My brother, Gord, was feeling the stress of an over-extended life; a new home-based business in start-up mode demanding a lot of his brain power and energy, his wife working full time, a mom with health challenges that needed help and attention, and 2 very active young kids that liked to wake up early! His solution to getting through the days on the run was to drink more coffee and take a few more trips per day through the Tim Horton's coffee shop drive-through. Not being a coffee drinker at heart, the way it tasted good for him was to put 3 heaping teaspoonfuls of sugar into each cup.
Gradually, Gord found himself with some unwanted pounds around the middle. After analyzing the number of cups of coffee he was drinking, and the amount of sugar he put in each cup, he shockingly discovered that he was drinking 3 cups of sugar PER WEEK!
That's more than 150 cups of sugar per year! With 750 calories per cup of sugar, it became quickly apparent why he was gaining weight despite his best fitness efforts. To drive home the staggering results, he put the sugar in a measuring cup and now leaves it on his kitchen counter in full view. He cut the sugar-laden coffees out of his life, and the pounds immediately started dropping off his body.
The sugar story (thanks for letting me tell it Gord!) got me thinking about the fact that there is often only ONE change we need to make in order to have a dramatic difference in our lives.
4 STEPS TO GETTING BIG RESULTS FROM JUST ONE CHANGE
1/ Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing:
My client, Susan, had a list a mile long of her goals for the next six months. I applauded her efforts in creating such an ambitious list but asked her "What item on that list, if achieved, would make the most positive difference in your life?" For Susan, it wasn't getting out of debt or moving her business to the next level ...it was simply "getting fit." I recommended to Susan that we focus on that "main thing" first. Set yourself up for success and avoid overwhelm by keeping the main thing the main thing. What change on your list feels most important to you right now?
2/ Shrink the Change:
Small bites can yield BIG results. We often abandon goals because they seem so big that we can't get started or even imagining sticking with them long enough to see them through.
Think of Gord's sugar story - he didn't have to cut out eating everything sweet, only the massive amounts of sugar in his coffee. In the Heath brothers book, SWITCH: How to Change Things when Change is Hard, they advise readers to "shrink the size of the change" so that it looks smaller to you which will make it more likely that you will not only start down the path of change, but will also keep going. They actually advise you to "lower the bar" to assure the success of your change efforts. What is one small change that, if achieved, could have a BIG impact on your life?
3/ Adopt a different perspective:
It wasn't until Gord put the sugar into a measuring cup that the full impact of his "habit" was apparent. That allowed him to see things in a different way. A clear and obvious way that could spark him to make a change. Is there a possibility of looking at a problem or challenge in your life differently?
4/ Think Creatively:
Sometimes a different action will give you a different result. The dropping pounds strategy for Gord previously had been to cut other things that he loved out of his diet (like his beloved Chips Ahoy cookies). Those attempts at "Chips Ahoy cold turkey" were never successful. However, living without a newly acquired coffee habit was do-able and instantly had the same desired result. Is there another way to get the result you want in your life?