When I meet with a new client, they often come to our first session wanting to change everything and as quickly as possible. They are sick of how things have been and want better for themselves and their health and well-being. And who can blame them?

Taking good care of yourself is a recipe for feeling and living at your best, whatever that means for you, whether having more energy, better sleep, or increased stamina with something left in the tank at the end of the day.

Another reason so many want to take better care of themselves is that doing so would give them greater peace of mind, knowing they are reducing their risks of diabetes, heart disease, and more. The evidence shows that longevity and an increased healthspan (when a person is healthy, not just alive) do not happen by accident.

Despite one’s best intentions when it comes to going big on making changes, the evidence tells us that trying to make too many changes at once is a recipe for making no changes at all.

So, if you are tired of the way things have been with your health and well-being, and you want to make positive changes in a way that feels sustainable, let’s take some time now to get you started.

To begin, what concerns you about your health and well-being right now? What area of focus feels most important for feeling better in your day-to-day life? For improving your overall health and well-being? 

Is it getting more and better sleep so you can wake in the mornings feeling well-rested? Is it increasing physical activity so you have greater stamina for keeping up with the demands of your day-to-day life? Or is it possibly eating more fruits and vegetables for increased energy? Or is it maybe something else?

Once you’ve decided what feels most important for you right now, take some time to brainstorm the small actions or behaviors you could take to support improvement in that area.

For the sake of discussion, let’s imagine that you want to increase your physical activity in your day-to-day life.

As you brainstorm the possibilities, you come up with things like taking a 20-minute walk before or after work, 15 minutes on a stationary bicycle at lunchtime, or having a solo dance party while listening to your all-time favorite pop music. What else comes to mind?

Which of these sounds the easiest? Like the most fun?

Which one would you like to try as an experiment this week? And what would make it doable?

As you create your starter plan, keep it simple. You don’t have to go from 0 to 100 on increasing physical activity in your day-to-day life.

So, what feels like a reasonable minimum number of days to fit in some physical activity this week? Two days is way better than no days. And remember, once you start, you can add in more movement over time.  

When you’re ready, begin to put your plan into action and see what happens over the course of a week. How do you feel on the days you fit your chosen activity in? How does your increased activity impact the quality of your days? What’s making it hard to fit in? And what could make it easier?

As you implement your intentions in your chosen area, your actions in that area will likely make it easier to take better care of yourself in other areas as well. And that is the power of the ripple effect.

I have seen it again and again with my clients – how making a small change in one area and making it consistently almost invariably positively impacts other areas as well.  

So, for example, when clients I’ve worked with have gone in on increasing physical activity, they often experience early on an increase in energy and a lift in mood. Additionally, they find themselves sleeping a bit (or maybe a lot) better and more easily, making healthier, more nourishing choices in what they eat. And as they eat better and sleep better, they have more energy for increasing physical activity and living life more fully… and so they sleep even better and more easily eat a healthier diet overall.

So, rather than feeling like you have to change everything at once to find yourself in a better place, go in on the area that feels most important to you right now, determine what small change you’d like to experiment with in that area this week…and when you’re ready, launch in with the confidence that this small change will very likely ripple into positive changes in other areas as well.

Whatever your past experiences are with implementing changes for your health and well-being, know that it is possible to close the gap between where you are and where you want to be. And often, the best place to start is with one small change that can change everything.

If you’d like some personalized support for making lasting changes to your health and well-being, reach out for a conversation free of charge.

Also, feel free to share this article with someone who might appreciate support for going in on one change that can change everything.