What if we told you that all you needed to do to get exercising this year was to commit to putting on your running shoes every morning and stepping outside your front door? Studies have shown that it may be just that simple.
When it comes to completing a task that we don’t really want to do, that will be uncomfortable, boring, or that we can label as not being that important if it’s missed (like say, working out?) – the biggest hurdle is getting ourselves to take the first step involved in completing that task.
Remember having to write that assignment that you had been putting off for weeks, and you found that once you had that Word document in front of you and gotten the first sentence out of the way, that you built up momentum and got it done with a lot less time and effort than you had built it up to be in your mind? It would seem that if we can only get ourselves to the point of starting something, we have overcome the biggest hurdle.
The key is making it as easy as possible to take that first step, and once that’s in place, to turn this action into a habit so that it’s not a conscious choice you have to force yourself into every day. You hear success stories from people who put their running clothes and shoes in a spot where it is the first thing they see in the morning, so getting out the door and off for that walk seems much easier than having to rummage around trying to find matching socks.
Look for some way to trigger yourself to take that first step, whether your calendar reminds you to do something, or you link something to a habit already ingrained. A note on the jar of coffee is an example of a great trigger for a regular morning coffee drinker. A water bottle sitting on your desk is a trigger for you to drink. Whatever it is that you are wanting to change or start to make your lifestyle healthier, figuring out the first step, and how you can prompt yourself to remember to take that step will be different for each person, but if you can just get started, it’s all downhill from there.