changes.  I made radical ones.

Here's the thing.  My personality is the kind that can actually handle radical changes fairly well if I'm on board with the reason for them.  A lot of folks aren't.  They have a horrible time trying to process the new lifestyle, and this leads to them "falling off the wagon".

Making small changes along the way lets these people adapt to the new lifestyle more gradually.  This means that they will continue to make small changes along the way until, before they even know it, they have transformed their lifestyle in a radical way.

The truth is that, for most of us, radical transformation is what we need.  Over a third of all Americans are obese.  Another third are overweight.  This is not something we can allow from ourselves.

I'm not telling you how to make the change.  Not now, anyways.  What I am telling you is that you can't be content with a few small changes and just call it a day.  All in, or a bit along the way, as long as you end up in the same place, it's all good.

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