I realised recently that the smallest tweaks can make all the difference to being able to stick with a new habit or behaviour. This has helped me make some big behaviour shifts in my life recently.
The big question is, how do you find those tweaks?
I used to struggle to drink enough water. Some days I managed hardly anything. Other days I managed a litre or so – but it felt like such a huge effort. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been drinking over 3 litres of water everyday – effortlessly.
How did I do that?
A couple of weeks ago, I pushed myself to drink 1.5 litres within the first hour of waking. I did this by drinking two 500ml bottles back to back as soon as I woke. I then filled up the third bottle and drank it over a handful of gulps.
That small tweak made all the difference.
Firstly, it gave me a quick, and huge head start on my 3 litre goal for the day. By building the momentum so quickly, I felt compelled to build on it throughout the day. Secondly, instead of taking sips, I now found myself drinking 500ml bottles in one go. I just got used to doing that. Why drink it over 10+ gulps, when I can just get it done in one go?
I’ve been trying to get my alcohol consumption in the right place for a long time. I’ve tried thirty day resets before – with mixed success. I’ve also tried to put in place some rules to help me moderate alcohol, but they always break down after a while.
Recently I had another go at a 30 day reset. This time, I put up a chart on the wall, and crossed off every day I didn’t drink.
Seeing that chain grow made all the difference. I found it pretty easy to do the 30 days. I really did not want to break the chain, or the momentum I was building.
So much so that I’ve kept doing it. I’m not trying to do another 30 days. I just want to drink infrequently, mostly on special occasions. I like to see one or two weeks of an unbroken chain building up. It’s so simple, and it’s enough to push back the urges to have a glass or two of wine between Thursday and the weekend. It’s not worth breaking the chain for a minor reason.
I’ve always struggled to consistently take my vitamins. I take a multivitamin, Vitamin C, D and fish oil daily. That amounts to thirteen capsules each day (seven at lunch, and six early evening). Most of the time I just end up forgetting to take them at all, or just remember to take half of them at one point in the day. I’ve tried a few different strategies (leaving the vitamin tubs in obvious places, taking them with certain meals etc.) – but nothing worked.
I placed an order a few weeks ago for some more Vitamins, and I noticed they also sold a pill box. It’s a green box with 6 different compartments in it. I added it to my order, because it seemed a convenient way to bring vitamins with me when I travelled. Then one morning, I put my thirteen capsules into two separate sections in the pill box and left it on the kitchen island. I took them at lunch, and before my dinner.
The process of putting them in the pill box in the morning, and seeing it in front of me alot made all the difference. I am now taking my vitamins everyday – and it’s effortless.
It was the same story with the improvements to my daily planning process. Switching from the morning to the previous evening didn’t feel like a big change to me at the time. But, it’s what helped me pushed my consistency through the roof. It also led to me making other improvements that I wouldn’t have made otherwise.
See what I mean? I’ve been able to be consistent with habits I’ve been trying to build for years – and all it took was some small tweaks.
It made me realise that you have to be patient and curious. You have to be open minded and try lots of different approaches. And often it’s something small, that you may only realise in hindsight that can make all the difference to being able to stick with a new habit or behaviour.
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