It's common these days to think that we have to make big, fast changes. Leaps. But this isn't true. Change that happens too fast is stressful and often doesn't last. Instead, change that occurs over time with small steps tends to be more comfortable and lasting.
For example, let me briefly recount my struggle with changing my wake-up time. Several years ago, my regular time of waking up was 8:00 AM. But I wanted to get up earlier so I could do my yoga practice in the morning before the day became busy.
At first, I tried making leaps in wake-up time. For a while I set my clock for 4:00 AM so I could practice in the early morning, and managed to wake up at that time, but it was not comfortable to do so, and my yoga practice was always sleepy and not very enjoyable. Afterward I'd go back to bed and sleep more. This didn't really work. I tried other jumps, but they too didn't work out either, and I felt I was forever stuck at 8:00 AM.
Then I heard a great yoga teacher advise making slow, steady change in wake up time that would eventually lead to the goal.
Here's how it works: Rather than making a big change in wake up time, make the change in a series of small steps. Begin by setting the alarm just ten minutes earlier than where it was previously set, so, in my case, at 7:50 AM, and to continue waking at that time until doing so becomes easy and habitual, which might take weeks. Once that happens and is firm, repeat the whole change process again by setting the alarm ten minutes earlier, to 7:40 AM, and getting up at that time until that becomes the habit. In this way, make a small change, acclimate to the change until it becomes easy and natural, and then make a further small change until the goal is reached.
I did this and it worked. Over years, I've changed my wake-up time. Making small changes like this enables bigger change over time without struggle and with less chance of falling backward. A change made in this way feels natural and easy.
We can change any habit by small installments. As an example, look at losing weight. There are lots of crash diets out there that promise fast weight loss, and they can help successfully lose weight. But they can endanger your health, and very often the weight is quickly regained. On the other hand, studies have found that slow and steady weight loss is more effective and long lasting.
So make beneficial changes, slow and steady, with small steps.