Small steps, big changes…

Yoga and well-being expert Lucy Parker of FLOW Tunbridge Wells tells us why ‘a flamingo a day’ really can help keep the doctor away…


Many of us are gearing up for the long school holidays and all the mixed blessings that come with it. Intertwined with all the family fun times, adventures, outings, and treats is an array of anxieties about how to keep our own needs, both mentally as well as physically, in mind. Perhaps over the six-week break your wonderful weekly yoga session is no longer on the cards given the kids are at home and the social diary is getting busy…

It’s fair to say that many of our clients return to Flow in September after a long break feeling stiff and ‘back to square one’. Their mobility and strength has gone, and suddenly it’s a long trek back up the fitness ladder. They tell me they feel ‘off balance’, ‘out of sorts’ and ‘frazzled’.

So, if you can’t keep up your regular fitness sessions then let me introduce you to the genius of Fogg’s Tiny Habits. Not he of the Phileas Fogg fame, who adventured around the world for 80 days, but BJ Fogg, behaviourist and general Mr Nice Guy.

Over the past 20 years, Fogg has been encouraging us all to establish new habits that last – and are, yes, you guessed it: tiny. These are teeny steps forward that are manageable, sustainable, and best of all, can be done with a few toddlers hanging around your feet!

And here’s the genius part: you simply link an established habit, such as brushing your teeth, with a new one, like standing on one leg, flamingo style. Or maybe while waiting for the kettle to boil you do a sit-up. The general idea is to incorporate something meaningful into your day and then build on your success, until you’re regularly dropping for 10 sit-ups or balancing like a pro.

You get to choose what matters most to you. It could be a physical goal you want to master or maybe you’re keen to keep your cool and not fly off the handle whenever it gets a bit too much with the kids?

You might be interested to hear that this technique has been echoed and supported through many therapy and coaching methods including ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) where expert Steven Hayes suggests we make our goals ‘small’ and then ‘smaller still’.

When we start small it’s easy to achieve success and our bodies experience a little drop of dopamine as a reward. This chemical hit means we do it again for the joy of it and before we know it, we’re hooked! One press-up turns to 10 and one minute of meditation rolls effortlessly into 20.

It’s amazing what can be achieved this way. Take the incredible achievement of competitive swimmer John Naber who won Gold in the 1976 Olympics by deciding to improve his time by one-fifth of an eye-blink for every hour of training. Now that’s TINY and equally mighty!


Give Tiny Habits a go by:

  1. Choosing a goal, or two, that matters to you. Perhaps choosing one to support your physical and one to boost your mental health
  2. Decide what would be a realistic outcome and how you will know you’ve
    achieved it
  3. Break a new habit down to something tiny, and then smaller still, perhaps a jump for joy every time you flush the loo for example
  4. Then link it to an action you do every day as an established habit
  5. Commit to it. Maybe write it down somewhere, tell a friend or if you’re very brave, share it with the kids
  6. Get started! Do let me know how you get on; I’d love to hear all about your tiny successes that will lead to big wins


READER OFFER: We’re still open at FLOW over the summer so you can pop down to have an hour to yourself whenever the time allows. We’ve set up a special SO reader offer to allow you a great opportunity to escape from it all and save money in the process. Use – SOFlow30 – at the checkout to receive three one-hour classes for just £30.


Flow Tunbridge Wells

29 Woodbury Park Rd, Tunbridge Wells TN4 9NQ

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