Affecting change in your life is difficult. Anybody who thinks it’s easy is fooling themselves. But that doesn’t mean that you should just shrug your shoulders and say, “Eh… it’s too hard.” Because nothing is too hard, really.

The key to creating change and improving any part of your life is to break it down into parts. And the best way to get started is to make that Step One as easy as physically possible. See, when you knock down those barriers between you and getting started, you make it harder for yourself to come up with excuses. Then – and here’s the best part – you might actually get going for a change.

Here are just a few ideas, some of which I’m using in my own life:

  • Want to go running in the morning? Put your alarm clock (or your phone) across the room, and put your workout clothes next to it. Make the only goal in your mind be just getting out the door. That’s it. You can dress yourself with your eyes closed (well, I can anyway), make your way down the stairs, and by the time you get out the door and a little fresh air in your lungs, you’re awake enough to get started.
  • Push yourself to work out, even when you don’t feel like it. Another great trick is to make a tiny commitment to your workout. We all have days where we don’t want to do it. So, on those days, just tell yourself you’ll do 10 minutes of a workout – any workout. One of two things will happen: 1) You’ll get some motivation going as you work out, and you’ll push yourself to do the full workout instead, or 2) you’ll stop after 10 minutes, but at least you’ll have done 10 minutes of exercise, which is better than nothing. Make those first milestones nice and small and build from there.
  • Writing is really difficult for me on some days. So I need to make it easy – instead of committing to a certain type of writing, some days I’ll just commit to 1000 words of anything, even if it’s pure nonsense freewriting. It’s all about keeping the juices flowing and moving forward, even when I don’t feel like it.
  • Eating healthier is a difficult task, especially since so many bad things are so flipping delicious. Make it easy on yourself by not stocking junk foods in the house. Get them out as fast as possible and replace them with healthier alternatives. Also, take it a meal at a time. Try and eat a healthier breakfast – frying an egg and some bacon really doesn’t take that long. Add some fruit juice and you’ve got a breakfast that might actually last you until lunchtime, and it’ll be way healthier for you than a sugary bowl of cereal.
  • Being an early riser is great, but it’s a huge adjustment. Take baby steps – get up 5 minutes earlier. Work out in the morning so that you are doing something that wakes your body up. Again, move that alarm clock across the room so you have no choice but to get your butt out of bed. Splash some cold water on your face if you have to.
  • Wasting time? Block those time wasters. Get rid of cable TV. Block certain websites on your computer. Do whatever it takes. Go nuclear on this stuff.
  • Can’t be productive? Commit yourself to only 3 things a day. That way, you’re making goals achievable for yourself. Little victories = momentum.

What do you think? Do you have a favorite trick to keep yourself going? How do you get out of a rut?