Looking to jumpstart a daily flossing habit? On the first day, get out your floss, and only floss one tooth. On the second day, you can floss two teeth. The third day – floss three. After a month or so, you are used to getting your floss out every evening, and are getting your entire mouth the good treatment. When I learned about this strategy a few days ago, it reminded me a lot of my own strategy for starting a new healthy habit: I identify an actionable first step and build my health goal around that process. For the example of flossing, this works because for many of us, the issue is getting the floss out in the first place. Once we floss one tooth, it’s a lot easier to take care of all of them.
There’s another reason why this strategy works so well for ingraining your flossing habit:
It leaves you wanting more.
Once you floss one tooth, you realize how good it feels and want to floss more. I don’t know about you, but if I miss a day of flossing…my mouth feels pretty gross, and I crave that clean feeling! Eventually, you want to keep flossing just so your entire mouth feels clean and awesome!
Small changes can lead to large changes.
Once you make a small change to improve your health, whether you make a healthier breakfast, bring your lunch to work, take a daily 20 minute walk, or get some more sleep, you start to want the rest of your day to feel just as awesome.
Feeling good is infectious.
So make that first change. Floss only one tooth. In time, you’ll want to find ways to build healthy habits into all aspects of your day, and your body and mind will thank you for it!
Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,
Samantha Attard, PhD, is the founder of Happy Healthy Human. Sam is a performance coach and yoga instructor who helps people eat, move, and live with intention. Learn more here.