Whenever we start something new most of us usually set ourselves the standard of perfection, sometimes without even realising! We suddenly expect to exercise every day and not put a foot wrong with our nutrition. If we're honest with ourselves that is a high expectation to suddenly reach. We think we can take a big step from doing nothing to everything at once. For some people they may experience success, but for the majority of people this is too much too quickly. We've given ourselves too much to do and get frustrated when we fall slightly off track and then think “I might as well wait till next week” - as we weren't perfect like we planned. By constantly setting ourselves these high standards of perfection, and not reaching those standards it becomes really hard to build motivation. We start to build an “all-or-nothing” mentality, which leads you to get stuck in a vicious cycle. This is where we have to change our approach and focus on the ‘little wins'.
If we set ourselves a difficult or complex habit to achieve this is going to require lots of energy each day to achieve it. By sticking to smaller habits they require a lot less energy and motivation, making them easier to execute regularly. When we start making a change to our routine we usually have a lot of motivation and desire to change, but the reality is that motivation isn't always there. You may have had a poor night's sleep, a busy day at work which has reduced your motivation so now the 1 hour exercise session you planned at the start of the week seems a lot less appealing. I bet 15 minutes of exercise sounds like a much better idea now. Setting smaller habits that require less energy is a more sustainable approach.
By achieving and ‘ticking off' each of these smaller habits every day this will build positive momentum and you will feel a sense of accomplishment. Starting small and building slowly will enable you to stay on track with your habits, even on days when motivation is lacking. Slowly but surely you'll notice your willpower and motivation will increase, cementing your behaviour change for good.