Baby steps to reach your healthy lifestyle goals is the ONLY way to systematically build a bridge from where you are to where you want to be. It’s easy to believe the best way to get from where you are to where you want to be is with a massive jump, but that just isn’t true.
In this episode you will learn what baby steps are and how to determine a baby step toward your goal.
Listen to podcast here (or read down below)
In this episode, you’ll hear…
00:31 The lie that a massive action is needed
01:45 Building a bridge across the gap of where we are to where we want to be
04:04 A system for creating positive, healthy habits
04:42 What baby steps are
06:45 How God often uses small beginnings with his people
08:24 How to determine a baby step for your desired goal
15:37 Testimonies of students’ successful baby steps
18:28 The baby step approach of the Healthy Free Life Way
Links mentioned in this episode:
“When Satan tempts us to despise the day of small things, he shines as an outstanding liar because Satan does not despise the day of small things. Satan fears the day of small things in our life because he sees what great things God does in them and brings out of them.” Charles Spurgeon
The Massive Gap
If you’re anything like me, when attempting to reach a goal or to create a new habit, maybe you, too, have believed that massive action is what’s required in order to see massive success. In the past when trying to reach a goal, I’ve looked at the gap between where I was and where I wanted to be.
- I would make a plan!
- I would prepare,
- muster up the willpower,
- get a running start,
- and would attempt to jump across the gap.
I would make progress at first, thanks to the laws of physics, but I would forget about the law of gravity.
You see the gap is too wide to get there by jumping and I would barely make it a few feet before falling.
I would manage to climb out of the pit and get back to the side from which I started.
However, I forgot that my giant leap didn’t work before, and I would believe the promise that maybe this new pair of shiny shoes would help me to get there this time. So once again, I would spend time planning and preparing, mustering up the willpower, getting a running start, and attempting to jump the gap again.
Why did I think that this time I would be able to actually make it?
A Better Approach
What if we did this? What if instead of attempting to jump to the other side to reach our goal, we built a bridge, systematically laying down one small plank, one small step, and then another and then another. If we keep at it long enough, we will have solid bridge to help us get to the other side.
Are goals important?
Yes, they’re the rails that we will lay down and lay those steps upon, but the small steps we take and the habits we create along the way are what will actually help us to reach our goal.
The problem is when it comes to getting healthy or losing weight or conquering cravings or whatever your goal is that you’re trying to achieve, thanks to the diet and exercise industry, we are led to believe that the only way to cross the gap is to jump.
Whether it’s the latest diet, the newest exercise videos, or the next slim shake pill or wrap. We are promised that we’re going to lose 30 pounds in 30 days. We’re going to have buns of steel and six pack abs.
Because we hate where we are and we are desperate to get to the place of health and freedom, we go all in, we prepare, we clean out the pantry, we muster the willpower and we get a running start. But what happens?
Some of us may last three days, some of us a week, some maybe even the whole 30 days.
A Baby Step Approach or a Diet Approach?
But listen, a diet never works. Sure. Maybe short-term, but never long-term. Research tells us that 95% of dieters fail at dieting. I’ve even seen reports of 99%. I know that I was one of those statistics. Are you too?
There are many reasons why we fail at dieting. In fact, my husband, Chris and I did a whole episode on The Top 9 Reasons Why Diets Fail. And one of the reasons why we mentioned is that we try to take on too much at once. We try to change our whole diet and start an exercise program all on the same day. It is just too much for our brains to handle.
Baby Step Your Brain
Many don’t realize how the brain works and how to really create a new, healthy lifestyle that is doable, sustainable, and lasts a lifetime. What we really need is not a new diet or weight loss pill.
What we need is a system for creating positive, healthy habits that will help us to reach our goals and our dreams.
The good news is we don’t have to jump to the other side overnight. In fact, all we need to do is to take one small baby step. That is it. And then another. And then another, the baby step approach to getting healthy is a core philosophy here at Healthy Free Life.
All of our programs are built on baby steps. It is truly the only way to true lasting change.
What are Baby Steps?
Let me explain what baby steps are when you’re trying to build a new, healthy habit such as eating healthy or exercising. It’s easy to start too big. And even when you know you should start small, it’s still easy to start too big.
We’ve got to break down our big goals and our big actions into small baby steps, teeny tiny actions.
I’ve been studying about goals and habits for decades now, and all the health experts recommend that you start super small. I mean, just listen to some of the titles of some of these best-selling books on habits.
- Atomic Habits
- Tiny Habits
- Mini Habits
Maybe when I write a book on habits, I’ll call it Micro Habits. It could be a best-seller. No, I’ll probably call it Baby Step Habits because that would definitely be more on-brand.
How small is a Baby Step?
Well, James Clear, bestselling author of the book, Atomic Habits, recommends starting with a two-minute habit. The two-minute rule states:
When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes.
Leo Babauta, another habit author, encourages us to make it so easy you can’t say no.
