This blog post is a result of me recently reading The Compound Effect (10th Anniversary Edition), by Darren Hardy, with my team at Ballantine. I really enjoyed reading the original book 10 years ago when it first came out. The book concepts are easy to digest and it’s simple to read. It’s a good reminder that our lives, both the good and the bad, are a product of the choices that we make every day.
Small Decisions Create a Compound Effect
Every day you make a hundred decisions about what to eat, wear, do, etc. Each one of those decisions isn’t monumental on their own, but do them enough times and it will make a difference (good or bad).
For example, someone that has put on a lot of weight doesn’t get there overnight. It’s a byproduct of small decisions every day…decisions to sleep in instead of work out or order fries instead of a salad. These decisions are small and aren’t a problem in small amounts. The issue is when you make habits out of them.
Bad Habits Lead to Other Bad Habits
In my own life, I made it a habit to take the girls to Dairy Queen every weekend. Sure, it started out as a way to spend time with them, which is a good thing. But, it turned into me putting on extra weight over time.
Making it a weekly habit to go to Dairy Queen led to making it a habit to go there for other celebrations during the week. I love ice cream…it’s something our family enjoys together…so it just made sense.
Ice cream in and of itself, it’s not a problem. The extra 1,500-3,000 calories a week without reducing my calories elsewhere was the problem. Unfortunately, bad habits tend to build on themselves.
Change Your Habits
Don’t underestimate the power of making small decisions each day. It’s not always about serious lifestyle changes. More often than not, making little tweaks to your diet, routine, spending habit, etc. is all you need to become the person you want to be.
To lose the extra weight I have put on, I haven’t gone on an insane diet. Instead, I’ve made small tweaks to my daily health habits and it’s already paid off with losing 7 pounds. The first thing I did was to stop eating at Dairy Queen every week and swap out for a healthier ice cream option (Enlightened). Also, I eat a salad every day, workout for at least 10 minutes, and make swaps during my meals (like remove french fries, add a vegetable).
Start By Determining The Person You Want to Be
All goals start the same way. You have a vision of what kind of person you want to be and then you make it your goal to get there. Once you know where you’re trying to get, you can start making the small changes in your life that are needed to be successful.
Maybe you want to be less stressed. If that’s the case, making time for meditation every day is a good step in the right direction. If you want to save more money, then find places in your budget to cut back or ways to increase your earnings. Look for small places to make the changes and you’ll have a much better chance of sticking with it.
Tips to Change Your Daily Habits
Here are a few tips I have that will help you make small changes in your life each day.
1. Be Aware
To start, it’s important that you realize and are aware that your choices shape your life. These choices don’t have to be life-altering, just small positive additions to your routine. Don’t worry if you don’t see changes right away. You can look back months down the road and see those changes.
2. Develop The Right Mindset
Mindset is everything. You have to accept upfront that it will take time to make the progress you want to make. Identify your goals and then execute them every day. Then, it’s a waiting game for the compound effect to ignite and take over.
3. Daily Tracking
Tracking is a big thing if you want to stay consistent with your daily habits. I did this with my morning routine indirectly. I use two apps that have built-in trackers and they have kept me going when I’ve wanted to skip my morning routine. But, I didn’t want to lose my progress of X days and have to start over. I didn’t want to reset, so it was motivating.
A Morning Routine Helps You Make Small Changes
A morning routine is a great way to start making small tweaks to your life. I encourage you to create a routine that helps you reach your goals and that you can stick with. Sign-up for my newsletter here and I’ll send you a PDF of my routine, plus a worksheet you can use to create your own.
- Small decisions have a compound effect
- Identify bad habits and phase them out
- Decide what kind of person you want to be and then make small changes that will help you get there
- Track your progress