Changing Behavior: When is the Best Time to Start?
Many think “Monday” or “tomorrow” are the best times to instigate a behavior change. Whether it's a diet, exercise, writing, starting a business or meditating, tomorrow or Monday or maybe next month are the times I've most often heard people say they'll begin…myself included! We're all guilty of thinking the perfect time for changing behavior is after the kids go back to school. Or after we get a new job. Or when things slow down, after Johnny's wedding next month and so on.
When is the Best Time to Make a Behavior Change?
The truth is, “right now” is the best time to start changing behavior.
Barriers to Changing Behavior: Excuses
Of course, you can't start a new behavior, especially nutrition-related right when you talk or think about it. After all, the weekend is coming, you have a trip next week, you need time to mentally prepare and a million other reasons you can't change your diet right this second.
Then here comes Monday…again…and you have even more reasons not to start. You forgot to cancel your Blue Apron shipment and it's not keto. There is way too much food in your pantry that will go to waste if you change your way of eating now.
No doubt about it, there is always an excuse for not changing behavior, especially diet.
You can pretty much convince yourself that any reason at all is a good one for not changing your habits, especially when it involves a major diet change. However, the benefits of a healthier diet change for most people are so life-changing that you're doing yourself a great disservice by waiting even one minute longer.
Why Changing Behavior is Easier if You Start Small
It's easy to have resistance to a major change. For example, if you want to start a new behavior of exercising for an hour a day, or that can seem so daunting that it's easy to avoid. However, we experience much less resistance to change if we tackle the new habit more slowly. In this example, you may start by just exercising for ten minutes three times a week. That commitment will seem much more manageable. Creating a foundation behavior that is a smaller version of your ultimate goal is key and leads you in the direction of Ultimate Wellness. In fact, many times when we commit to doing something for a short amount of time we quite often end up going longer.
To that end, the very best time to make a behavior change is right now. Don't wait until tomorrow, Monday or next month. Start small and build on your new foundation behavior. There will always be another event, trip or some other excuse why you can't change your diet, exercise, make better decisions, etc. Start now! Visit our article on Ultimate Wellness to learn more about setting goals to change your behavior and download our free Core Values and Ten Year Goals Worksheet.