March 16, 2018 at 1:56 pm EDT | by David Magida
Small changes that turn into habits can yield big health benefits over time
lifestyle changes, gay news, Washington Blade

Small changes can have big impacts over time.

Improving your health, losing weight and becoming more fit seem like desirable goals. The advice people usually receive is generally the same: “Exercise, eat better, eat smaller portions.”

Sure, these are all valid ways to get results, albeit, quite generic. But what if it could be simpler? There are other ways to improve your health, even by small increments. I call them one percenters.

One percenters are essentially something small that you can change but commit to. That one percenters by itself is a minimal shift in your routine and lifestyle and by itself, it doesn’t achieve a whole lot. But when you start adding new one percenters regularly and stick with them, they start to add up. The sum of their parts, over time, can turn in huge results. These one percenters can be quite simple too.

Start small with your lifestyle changes and then consider expanding outward. For example, commit to drinking a glass of water as soon as you wake up and before bed. As that becomes habit, try to expand it incrementally until you’re up to eight glasses per day.

A one percenters can involve changes in your diet and caloric input. You can opt to cap the amount of calories you eat per day. Or make one meal per day a salad. Or decide to bring your lunch from home rather than going out to eat. You can add rules to your nutritional timing, like not eating after 8 p.m., skipping dessert or replacing it with a protein shake each night.

The changes can also be to your physical training routine. For example, you can add 15-30 minutes of running to your routine a couple days per week. Over the course of a year, that adds up to a lot of miles. Or perhaps you opt to take the time to stretch after each workout. Your flexibility will dramatically improve with consistent stretching as part of your routine. You can make a rule for yourself that you’ll work out as soon as you wake up or that you’ll do a set amount of pushups or situps as part of your wakeup routine each day.

The changes you make can be changes to your physical routine, your mental preparation, your diet and more. But the critical thing is to stick to those changes. To make them effective, they need to add up over time. You need them for the long haul and you should gradually increase the number of one percenters you incorporate into your life as they become a regular part of your routine.

Start by making a list of what potential one percenters could work for you, then start incorporating a new one every week or two. That gives you time to adjust to the changes before adding new ones and it gives you time to continue to expand upon the changes that have become habit.

A realistic, sustainable rate of growth is critical to success. But over time, these small changes, even without huge effort, will add up to massive results. Start small and see the changes you’ve been looking for.

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