Every year around this time I hear from people about their latest new year’s resolution. Lately more and more, though, I am hearing from friends, family, and clients, that they have stopped making new year’s resolutions. They feel that they never stick to their resolutions for longer than a few weeks anyhow, so they say “What’s the point?” For the same reasons, I see people shunning the idea of setting personal goals, because they worry about failing to reach the goal they set. Does this mean that goals and resolutions are bad ways to pursue personal growth? Not necessarily, but recent research shows there may be a better way.
When I have questioned these individuals on the topic a bit further, I find that the trouble comes down to their lack of faith in their own ability to follow through, so that the thought of getting started on a major goal or resolution, already evokes a fear of failing somewhere down the line.
This topic is relevant to my clients as well as people I talk with who want to know more about how pelvic health physical therapy may be able to help them. They are wondering whether it will be too difficult for them to do what is needed in order to get the result that they are looking for. First of all, let me assure you, that the beauty of highly skilled professional guidance every step of the way, is that the journey becomes very do-able.
When it comes to any change that a person may want to make, getting started is often the hardest part.
So… what if we made the target for “getting started,” smaller?
Much, much smaller.
What if there were a way to all but ensure that you could not fail?
I would like to suggest that instead of setting up a resolution, (as in “I’m going to do some major big difficult thing every day, until I miss a day, then I’ll have failed, so I may as well quit,”) this year, try adopting Micro-Habits.
These are ridiculously small behaviors that you adopt and do daily, that take so little time, effort, or commitment to do, that it makes the task “too small to fail.”
I got this idea from a book called Mini-Habits by Stephen Guise.
Some examples of micro-habits or mini-habits are:
One small action taken consistently each day is infinitely better than setting to lofty a goal, and abandoning it.
The advantages of approaching habit-forming this way are many. Micro-habits give you a small sense of accomplishment each time you do one. They also build discipline, by convincing your brain that when you decide you are going to accomplish something, you are going to do it, NOW! Over time, these tiny rituals tend to lead to greater positive habits quite naturally, as one push-up becomes 10, 5 minutes of focusing on time with a loved on becomes 15, and soon you are flossing all of your teeth daily too!
To be effective, your micro-habits should have three features:
They must be relevant to something important to you, require less than a minute to perform, and be “too small to fail.” For example, my latest micro-habits revolve around health, professional development, and family.
If you’d like to give this a go instead of a new year’s resolution, choose 5 tiny behaviors for yourself and display them on a chart in a prominent place that you see often. Each day for a month, check off each of the five that you have completed. Just start, and soon you’ll see the check-marks all lined up – then watch your motivation grow!
Could you or someone you know use help getting started to resolve a pelvic health issue and get healthier? Whether it is about bladder control, pelvic pain, or a sexual health concern, the best way to get started is to have a non-committal phone conversation with a PT who is specifically trained and highly experienced helping people get answers to questions about these concerns. You can contact us 24-7 to arrange for this phone call, and we would love to hear how we can be of help.
All the Best,
Helping health-oriented people overcome pelvic health problems, and live the life you love!
Deborah S. Cohen
Specialist Pelvic Health Physical Therapist