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Small, Healthy Lifestyle Changes Make a Big Difference

girl doing kettlebell workout on the beachTo succeed at weight loss you need to create new healthy habits. Unhealthy lifestyle habits and behaviors are what got you to where you are today, and new, healthy lifestyle habits are what will change you going forward.

The easiest way to form these new habits? Take your ultimate weight loss goal, and break it up into smaller action goals. These smaller action goals are going to be what drive your success going forward.

Make Your Challenges More Manageable

Slicing up your big goal into smaller, more manageable ones makes it easier to attack the problem at hand. If your goal is to lose 50lbs, it would be much easier to tackle that weight loss 10lbs at a time.

Then, each time you reach your 10lb goal mark, you can celebrate the victory. Now you know that you can lose 10lbs, so you do it again, and again, and again until eventually, you reach your ultimate goal of 50lbs.

Believing that you can do something and actually doing it create two very different thought processes. Believing you can do something gives you feelings of inspiration, hope, and faith. Actually attempting the possible gives you feelings of motivation, self-confidence, and willpower.

When you know that something is possible because you’ve done it before, your mind takes you where you need to go. There is no wondering if you’re doing it right or if you’re fighting a losing battle. You’ve already succeeded. You alone made it happen once before, so you know you can do it again, and you do.

Read more about how to set goals that you can accomplish.

Small Victories Build Momentum

During your weight loss journey you’re going to be looking for something, anything to keep your motivation levels up. When motivation plummets, which it inevitably will, you are going to have a tendency to look at how far you still have to go instead of how far you’ve come.

Looking back on your current journey and all that you’ve accomplished is important for reassuring you that you are making progress, and as long as you keep making progress, you will eventually reach your goal.

Each time you create a new healthy habit, the momentum builds on itself. You become more confident and more motivated that the once out of reach goal of weight loss is now not only possible, but likely.

You start making these small changes at a more rapid pace, and a snowball effect happens. Before you know it, you’re already half way to your goal and feeling proud at all that you’ve already accomplished. Keep the wind at your back and focus on the small victories.

Make Small Changes Until They Are Habit

Change best happens when the tasks are small and specific. Having a goal to eat healthier leaves a lot to the imagination. How much do you eat? What’s considered healthy? How many meals do you eat? Are you eating enough protein? All of these are questions the common person has when they try to eat healthy.

Instead, break up your bigger goal of “eating healthy” into several smaller tasks. For example, you might try subbing water for one of your sodas every day. You work on that specific goal, and only that goal until you’re able to do it for at least a week. Once you can do that without much effort, you’ve created a new healthy habit, and you can now move onto the next small change.

As you build on these small changes, they eventually add up. However slow you are going, you are still making progress. You are still moving forward towards you goals, and you are “better” than you were yesterday.

The good news is these new habits will stick because you planned and executed them one at a time. You focused on the task at hand, funneled all your energy into making that one single change, and made it happen.

Set a small but challenging goal. Plan your attack. Execute the plan. Build on your motivation. Repeat until you reach your desired lifestyle.

  • pat mills

    This is so encouraging. Yesterday I spent the day assessing my success so far this year. It was time to switch up and add to my workout routine. I did that. Then I decided that if I wanted to be serious about losing fat AND building muscle I needed to track my food intake in writing. So I have joined Sparkpeople to track my intake. Today was measurement day and this past month saw a success of 1.4% bodyfat loss and 2.5 inches. My first thought was Wow that’s not much. But then I calculated what I had accomplished since Feb, 16th (that’s when I got my calipers and said goodbye to the scales). I have lost 9.5 inches and 3.5% bodyfat. Seeing the big picture sure helped me to stay positive and encouraged to me continue striving for the finished product, a healthy me. This article just solidified for me what I already knew. I’m not in a race. This is a lifestyle that has no end in sight.

    • Coach Calorie

      Great job Pat! Your progress is right in line with the typical .5% body fat loss per week. Just imagine where you’ll be in 2 months at that pace :)

  • Jemma Forde

    Hi coach, I love your site, it’s so inspirational. I wonder if you could help me with something. Over the last year and a half I have established a routine of working out 6 days a week. I built up slowly and love exercise. I weigh 255lbs and cannot seem to get the calorie deficit right I am either too high or too low. Without going on too much I am really struggling with it. I am female 37 years old and 5ft 7in, my workout cycle is mon am body pump, tues pm body pump, wed am Pilates then sprint intervals, thurs am body pump, Friday am 5k run, Sunday am long slow run. Also am I better off measuring than weighing? Is there a formula to work out my calorie consumption that takes my calories burned into account?

    Also I am glad to see your popularity here in the UK increasing, well done and thanks!!

  • Coach Calorie

    Hi Jemma, take a look on this article on calorie intakes –

    Also, make sure you don’t eat below your BMR.

    370 + (21.6 * LBM in KG) Measure your body fat, not your weight.