- Adopting one new habit at a time - 85% chance of success
- Adopting two new habits at once - 35% chance of success
- Adopting three or more new habits at once - less than 10% chance of success
Now, think of how many habits are required when we decide to 'eat right and exercise regularly.' We need to go grocery shopping, cooking, maybe join a gym, learn new exercises, drink more water, and go to bed earlier ... it is literally hundreds of new habits.
So when trying to develop and establish healthy habits some things we need to keep in mind are: habits should be small and manageable as well as clearly defined and easy to measure.
While 'eat more veggies' is good advice, 'eat two servings of veggies a day' is far better.
Another important key is to assess confidence. If the goal is to eat more veggies, you might ask, 'On a scale of 0-10, how confident are you that you can eat two servings of veggies a day?'
If the answer is 9, we know we're on the right track. If it's 2 or 3, then we scale our recommendations back until the client is more comfortable and can answer 9 or 10 out of 10.
Sure, sometimes you'll have to scale it back until the habit seems ridiculously small - to you. However, this isn't about you. It's about your client and what they can manage in their life at the present time.
Even if the small habit won't change everything starting today, at the very minimum, it builds momentum and gives us something to build on.
In the words of John Beradi, we teach complicated exercises like the squat or snatch by breaking them up into smaller chinks, right? It's called progression. Well, it's important to do the same with habits.