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Prophix Blog

For big changes in your oral health, think small

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We’ve all been there: We set ourselves a huge goal—for our career, our relationships, our health. We get excited to achieve it; we even take the first few steps … and then we stop. Why? What’s keeping us from our lofty ambitions?

According to many experts, the problem is psychological. “When we set large goals, we are requiring ourselves to also have an equally large belief system to support it,” says author and business coach Lewis Howes.  “It doesn’t matter how much we ‘want it’ or how much we ‘proclaim it’ – all that matters is how much we BELIEVE it.” If our beliefs don’t match the size of our goals, we get frustrated and give up more easily.

So what do we do? One key is to break the goal down into small steps—ones that we believe we can accomplish. Want to lose 50 pounds? A first step might be to forgo dessert one time this week. Want perfect teeth? Try for a brushing “streak” (two minutes, two times a day). “The purpose of these smaller goals is not to get you closer to your goal, but to develop the skill of belief,” says Howes. As you check off those smaller steps with confidence, you’ll eventually develop the mindset to go after larger ones.

Jeff Olson, author of The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success, is a proponent of not only breaking goals into small steps, but repeating these steps over and over. These habits not only propel you toward larger ambitions, they foster positivity and keep you rooted in the present. The key is “simple productive actions, repeated consistently over time,” he says. “That, in a nutshell, is the slight edge” that successful people have.

Need some assistance in defining these small actions? Fitness trackers and other devices that monitor your daily habits—like the Prophix app that tracks your brushing—tap into this “think small” mindset, helping you set achievable goals and see positive results over time. Before you know it, you’ll be on the path to success, taking doable “baby steps” instead of giant, frustrating leaps.