Action builds momentum

What is one thing that if you did it everyday, would make a hugely positive impact on your health or your life? 

Are you doing it everyday? Yes? No?

If your answer is “no”, we could explore all the reasons “why not” but I’m an integrative registered dietitian nutritionist and this isn’t therapy. We’re going to focus on action. Action builds momentum.

Action builds momentum.

I recently created a new weekly client check-in form for my nutrition coaching clients. I wanted to eliminate ALL potentially extraneous information and make it possible to complete the form in less than 60 seconds each week. I wanted clients to be able to tell me what ACTIONS they are doing to achieve their goals or alleviate their health concerns. This action check-in is powerful and I wanted to share it with you too. 

A small act is worth a million thoughts.

Ai Weiwei, contemporary artist

Here’s the deal. Action is essential for progress. But, so many of us get caught up in THINKING about taking action instead of actually doing it. We think at some point motivation will propel us forward and give us the will to take action, but this thinking is backwards. 

Motivation often comes after starting, not before. Action produces momentum.

James Clear, author of Atomic Habits

Imperfect action is better than thinking about taking action. So, let me ask that question again:  What is one thing that if you did it everyday, would make a hugely positive impact on your health or your life? 

Got your answer? Now, make it so easy that you can stick to it for 3 weeks straight NO MATTER WHAT. You will gain trust in yourself and confidence in your ability to follow through.  

woman slicing purple vegetable

When choosing a new habit many people seem to ask themselves, “What can I do on my best days? The trick is to ask, “What can I stick to even on my worst days?”

James Clear, author of Atomic Habits

Here are some examples of simple daily actions that could have a profoundly positive impact on your health and your life when done consistently:

  1. drinking half your body weight in ounces of water per day 
  2. eating 5+ servings of non-starchy vegetables per day
  3. eating foods with protein, fat, and fiber at every meal 
  4. taking your supplements (as recommended by a health expert you trust)
  5. walking 10,000+ steps per day
  6. lifting weights or strength training for 10 minutes per day
  7. meditating for 10 minutes per day 

Note that the above examples are actions. They could be checked off on an app or list everyday. Either you did it or you didn’t. If the action you choose to focus on feels hard, difficult, not doable, or even challenging, choose an easier action. The action you choose should be so simple, you could stick to it “even on my worst days” like when life gets really busy, you have a deadline, your kid gets sick, or whatever. 

Here are some ways you could make the above simple daily actions even simpler:

  1. drinking 8 ounces of water first thing in the morning
  2. eating 2+ servings of non-starchy vegetables per day (ie. one at lunch, one at dinner)
  3. eating foods with protein, fat, and fiber at breakfast
  4. taking one supplement (as recommended by a health expert you trust) at the same time each day (ie. at breakfast or before bed)
  5. walking for 10 minutes during the day
  6. lifting something heavy (ie. a dumbell) for 1 minute (ie. when you first wake up, before you get dressed for the day, after you brush your teeth, etc.)
  7. meditating for 1 minute per day (ie. when you first wake up or before you go to sleep)

You see how this works? If your action still doesn’t feel “easy”, keep simplifying it until it’s 100% doable everyday. What will happen is you’ll prove to yourself that you are the type of person who takes action. You don’t just think about what you want to do or change, you are actually making progress. You have PROOF of progress. That helps build motivation and in turn momentum. Action builds momentum. Thinking about taking action does not.

If you’re trying to figure out when and how to incorporate this ONE action into your day, use a trick called habit stacking and learn how to reassess your habits to focus on daily actions (processes) versus goals.

So. . . what is one thing that if you did it everyday, would make a hugely positive impact on your health or your life? 

Action builds momentum. Quit thinking about it and GO DO IT!

Erin Harner

Erin Harner is an Integrative Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), author, and speaker based in Ithaca, NY. Erin melds functional medicine and culinary nutrition to help her clients uncover their unique diet and confidently cook healthy nourishing meals that meet the needs of their whole family. Learn about Erin's services and connect on Instagram.

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