Small Changes Over Time Equal Big Results

Small Changes Over Time Equal Big Results

Do you ever wake up wishing you were someone else?  Or at least wishing you could change yourself in some way or another? I often do.

I wish I were more consistent, more thorough, more determined, more disciplined, more this or that and less that and this.

I’m sure you get the idea. You probably have your fair share of days in which you wish you could change something about yourself too. But it’s usually super frustrating to recreate yourself in a different mold. You try like mad for a few days, struggle to be someone else and then, finally, you succumb to being the way you were.

But recently I read a book that gave me a new way of thinking about changing myself. My friend Randy suggested that I read The Compounding Effect by Darren Hardy and it really struck a chord.

Small Changes Lead to Big Results

The core message is simple … By changing small things and sticking with them over the long haul, you can make a very big change. Little things, consistently applied over long periods, add up.

A few calories more or less every day make you thinner or fatter over the years. Naming files so you can easily find them again saves countless hours over many years. Small, kind gestures to those you care about everyday change the quality of your relationships.  These are just little changes but if you do them day after day, the difference they make will be remarkable.

I’ve taken this idea to heart. Since I’m not going to wake up one morning and be someone new any time soon, I’ve decided to try making one small change and sticking with it. Then, when I get that to work, I’ll adopt some others.

What’s my small change?

Small Change #1: I won’t eat standing up.

I know, that sounds funny. But when I prepare food, which I often do, for every three pieces of food I touch, one goes in my mouth. Grab some almonds for the cereal. Six into the bowl and two into my mouth. Slice some cheese for a sandwich and knock off an extra piece to eat before the sandwich is made.  Put the leftover chicken in a container and chomp that small, tasty piece at the bottom of the pan.

Over the course of the day, that pop-it-in-my-mouth food adds up. But if I no longer eat while standing up, most of it will stop. Unless, of course, I start cooking sitting down!

I’ve tried out this new habit for several days now. And I’ve been amazed to realize that I’m so used to popping food in my mouth while I cook that I actually salivate in anticipation of those little bites.

It turns out that lots of junk food is also “standing up food.” Think about donuts and m&ms, for example. There’s something funny and unlikely about buying a pack of m&ms and sitting down at a table to eat them one by one. No more grabbing a bite on my way out the door. No buying a donut to eat on the fly.

If I’m going to eat donuts and m&ms, I’ve got to sit myself down and do it seriously! 🙂

Progress Report

A week has passed since I started my new sit down and eat regime and I’ve had only a few small lapses. The new pattern is not yet a habit. But according to Mr. Hardy, it’ll get easier after the first month of conscious effort.

Will it amount to much over time? Yes, I think it will!

Sitting down to eat forces me to think more carefully about what I’m putting in my mouth and just that bit of extra thought will change the balance of my diet.

I’ll see the results, I suppose, in six months or a year or two!

TryTry ThisThis

Pick One Small Habit You Might Change

Identify one area of your life you’d like to improve and choose one, small, inconspicuous thing to change. Pay close attention to what happens when you become more intentional about that little aspect of your life. Watch what happens in a day, a month and a year.

You’re likely to discover that one small change over time makes a great big difference.

Share your ideas about what to change in the comments below. Or, mosey on over to Facebook and share your ideas there.

  • Randy

    Awesome read Miss Andrea! This morning I made spinach and squash for breakfast :). For me; one change that I wanted to make was to do more learning. I have never been one to sit down in one place so I had to figure something out. I learned that I listen to a lot of sports podcast and music. I drive about 2 hours a day and many podcast programming are about 1 hour.
    I’ve decided to carve out at least 30 minutes of the 2 hours to dedicate to learning. So, each day I listen to either an audible book or learning a new language (mainly Spanish). It takes discipline but I’ve convinced my brain that 30 minutes is not much time at all.
    That small change alone has afforded me to have small talks in another language and recommend awesome books that I’ve listened to on audible. Small changes really do amount to big and permanent gains!