20-Minutes-a-Day and Other Baby Steps to Change Your Life

Reports are coming in that my post on doing just 20 non-negotiable minutes a day of exercise struck a chord. Friends at parties, colleagues signing off emails, even my road warrior pal David is saying “Did my 20 minutes!”

The success of this simple strategy lies in just that–it’s simple. We have big aspirations for ourselves- “Huzzah! I’m going to change my life!”, yet we are fragile and finite. And when we fail to make big changes in a short time, we feel like we will never be able to change.

That’s why I love the philosophy of small confident commitments. Baby steps. It’s things like the 20 minutes a day idea that you can commit to with a high level of confidence. Ultimately this pays off way better than taking on too much and ending up dejected and without any progress.

A nutrition and fitness mentor of mine who coaches clients on behavior changes related to healthy eating and fat-loss says he asks clients to choose ONE behavior change that they are 90-100% confident they can do daily for the next 10 days. They can’t even choose two behaviors! And they can only choose one if they are 90-100% sure they can do it.

Since I’ve heard so many raves and success with the 20-minutes strategy, I want to present a few other baby steps to you and invite you to try them. But this is not a list of good stuff you can just go piling on to your life; you have to follow the rules!

  • Rule A: You can only choose ONE of the habits below.
  • Rule B: You must be 90-100% sure you can do it every day for 10 days.
  • Rule C: After you’ve done one every day for 10 days, you can choose a second habit to try for the next 10 days, but rules A and B still apply.
  • Optional: Have a buddy (you can use me if you want) who will remind you about your habit and help you stay on track.

Here are 12 great habits that can benefit anyone; the first nine are are especially good if you’re interested in fat loss.

  1. Take fish oil and a multivitamin at breakfast
  2. Drink at least 8 cups of water
  3. Eat at least 4 one-cup servings of vegetables
  4. Sleep at least 8 hours (including naps and night-time sleep)
  5. During each meal, stop eating when 80% full
  6. Twice during the work day, get up and do 5 minutes of muscle stretching
  7. Eat 4 – 5 smaller meals
  8. Eat lean protein with each meal
  9. Replace some grains with greens at each meal
  10. Floss
  11. Meditate for 10 minutes
  12. Write down 5 things you’re grateful for

Me, I’m working on #10. Keep us posted kids!

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