I am a big believer in the compounding effect of habits - the idea that small actions, repeated daily, have a massive impact over time - that’s why I meditate, read, journal and exercise every day.
Now that I have turned 50, I’m turning my attention to my health and nutrition - I know small bad habits (e.g. junk-food snacking most days around 4:00pm) have contributed to my weight slowly creeping up, and by correcting them (e.g. swapping junk-food for fruit, or nothing at all), my weight should slowly reduce.
That’s the theory anyway, but I suppose only the compounding effects of time will tell….
I first read about the compounding effects of habit in ‘The Slight Edge’ by Jeff Olson, and it was a great lightbulb moment - the realisation that small positive habits repeated every day can have a massive positive effect, and I wrote one of my first ever blog posts about its effects on goals back in 2014.
Since then, I have tried to apply the compound effect to much of my personal development work - my daily practices of meditation, reading, exercise and journaling are all based on the idea that if I do these small things every day, then I will reap the benefits in the long term.
And I have found that it really works - especially around things which bring subtle changes, like meditation and journaling.
Goals and personal development that are based on big, bold changes are much more difficult to keep going in the long-term, and changes that are based on willpower alone rarely succeed for me.
And that’s where the benefits of small changes, repeated daily come in, and when I decided it was time to tackle my ever-growing waistline, I knew that it was the compound effect that had caused it, and that it would be the compound effect that changed it.
I mentioned my daily snacking in the post, but there are plenty of other examples - some of may not be regular, like how drinking alcohol 2 days a week slowly stretched to 3, 4 or even 5 - but the compound effect is still at work.
So if you want to make a long-term change or improvement, I suggest a read of ‘The Slight Edge’, or maybe ‘The Compound Effect’ by Darren Hardy (which I am currently reading and enjoying), and which talks about a lot of the same principles, because as Aristotle may or may not have said “we are what we repeatedly do….”