Take the stairs instead of the elevator; eat more vegetable servings a day; remember small steps add up to big changes. These worn-out wellness cliches point people in the general direction of physical activity and good nutrition, but they’re terribly simplistic and misleading.
The truth is, little changes here and there don’t add up to a significantly healthier lifestyle. Making a meaningful dent in existing conditions or risk factors — like overweight, obesity, metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, tobacco use, inactivity, poor nutrition, or a high-stress lifestyle — takes a lot more than a few small steps in the right direction. When was the last time someone told you they lost their spare tire — or went from desk potato to completing a 10K race — by simply vacuuming vigorously? Never; because small steps — done randomly or without being tied to a larger goal — don’t work. Here’s why:
Granted, small steps can play a role in building momentum and making progress toward a larger goal —as long as they’re big enough to be challenging and produce a real sense of accomplishment. If they’re too easy, they contribute little or nothing to lasting change.
Excerpted from our white paper: Small Steps or Giant Leaps: What Works Best for Health Behavior Change
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