Skip to main content

Designing a Healthy Lifestyle

Lesson 4 of 5

Take Small Steps & Tap Your Motivation

Parneet Pal

Designing a Healthy Lifestyle

Parneet Pal

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

4. Take Small Steps & Tap Your Motivation

Lesson Info

Take Small Steps & Tap Your Motivation

Great. So now that we've identified our goal and we've field it with something strong and emotional as our intention let's get to the next part. So when we set our goal, a common mistake that we make is that we start designing for this big thing, this big outcome and remember, this big outcome works for the slow brain, but for the fast brain it's all about the minutia, the little things right? So it doesn't make it can't identify this big glory big outcome, so to help the fast brain, we have to break our goal down into smaller behaviors, okay on dh some of those smaller behaviors might even be a many goal, and then you take that many goal and defy that into many small behaviours. Okay, this is all going to make sense in just a second. So as we go through this, I want you to start breaking down your goal into smaller behavior. So what are the things that when you d'oh will help you reach your goal? Okay, so I'm going to use tom and angie's examples. So tom freaks instance said he wants ...

to manage stress but there's so many things you could do to manage stress right, he could be taking vitamins he could spend time with his family, he could sleep, he could exercise more. He could be more mindful right so the first thing when you do when you design is to pick the one behavior or mini goal that you almost inspired to do in that moment so for tom for example the many gold was being mindful I know what I say many goal because being mindful is not one behavior right so when you break it down you could be mindful through deep breathing you can meditate you can eat mindfully you khun mindfully listen the list goes on right so again just break it down as much as you can into smaller and smaller units ok let's see what angie did so want you to keep doing that as you look at these examples so for angie losing weight meant again she could sleep better because that would help her with weight loss she could exercise or she could eat better and the thing that she was most inspired to do or drawn to was to eat better awesome now let's break that down what is eating better look like there are tens you know even hundreds of behavior is that go into eating better so she identified a few like more vegetables less junk food more water no soda and so on okay so the key but the key here is to break the gold down into smaller behaviors because remember we are looking out for our fast brain on the fast brain likes the small things that it can identify to do okay so as we set on break the gold down into the smaller behaviors that's the next step on your plan let's see how we can now design these smaller behaviors into our everyday life so to do that I'm going to take the help off a brilliant behavior change model this was designed by dr b j fogg who's, a psychologist at stanford and he has come up with this fog behavior model that is really useful when it comes to designing small habits and behaviors so we're going toe get into that in a second and I would highly encourage all of you to check out b j fogg dot com there's a lot of free fantastic information there on his website so I'm going tio explain this behavior change model right here so what b j says is that for any behavior which is the b teau happen three things have to come together in that moment the t is for a trigger or the cube I'm going to use the example of all of you attending this cast today ok that's your behavior you all showed up so what was the trigger? It was perhaps getting an email saying hey, you know there's a class on designing healthy lifestyle do you want to come right so that was the trigger a stands for ability it means is that behavior easy or hard for you to do so in this case obviously you had time on your schedule and you were able to show up right for those of you watching from home again the same thing you were able to do that so that's great and then em is your motivation so clearly all of you want to design a healthier lifestyle this is an a topic that interests you and so that was the motivation right? If any one of those three things was missing then that accounts for the people for not in the studio audience who are not tuning in right now right does that make sense I wanted to start noticing in your life every single behavior that you do there's a trigger there's a motivation and there's the ability to do it if any one of those things is missing that behavior will not happen so let's see how that plays out so we're just gonna plot motivation here on this access and ability down here on motivation on any given day can be low or high and as far as ability something can be really hard to dio or easy to do so it turns out that there is a tradeoff between motivation and ability so the skull represents that trade off and any trigger or cue that happens above this line he is successful in resulting in the behavioral where is anything that happens below this line that that trigger is not successful so let's let's see this with an example so for example say this email went out to somebody who lies here okay? So if you look at his motivation it's really low this is somebody is absolutely not interested in lifestyle design, right? And at the same time look at where he is on ability it's really hard for him. He has a jam packed schedule today and he can't attend this class anyway so very low motivation, low ability it doesn't matter how many e mails ascendant he is not going to attend the class right? That is not going to happen. Where's think of somebody who lies up here, okay? This is somebody who's super bummed he wants to make this change is really motivated to make this change in his life and but he has a super busy schedule as well. He has a meeting there but because he's so motivated he makes the effort to change the schedule so he can attend the class and so that trigger is then successful. Does that make sense? So as you can see, the small really helps us to understand why we do the things we do now. Here are two key takeaways from here motivation varies right? We just talked about will power and attention being limited resource is so during the day our motivation goes up and down and up and down right so the better thing to do instead of relying on motivation to stake to a behavior is to move it this way on this access, so we want to try to build behaviors on this part off the graph, which means make them really, really easy to do so that whether your motivation as high or low, you're more likely to do that behavior, does that make sense? Okay, so let's make the behavior is really easy to do, and in fact, one great way to do that is to take baby steps. Ok, so we all you know, especially around you as usual, we have usually really psyched, and we want to make these big, humongous changes in our lives just know that is a recipe for disaster, so start small and make your way up, and what this does is when you're successful with a small baby step, it sets up a momentum and you're more likely to then just keep building on it towards your goal, and I'll share with you another really cool way, offsetting a baby step, which is called a tiny habit. Now, again, this was designed by dr b, j fall and it's, a brilliant method think off a tiny habit as sort of the smallest unit of a baby step, okay, so I'm giving going to give you an example and illustrate this but a tiny habit consists of three things. The first is the anchor moment, which is nothing but the cue off the trigger now with tiny habits what's brilliant about this methodology really is we're using an existing routine or behavior as our trigger, so we don't have to remind ourselves externally, ok uhm and we use that as the ankle moment to which we link our