The Wisdom of Taking Small Steps

pb&bThis morning on the Today Show a segment on keeping healthy blood pressure through better nutritional choices featured “substitute this for that.” The first suggestion was to substitute the jelly on pbj’s with banana for its potassium value. Another suggestion was to substitute burgers for hot dogs for lower sodium.

Suddenly changing our diet or anything else can be overwhelming.  We may in good faith start a new behavior, but before long find ourselves slipping back because it all seems too overwhelming, too time consuming, too-something.

The approach of setting goals and making one small change at a time may be more doable in the long run.  For example, we may decide that with the new school year, we will not always have the TV on.   Instead of going “cold turkey” and cutting off cable, it might make more sense to pick one time of day when we generally watch TV in a stretch and substitute with another behavior.  If watching TV while eating dinner were substituted with sitting at a table for a family or couple or single meal, this one small step might be well worth moving out of a comfortable pattern. (If instead of turning on the Today Show to hear the opening segment at 7 am I were to substitute with a morning walk, I might have discovered a more satisfying way to begin my day– Note to myself!)

The result of making any positive change by accomplishing small steps builds our trust in ourselves to be able to tackle even bigger goals.  Trust in ourselves happens the way it does with others, one small step at a time.