In the beginning, when we are first starting to reach our goal, we’ve got to make our steps easy. We’ve got to make them easy enough that we don’t need motivation to do it in the beginning.
It is super important that the first steps are mindless in the beginning.
It isn’t about what you’re doing. It’s about forming the habit.
For instance, it’s not about exercise. It is about developing the habit of exercise. In the beginning, you’ve got to focus on the habit first and the results later. You’ve got to master the habit of “doing the thing.”
Baby Steps are Good!
In the beginning, you cannot allow yourself to get discouraged by these small steps. Did you know that the Bible talks about small beginnings and encourages us not to get discouraged? Zechariah chapter four records a vision from God. The Israelites were working to rebuild the temple and it was taking a long time.
Zerubbabel was the Royal person who worked with the priest in charge of the temple restoration project. In verse 10, God encouraged Zerubbabel and said,
“Do not despise these small beginnings for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.”
I love the commentary about this passage from Enduring Word. The commentary says,
“In many of God’s choice workers, He uses a powerful season of small things. Those days aren’t a mistake, nor are they punishment. They are days of priceless shaping and preparation. These are not days to despise.”
Charles Spurgeon encourages us about small beginnings. He says,
“When Satan tempts us to despise the day of small things, he shines as an outstanding liar because Satan does not despise the day of small things. Satan fears the day of small things in our life because he sees what great things God does in them and brings out of them.”
Baby Steps to Great Things
Y’all, do you realize that God can bring great things out of small beginnings of restoring your temple? Do not be discouraged.
Remember rather than trying to do something amazing from the beginning, super big, super huge, I instead want you to start with baby steps and gradually improve and along the way your willpower and your motivation will increase, which is going to help it to be so much easier to stick with your healthy habit.
Let’s look an example here. Maybe you have a goal in your life to live a healthy free life to get healthy and free.
A Baby Steps Example
Instead of being overwhelmed at the goal, start by asking yourself some questions in order to help you break down the goal from these big actions into baby steps.
Q1: Ask yourself, “What do I need in order to live a healthy, free life?”
A1: Maybe you say to yourself, “Well, I need to get in shape. I need to stay in shape.”
Q2: Then ask yourself, “What do I need to do to stay in shape?”
A2: “Well, to stay in shape I want to exercise.”
Okay. Great. Let’s break it down even further.
Q3: What is the first step I need to do in order to exercise on my exercise days?
What is it you need to do? Break it down super small.
A3: “The first thing I need to do to start exercising is to put on my sneakers.”
Then you ask yourself, does that take two minutes or less? And if the answer is yes, you have arrived at your baby step!
This is your baby step.
Seriously?! Put on your sneakers. All you have to do is to commit to putting on your sneakers every day at the time that you plan to work out. I know it seems so small, ridiculous even.
But you have to believe me. You’ve got to trust me.
And listen, you can do this with any healthy habit you want to achieve in your life! Really, any goal, just take the goal and start asking yourself questions. Like, what do I need to do in order to achieve this? And you keep breaking down the actions until you get to a behavior that takes two minutes or less until you discover the very first action you need to take.
Maybe your big goal was to exercise 30 minutes, four to five times a week. Well, it starts with just putting on your shoes Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Do you need to advance from there? Well, sure.
James Clear says, “Start by mastering the first two minutes of the smallest version of the behavior, then advance to an intermediate step, and repeat that process mastering each stage before moving on to the next level.”
Eventually, you’re going to end up with a habit you had originally hoped to build despite starting small.
Baby Steps Can’t Be Rushed
So what if it takes you six months or even a year to truly develop a habit of working out 30 minutes a day, four to five days a week? Isn’t it better than start/stop attempts at exercising in our lives?
You see, that’s what I was for years. I was a stop/starter. So I started working out when I was 18. I would go to the gym and I go all in.
If you were to map out the last several decades of my life, you would see that I was never consistent. I was in the gym and out of the gym, doing workout videos and then not doing workout videos.
I was all or nothing because I always tried to go all-in. Even a few years ago, I tried to go all-in on a six-day-a-week program where it was 45 minutes a day, six days a week.
I went from zero to 100, but I didn’t last more than a week.
So it happens to the best of us. I knew better, but it wasn’t until I truly understood how habits are developed and the importance of baby steps that I actually began to listen to my own teachings. I began to realize that I had gotten it wrong all these years, and I decided to start from the beginning with exercise.
And I worked at it day after day, month after month taking baby steps along the way. And you know what? This year 2021 is the year that I will become an exerciser for the first time in my life.
Baby Steps are So Important
Dear one, starting small is super important, but listen, it’s not just me who has realized the benefits of starting small.
I think about my student, Shannon, who didn’t like exercising, but she trusted the baby-step philosophy. She started small with using our metabolic workout videos, and now she said,
“I actually look forward to exercising.”
Can you imagine actually looking forward to exercising?
Remember motivation comes only after taking action. Actions lead to results. And results lead to motivation. Then motivation helps us continue and get to that point where we look forward to the action because of the results it’s giving.
