We all have a goal related to bettering our physical and/or mental health. Eat cleaner, sleep better, exercise more, take a break during the day, be more present with friends/family – there’s always something we can do to create a healthier situation for ourselves.

So why is it that we get excited about these goals, but then shut down when the time arrives to actually do something?

There is always an excuse

No time. No money. No desire. Too much effort. I am too busy.

I hear ya. I was right there with you. I was a senior executive at a consulting company managing a global workforce. I had all the excuses, but my favorite one: I was just too busy.

Then came THE MOMENT. You know the one – a moment in time where all of a sudden, you know you have to do something. In my case that moment was a weigh-in at the doctor.

That scale told me it was time to lose some weight.

I knew how to lose weight. Eat better and exercise more. Got it. I went home and committed to tracking all of my food and going to the gym four times every week.

That routine lasted one full week. It was too hard. I had bitten off more than I could chew (literally and figuratively).

How was I ever going to create a habit?

I needed health to be a habit – where my food choices and my exercise commitment felt so normal to me they became part of my daily routine without batting an eyelash.

So I did what I hate to do – I decided to start small.
Really small.
Really really small.

I figured that doing something, no matter how small the effort, would be better than doing nothing at all.

I had recently read an article about how drinking more water would help you lose weight, gain energy and heighten your strategic thinking capabilities.

All of those benefits from one glass of water in the morning. Yes please!

So every night before I went to bed, I poured myself a tall glass of water. I put that glass of water on my bedside table. In the morning when I woke up, I drank that full glass of water before I left the bedroom to start my day.

Taking this action in the morning, before I started my day and as part of my regular morning routine, made it easy. So easy, I couldn’t fail.

And I saw benefits immediately. Weight loss, more energy, and the ability to speak coherently on a 6am conference call!

One small step every day

I started with drinking a glass of water. Once this became my ‘normal’, I added a 30 day squat challenge to my morning routine.

And in 30 days, exercising in the morning became my ‘normal’.

See how this works?

The absolute best way to create a healthy habit is to choose an action so small you cannot fail, then repeat this action every day for at least 32 days.

In the work I do as a Thrive Facilitator, this idea is called a Micro-Step. At the end of each session I facilitate, participants pick one micro-step and commit to doing this micro-step every day for 32 days.

Like drinking a glass of water every morning. Or taking a stretch break once/day. Or maybe meditating for five minutes every day.

Whatever your area of need, you can easily find a micro-step to help move you in the right direction.

Drinking a glass of water every day has been the foundation for all the healthy habits I have today. But I’m not done! Every month I commit to another micro-step – because they keep propelling me in the direction of my goals.

Whether you need to build a healthy foundation or build on your good habits, micro-steps will get you where you want to go.

So I ask you: What is one micro-step you can start today?


  • Gayle Hilgendorff

    Executive Health and Leadership Coach, Thrive Global Facilitator, Author and Aspiring Blogger

    Gayle Hilgendorff Executive Health and Leadership Coach / Thrive Global Facilitator / Aspiring Blogger (corporate2carny) / Author of Live More, Work Better: A Practical Guide to a Balanced Life (Bascom Hill Publishing Group, 2015) Gayle Hilgendorff is a certified executive health and leadership coach who left her Managing Director of Human Resources position at Accenture in 2011 to found her own business focused on helping corporate executives achieve their best, professionally and personally, through better health. While at Accenture, Gayle was responsible for executive career coaching and leadership development programs for a global organization of 30,000 people. After a turning point in her own career, she realized that true leadership and professional success were founded on being a healthy person – mentally, physically and emotionally – not just working harder. Gayle’s health passion became a platform for her consulting work with corporate executives. Working with participants across the globe, she incorporates holistic health concepts into her leadership coaching. Gayle integrates basic knowledge about how eating better, moving more, and finding ways to manage stress are the true foundations for a successful personal and professional life. With science backed concepts, and easy to integrate actions, Gayle’s programs have received high praise and tangible results. Gayle’s background in the corporate world combined with her likable, easy style make her a believable, relatable coach/presenter/author who has proven success in helping people make big change.