To Inspire: Have you made some new year resolutions? Perhaps, like many, you’ve stopped making them because it’s so discouraging to fail after only a week or two of effort. Why bother?!
Well, there’s hope! I (Matt) just finished reading The Compound Effect by Success Magazine publisher Darren Hardy. In it, Darren defines the phrase as one of making small smart choices over time that move a person towards the person they want to be (what we here have come to call “the best version of yourself”). In the preface of Hardy’s book, motivational guru Tony Robbins explains the concept this way:
“Your decisions shape your destiny. Little everyday decisions will either take you to the life you desire or to disaster by default…. From what to eat and where to work, to the people you spend your time with, to how you spend your free time or your time at work, every choice shapes how you live today, but more important, how you will live the rest of your life. But the good news is, change is within you!”
It’s the simplicity of the principle that makes it so powerful. Darren shares an example: Tom decides to lose weight but instead of telling himself he’s going to lose 20 lbs by February 1st, (overwhelming), he instead decides each morning that he is going to eat 125 calories less (on average) each day than he has been eating. Pretty easy to see Tom succeeding at that, right? And there are lots of ways to accomplish that each day – perhaps a cup less of cereal in the morning; or only half a can of soda each day; or use mustard instead of mayo. So, what if Tom does this every day and sticks with it? Well, at the end of a month or two, there’s not much change…perhaps a pound or so. But if Tom continues – consistently eating 125 calories less each day than he was eating, he will be 20 lbs. lighter in 18 months. If he was willing to eat 250 calories less each day (still not an overly ambitious goal), Tom would lose those 20 lbs. in only 9 months. And I think we all would agree that he is much more likely to keep those 20 lbs. off if he does it this way versus some expensive diet that promises to shed pounds in a short period of time that has no chance of being sustained!
This concept can, of course, be applied to any area of your life. Want more peace of mind? How about turning the TV off 30 minutes before bedtime or spending 10 minutes each morning sitting quietly and reflecting on all that you are grateful for? Want to improve your marriage? How about 15 minutes of one-on-one conversation over a glass of wine every evening at the same time? Want to advance at work? How about 15 more minutes each day of focused work on your most important project. None of these are difficult to do – the key is maintaining them over time.
The formula goes like this:
Achieving Your Goal = C (your choice to change) + A (a good action that moves you toward your goal) + T (sustaining that action over time).
So…tear up any resolutions that are lofty-sounding with huge goals that likely are unattainable and adopt simple resolutions in various areas of your life that entail only one small change each day. Persist with that action, be patient…and watch the results happen over time!
Here’s to your best year ever!
Source: Hardy, Darren. The Compound Effect. Da Capo Books, 2012.