new tiny behavior that we want to d'oh and then we always celebrate quickly just an instant remember, we need to get a little bit of a dopamine hit on a reward, so we instantly celebrate which helps to set that loop in the brain that much more effectively. So let's actually put this into action. So this is a template for how you said tiny habits it's really useful and basically what it is is after I and you put in whatever your ankle or trigger is I will and you insert the tiny behavior. So this is how we can do it now a tiny behavior if something that takes less than thirty seconds to do so it's really tiny ok, an ankle moment is an existing routine, so think about all the things you do every day we wake up, we brush our teeth, we get in the car, we open our laptops, we check our phones, there's so many routine behaviors that we do during our day so any one of those conserve as an ankle moment for the new tiny behavior that you want to do okay, so let's see what an example might be on your blueprint I've written I'm inspired to do whatever your behavior wass and then you might write down what the baby steps might be leading up to that behavior and then if you wish, you can even device a tiny habit let's see what tom did, so if we remember don't started with I want to manage stress, then we broke that big goal down into smaller behaviors. One of them was, I want to be mindful great! And then we broke being mindful down into smaller behaviors, so tom was really inspired to go with deep breathing as his mindful behavior. Ok, so he put deep breathing as his behavior, and then he said, you know what? I'm going to take baby steps, right? So his baby steps will I'm going to start with just two threats, and then I'm going to move up to one minute, two minutes and three minutes, right? So his goal was to get to three minutes of deep breathing every day, and these were the baby steps that would lead him there, and he said, I'm also going to come up with a tiny habit to do this and so he said, you know I wake up in the morning every day and I opened my eyes and I'm going to use that as my ankle moment so after I opened my eyes in the morning I will take two deep breaths right? So that became his tiny habit and that was really a great way for him to start the day to remind himself that it was a good time to be mindful and sort of set the tone for the day and when he's successful with that tiny habit he can keep building on it so from two breads and he can take the next baby step increase it to one minute two minutes and three minutes did he reaches that goal of three minutes every morning doesn't does this make sense? Is this easy to do let's do another example just so we understand this better. So for angie remember angie said she wants to lose weight and when she broke down her behaviors one of the many goals was to eat better and under eat better. She had many smaller behaviors as well and one of them was to eat more vegetables so that's the one that she was most inspired to do right now right that's the first next step that she wanted to take so she wrote down her beef behavior was eight more veggies and then for baby steps she said, you know yes one day in the future I want to eat vegetables with every single meal but right now I'm just going to start with one salad with lunch every day and she was actually really brilliant look how she died her intention into the tiny habit that she came up with she packs her grandson's lunchbox every day and there are vegetables in her grandson's lunch box that was her daily routine and she said well that would be a great ankle moment for me to remind me and again remember her grandson reminds her off intention she wants to do what's good for him and for her so she said after I back my grandson's lunch box I will set aside the same salad for myself ok so that is the first little tiny habit that she can take towards her goal of eating more vegetables now I know this might all sound like wow this is a lot of manu show we really have to break this down but this is key remember this is how you're going to talk to your fast braid this is how you're going to be successful so small and steady will win the race so I'd love to hear just fairy quickly both from the studio audience and from folks online I just want you to simply name your behavior so you have your goal in your intention what is the one behavior that is really calling your name right now and what is your first next step? Maybe it's a baby step maybe you came up with a tiny habit either one is fine would anyone like to share? Yes john doe sure so did right in my tiny behavior is too exercise and so my baby step are my next that would be a soon as I wake up in the morning to get up and go walk you know to just set aside that time and do that okay, so let me help you sort of crystallized that baby step a little bit for the so the key thing to remember about baby steps as they have to be baby steps ok rhonda so when we say going out for a walk that's actually a huge step okay? Because it's the morning it's probably cozy under your blankets it's cold outside and so the idea of going for a walk might sound good right now to use conscious brain but trust me when it's time to wake up in the morning you're fast brain is like it's better to be under the under the blanket so you let's break let's make that's really small so what? What is the first thing when you wake up in the morning? What is the first active thing that you can do in the house without even going out for a walk yet get out of it perfect and then between getting out of your bed and actually going for a walk, what needs to happen? Um, a couple of things and brushing teeth ate breakfast karan clothes to go outside for facts so you hit the nail on the head and put on the clothes. So your first chinese habit or small behavior might be just to lay out your workout clothes for the first week. All you have to d'oh. After I wake up in the morning, I will go and lay out my workout clothes. You don't even have to get into them, okay? And I know this may sound really silly, but it is really effective. Once you start setting up that loop in your fast brain, you will automatically then start putting those clothes on and walking out the door, and then you just take baby steps. You don't need to go on a one mile walk right away, just walk around the block and build up. So does does that help? Yes, fantastic. Chris, do we have anyone on line? Yeah, we've got a couple coming in. Daisy says that she wants to think about what to eat for dinner so the tiny thing is when she wakes up in the morning to say, think of what I want to eat that day as soon as I wake up some kind of planning dinner for later in the day and then changes scrap says that they want to meditate more on the baby steps every day a tiny habit is to do it before bed every evening okay, great. Thank you both for sharing and I just want to point out a couple of things one is I love I think it was daisy who said ah that when I wake up you know, after I wake up in the morning I will plan out what I want to eat that day that's brilliant that's a great tiny habit and what you will see in the next section and what I would hold you to dio is too keep a pen and a paper next to your bed side and some sort of reminders ah, picture off food that will help to trigger you when you wake up in the morning so then you can then write that out but that's great that's that's wonderful and for who was it was a sand more wanted to meditate and medicaid that is cici scraps is the screen he's glad you tuned air um I love your goal for meditating more, and what I would recommend is it sounds like you want to do something at night, so you might want to set a tiny habit of after I tell in the light off in my bedroom at night, I will take a couple of deep rats. Something like that could be your tiny habit. Wonderful, thank you so much for sharing. I hope this is becoming really clear and practical on how to take next steps.

