So many times when people seek me out for training, they have been through different cycles of exercising, then not exercising. Dieting, then overeating and making poor choices. They have oscillated between a mindset of motivation and then one where they struggle to make themselves exercise.

I used to cycle through the same things.

One of the biggest mistakes that I used to make, and that I see many of us make, is try to be 100 % better immediately. Say for instance someone decides that they are going start a workout program that is long overdue. Instead of deciding to start with adding exercise to their lives 2-3 days per week, they decide they need to do it 5 or 6 days (or maybe even 7 days) every week.

Almost immediately this leads to quitting. What happens is that, not only does their body get overwhelmed, their mind does even more so! There are not many of us that can go from 0-100% in anything and sustain that for the long term. So, then why don’t we try something different? Something that is better for us and way more manageable.

At the New Beginnings Center in Nashville (one of the places where I am privileged to help women move forward in their health), we teach our clients to forget 100%. Instead, we ask them to just be 5% better … then, next week, in a couple of weeks or even a month, be 5% better again.

Think about that. Over a year, think about the cumulation of just being a little bit better each time. This slow and steady pace helps your body and your mind adapt to the changes you are wanting for yourself. Don’t make it just about 5% better in your exercise habits or your eating habits either.

Seek out that 5% on the inside too. It’s never enough to just address your external habits. If we don’t address what’s going on in our head, we are just going through the motions and this doesn’t lead to sustainable change. The habits we have in our self talk and our perspective are even more important. Work to make those better too…little bits at a time.

The pressure is off. Just be 5% better today. It’s just a fraction. That’s it. It’s a simple formula, it’s manageable, and these changes will STICK.