Why Small Steps are Better than BIG Ones

We all have things that we would love to achieve or work on in our lives- most of us have big goals that we want to meet and achieve in our lifetimes. We also all have habits- things that we do every day. These habits are either serving us well, creating barriers to our goals, or doing nothing for us. To get to our goals we need to create more habits that serve us than those that don’t. The best way to create a new habit- and stick to it- is to tie it to an existing habit.

I am the queen of self-helpery (I may have just made that word up, but it seems so right). Most of those books about maximizing your potential and efficiency? I’ve read them- partly because I’m a perfectionist, and partly because I’m obsessed with human psychology- and what they almost all come down to is this: small, daily change brings massive action. In Atomic Habits by James Clear, he puts it this way- if you get 1 percent better each day you may not even realize it in those moments, but you will look back, 100 days later, and be 100% better than where you were.

But… why small changes? If a little change is good then a lot of change must be great, right!? The thing is, there is a lot of truth to these small daily changes leading to amazing results. In reality, we are much less likely to stick with big changes because they often do not fit our current lifestyle. Changing too much, too fast tends to be overwhelming or maybe even impossible with where you’re at right now… and let’s not forget the other hang up- our brains.

The human brain is literally wired to crave reward. In The Happiness Hypothesis, it is discussed that reward and pleasure come to us through many channels including food, the dings our cell phones make, and much more. Because there’s not a ton of pleasure associated with slow progress, your brain may tell you that it’s time to give up and pursue some instant gratification. Because small changes are not easily visible, I suggest you make yourself a habit tracker and celebrate your successes.

If you have a lot of things you want to change- start slow! Add a new habit to your routine and focus on that one habit for a period of time before you add another (there’s a whole book on this called Habit Stacking). Before you know it, you will have habits and goals that are suiting you and the vision you have created for yourself and your life.

In the end, it all comes back to vision. Get really clear on what you want most in life. What do you want to create? What do you want to have? After deciding what is important, create goals to support this vision, and figure out the habits you need to get there. Make what you want to achieve a mix of goals and habits, and make sure you celebrate your achievements!

Included are some of the links to the books mentioned above, or that inspired part of the above post:
<a href="http://<iframe src="//rcm-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/cm?o=1&p=14&l=ur1&category=kindlerotating&f=ifr&linkID=50e00163a4f1def4476abecf8672729b&t=brookesactive-20&tracking_id=brookesactive-20" width="160" height="600" scrolling="no" border="0" marginwidth="0" style="border:none;" frameborder="0">The Slight Edge
<a href="http://<iframe style="width:120px;height:240px;" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" src="//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=brookesactive-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=0735211299&asins=0735211299&linkId=31ea369d7c08a22e4e3a6e409cb6cb7e&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff"> Atomic Habits
<a href="http://<iframe style="width:120px;height:240px;" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" src="//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=brookesactive-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=0801075254&asins=0801075254&linkId=1673b03fcf35a3840ad22302f4a7e48b&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff"> Your Best Year Ever
<a href="http://<iframe style="width:120px;height:240px;" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" src="//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=brookesactive-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=1545339120&asins=1545339120&linkId=a0c619665a99ad25fd1b169534e77d16&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff"> Habit Stacking
The Happiness Hypothesis

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