Class Description

Eat better, move more and stress less, with a little help from science.

You know you want to make changes to your lifestyle and live healthier. So what's stopping you?

In Designing a Healthy Lifestyle with Wisdom Labs, you're in for some good news: you don't need to work harder to live better, it is more a matter of design. 

In this class you'll learn:

  • A surprising and impactful reason why lifestyle choices are so important for your health 
  • Which strategies work best (as proven by science) when designing habits 
  • How mindfulness can boost your chances of success 
  • What to do when you fall off the wagon (again!)
Rather than getting overwhelmed by all the changes you would like to make, come to class with a lifestyle goal in mind. By the end of Designing a Healthy Lifestyle with Wisdom Labs, you'll have a clear road-map on taking the first, next step and building on it till you get to the lifestyle you desire. 



What a great class!! Parneet shares some great insights and tools that break down why we procrastinate or don't act on our goals. The science behind it is pretty fascinating. My favorite part was that it was short! Don't get me wrong, I'm a big creative live fan and customer. but sometimes the long classes become overwhelming and hard to follow. Absolutely recommend this 100% I'm exited to start applying her concepts and see what happens!

Nena Metelo

I enjoy the way Parneet explains, so calmy and eloquently, small triggers that help big life-changes. She helps us find and integrate in everyday habits the really small and easy steps we need to help us achieve grand goals.


Parneet is an intelligent, warm, and engaging person. It is amazing how much I got out of such a short course/lecture. She explains everything very clearly, and I know that her strategies are going to help me live a more fulfilling life. Thanks, Parneet!