Baby Steps Are For Everything
Now, I’ve talked a lot about exercising in this podcast because it was just a great example, but this baby-step philosophy can apply to any health goal that you’re trying to achieve.
For instance, when it comes to healthy eating, I incorporate baby steps into my healthy eating course, the 40 Day Food Revival. At the end of the 40 days, I don’t expect any student to have accomplished everything that I teach in this course. I provide a wealth of education, but when it comes to the action plans for each of the weeks of the program, I break down the action into baby steps and I help students take baby steps- one small baby step to implement for each week’s teaching.
It is never overwhelming. It is always doable and achievable and most importantly, sustainable.
For instance, in the Sugar Lesson, from the beginning I don’t expect anyone to give up sugar 100%. In my experience, it never works long-term and it’s not realistic. Instead, I baby-step my students.
Baby Steps for Your Journey
The first steps I have students work on is just an awareness phase: to spend a week becoming aware of the sugar they are consuming.
And then from there we move on to upgrades. In the second stage, I have students upgrade and replace sweeteners and sweet foods that they reach for.
It is not about deprivation, but upgrades! From there, I have my students start to decrease their total sugar intake.
This can take time. For some, it can take a few weeks, and for some it’s a few months, and for some longer.
It’s okay because your journey is your journey.
Don’t you think that it is better to slowly decrease over time and overcome your sugar addiction in three to six months than try to go all in on a sugar fast?
Maybe once a year, you’re just like, “This is it. I’m giving up sugar completely!” You try to go sugar-free. What happens? You fall off the wagon and the rest of the year, you end up eating a disease-producing amount of sugar every day. Which is better?
Do You Believe in Baby Steps Yet?
Now, maybe you don’t believe me yet. So I decided to poll my Healthy Free Life students. I asked them,
“How has the Healthy Free Life baby-step philosophy helped you on your health journey?”
Here are what a few of them said. I loved these responses.
- Roberta said, “It has helped me to not be overwhelmed. Baby steps have helped me to form new healthy habits.”
- Jolynn says, “I love the baby steps. It makes everything doable and not overwhelming and so much easier to stick.”
- Rowena says, “It has helped me to accomplish my goal without being overwhelmed. And baby steps lead me to accomplish bigger steps and living a healthier life.
- Joyce says, “It actually reminds me to be kind to myself, even if I only do one.”
- Brenda says, “It allows me to move forward toward my goals and not feel overwhelmed with what I’m doing yet. Small steps lets me know that I can do something to stay motivated, excited about what I’m doing.”
- Karen says, “Oh, it was a great way to start not feeling like I had to do everything all at once or perfectly. I could focus on one thing at a time and master each step before moving on. I always feel like I’m making progress and doing something.”
- And I love this one from Anastasia. “The baby-step mantra is like forgiveness from yourself and from God as we are not perfect. Baby steps allow learning. They allow progress and it does not let defeat enter in. I love it.”
So did you hear some themes there?
Baby Steps to Reaching Your Goals
My baby-step approach is going to help you to prevent overwhelm. It’s going to help you actually do the thing and prevent discouragement. And most importantly, it’s going to help you achieve your goals.
Have a healthy, free, life by creating healthy habits that last a lifetime. Yes!
You can be like our Healthy Free Life student, Theresa, who has baby stepped her way to losing over a hundred pounds in the last 18 months, no depriving diet required. She didn’t have to start out with a crazy amount of exercise. Could she have lost it quicker, doing a trendy diet and an exercise program?
Well, maybe. Would it have lasted and been sustainable? No.
She had already tried that dozens of times in her life and it didn’t work. She always ended up back where she was.
I’m going to be sharing Theresa’s story in an upcoming episode. I cannot wait for you to be encouraged by her. So listen, if you’re like me, or if you’re like Teresa and you have failed before getting healthy or losing weight, let me encourage you with this quote from the book, Mini Habits by Stephen Geiss. He says,
“We are so quick to blame ourselves for lack of progress, but we’re slow to blame our strategies. Then we repeat them over and over trying to make them work. But here’s the thing. If you fail using a particular strategy, more than a few times, you need to try another one.”
My friend, maybe it’s time to try a different approach and the Healthy Free Life Way is the approach that you’ve been praying for. If you want to know the first steps to take, how to get started on your journey to a Healthy Free Life, and the baby steps that are necessary to get to that place, the Healthy Free Life Starter Kit was created just for you.
In this kit I outlined the first five steps that you need to take to start your journey to a healthy, free life. I also include devotions, prayers, food lists, and more. I can’t wait for you to get this in your hands so that you can start your journey today. You can request the kit by clicking HERE.
May I remind you of where our true help comes from in order to help us to complete the good work of restoring our temple? Psalms 121: 1-3 says,
“I lift my eyes unto the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.”
He will not let you stumble. The one who watches over you will not.
Until next time. Bye for now.