Small Goals Lead To Big Change

When we embark on a journey to changing a behaviour like stopping smoking or losing weight, we want to see results instantaneously. This is of course understandable. For example, you have reduced your smoking – a behaviour you have done your entire life – and you’ve heard from other people who have quit how great it feels once you stop, yet you see and feel no different 7 days into your journey. Similarly, you want to lose weight and you put things in place to do this yet you only lose 1lb in the first week. This is a frustrating feeling and the urge to want to pack it all in, give up and go back to your old habits can be very strong because that is a place that is comfortable for you. Breaking habits to improve your health can have strong motivations behind them but it does not make the journey any easier. Bearing this in mind then, how can the process be made more manageable so that the chances of us giving up are minimal?

Let’s Be Realistic & Consistent

We often think that we need to think BIG when it comes to changing particular aspects of our lives. Don’t get me wrong, thinking big can be helpful as it allows us to visualise the end goal and the place where we want to be. For example, “I want to lose 2 stone” or “I want to be able to do 20 press ups without stopping”. The issue is, when we only think of those big end goals, they seem so far removed from where we are right now that getting there seems like an almost impossible feat. Setting realistic, clear and manageable goals gifts us with that feeling of accomplishment frequently and therefore encourages us to keep going. Instead of thinking I want to lose 2 stone, set goals that will contribute to you getting there e.g. “I want to lose 2lb this week and I will do that by replacing fizzy drinks with water or sugar free cordial”. A 1lb or 2lb weight loss may seem minimal but over time this consistent loss will lead you to your big end goal. Reducing your alcohol consumption by 3 units a week (approx one large glass of wine) may seem small but again consistently doing this over time will lead to positive health outcomes. Regularly doing 1 more press up each day will eventually lead you to your 20. Access further information and support tips by visiting


Having something or somebody to be held responsible to can help support you to achieve those small goals. Talk to a coach, start a food diary, track your smoking reduction on Best You, create an alcohol diary, tally those press ups or tell a friend/family and ask them to do it with you. The Best Days Diary is a really useful tool to identify those days every week where you want to be better across a range of lifestyle areas
Have these tools in place and commit to them and they will help you to remain on track and they will get you where you want to be. Starting a behaviour change is often the hardest bit, set those goals small and YOU WILL get there. It is all about the journey not just the destination.