Start With One

Have you ever woke up one day deciding to begin a new habit and by the end of the day have it fully engrained in your life?

No, of course you haven’t. Habits don’t work that way.

Habits begin very slowly. That may be one of the reasons why good habits are hard to develop and bad habits are easy to develop. It should be the other way around. After all, we want to develop the good habit. We don’t want to develop the bad habit. And yet, our lives are full of bad habits we didn’t want.

Let’s think for a moment how that might occur. Take smoking for example. This is a habit a lot of people would like to break. I have never known a single person who has this habit who woke up one morning, decided they wanted to be a smoker, went to the store and bought cigarettes and smoked the pack that day as the beginning of their habit.

More likely, you were with some people who smoked. They offered, maybe even encouraged you to have a cigarette. At first you resisted. Eventually though, you gave in to the pressure and lit one up. Your body rejected this foreign substance. It stank, it burned, it made your eyes water, you began coughing to get this poison out of your body. After you finished the cigarette you probably felt sick. You were nauseous and your head was spinning. You might even have thrown-up.

But what did you do… those of you who have the habit of smoking? You persevered! You were not going to let little things like the rank odor, the burning pain in your throat, and the coughing stop you from achieving your goal! NothingĀ  was going to stop you. You wanted the habit of being a smoker!

Oh wait, maybe that’s not true. You probably did not decide you wanted to develop this habit. It just snuck up on you.

You didn’t dive in with all your gusto and commit to being a smoker, come what may. You didn’t go out a by a case of cigarettes that first day so you would have a pack for every day of the week.

No, the habit snuck up on you – one cigarette at a time. The first one was a gift. Maybe the second, maybe the third. You started slowly – one at time. Probably not even on consecutive days. Slowly though, the habit started to get a hold of you. Finally, you were in – you went an bought your very own pack.

If you want to develop the habit of not-smoking you can do it in the same manner. You didn’t develop the habit cold turkey. Why do you think you need to develop the habit of not-smoking cold turkey?

Start with one.

Begin with skipping one. You choose which one. Push yourself to get through the urge. Push yourself to get through the time when you normally have one. Once you get in the habit of not having a cigarette at that specific time of the day, you can pick the next one to skip.

One at a time… eventually there will be no more to be had and you will have your new not-smoking habit!

In developing other new habits you can begin the same way.

Do you want to be physically fit? Start with one push-up. Begin with one squat. Do you want to wake up earlier? Start with moving your alarm clock five minutes earlier. Do you want to eat healthier? Begin with eliminating one treat. Begin with adding one piece of fruit. Do you want to improve your thoughts? Begin with five minutes of reading a self development book.

We often get discouraged because we get overwhelmed by the big picture. We look at the end goal and realize it is so far off and we think we can never get there. Learn to think about the lifestyle change that will take you to your goals. Focus on what changes to make in your lifestyle that will get you where you want to go.

Remember, it’s a journey, not just a destination. Start with one. Pursue Great!, In all you do.

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You may email questions, comments and feedback to jack@pursuegreat.com.

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