The Compound Effect
This pic of a white board filled with a bunch of numbers represents an accomplishment of which I am very proud, and I wanted to share because it reminded me of a lesson I learned that has help me make the change I wanted to see in my life, both big and small.
I read a book called The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy a few years ago. It’s a simple concept but one that I have found to be true and life-changing when I apply it. Essentially, the premise of the book is that the effect of every action, habit, choice, and thought is compounded over time. Depending on those actions, habits, choices, and thoughts, we will either reap the benefits of healthy choices, or be bound by the negative impacts of unhealthy choices.
If you examine the life of highly successful individuals you will see that it's not usually a single huge effort that creates that achievement. It's small actions repeated consistently over time, and that's great news because it means anyone has the ability to see the results they desire.
So back to the white board...I gained some weight after being very sick earlier this year (kinda think I had the ‘rona but they did not get tests here until the following week). I decided I wanted to lose 10 lbs. My first thought was to crash diet until I saw the numbers on the scale plummet deeply enough for my satisfaction. The problem with this is that it would be largely water weight as well as some muscle loss and not just the fat of which I wanted to rid myself. I tend to take that approach with most things...hit it hard for quick results! It’s just not a lasting, sustainable plan. Slow and steady is more often going to win the race. This time I calculated that if I wanted to lose 10 pounds, I needed to create a 35,000 calorie deficit. So little by little, I inched my way down to zero. You will notice some rockstar days when I was able to burn 1,000 calories more than I consumed; you will also see some days where my willpower waned and I had a plus instead of a minus; but mostly you will notice I had consistent, moderate movement toward my goal almost every day. Cutting 500 calories is not a big deal, but doing it over the course of 70 days allowed me to be able to button my pants once one.
This blog is not about weight, however. The point I wanted to make is that anything we do over and over for a period of time adds up and has a trickle down effect. The first time I journaled, it felt cathartic. I did not, however, walk away from that experience a changed woman. It took a long time of sticking with that practice daily before I saw the peace and joy for which I longed. Telling myself once “You are enough” didn’t quite do the trick. Changing the messages in my head and telling myself a new story day after day is what finally caused the realization to sink in leading to my acting as though I was a woman of value.
I challenge you to think of an area you would like to see change. Do you want to get out of debt or save up for something big? Are you wanting to have a healthier lifestyle with more exercise and better nutrition? How about improving a relationship or working on your happiness? Whether it's learning a new skill or losing a bad habit, commit to take one step in that direction every day. Seventy days from now you could feel like a new person too!