I had a great text conversation this past weekend with a colleague which inspired me to write this article. We were discussing behavior change and how it’s a natural tendency for us to want instant gratification when embracing a new behavior. I mean who doesn’t want to feel ripped after a great weight training session or a little lighter after skipping on the bread at dinner?
That’s not quite reality as much as we would like it to be.
This past spring I read a great book by Jeff Olsen titled The Slight Edge. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend. He uses the analogy that all of our actions are like compound interest. That image really stuck with me and I often reference it when I am talking with friends, clients, and colleagues about behavior change.
Think about it for a minute. Let’s say we have a goal of losing ten pounds in the next eight weeks. Now, if we were to weigh ourselves every single day and not see 10 pounds gone immediately or maybe a slight increase one day – it would be extremely easy to get discouraged, right? However, if we can think of our daily actions in those two months as our IRA of health – we can contribute to it daily and see a large gain in the long run. So day to day our contribution might be going for a 30 minute walk in the morning instead of hitting snooze, eating a salad with protein instead of a burger and fries for lunch, or having one glass of wine instead of three – all of which will put us on the right path for achieving our goal in long run.
Every action or inaction that we do puts us closer to or further from our goals. These can be any goals, not just health related goals. I think it is important to keep in mind that these actions or inactions do not have to be ground breaking, they just need to happen. Consistent action is necessary to bring about any change.
So what is it that you want to achieve, change, or work towards? Write down your big picture goal, give yourself an idea of when you would like to have that larger goal accomplished. Got it? Okay good. Now that you have it written down, you can put that to the side for a second. What is something that you can do everyday for the next week to help you work towards that goal? Write that down. Now that piece of paper, put somewhere where you will see it everyday for the next week. Be sure that your action is realistic. Another thing to keep in mind is the opportunity that comes with the gift of each day. Therefore if you miss one day, forgive yourself, do not focus on the past, rather focus on the present moment, on today, what can you do today?
Success doesn’t happen over night:
it didn’t take you a day to get where you are and it won’t take you a day to get where you are going.
Consistent action will bring about the change that you desire. Have faith, love yourself, and give yourself the permission to succeed.
I would love to hear about your big picture and weekly action items. Feel free to drop me a line on Facebook or via email at email@example.com
Have a great week and remember every action or inaction will make a big difference in the big picture.