I have a confession to make. Earlier this week I spent two days out of town on business related…stuff (That’s not the confession.)
While I was away it wasn’t practical (or even overly possible) to prepare and cook my own food, and so over that particular 48-hour period my diet was…less than satisfactory.
Ok – fine, I had McDonald’s three times – are you happy?!
Now, granted – that’s not the end of the world. In fact, in the scheme of my LIFE, 48 hours is not that much; and in the scheme of how many meals I eat in say, even a month – three times is not exactly catastrophic.
Yet, it’s precisely that sort of attitude that’s the problem. “It’s just a little bit.” We say. Or “Every now and again won’t hurt.”
What we fail to recognize is that when you break it down, life really is just a whole bunch of ‘just a little bits’ and ‘every now and agains’.
In fact, Aristotle (smart dude) said that “we are what we repeatedly do.”
Jim Rohn (also smart) said “Success is nothing more than a few small disciplines, practiced every day.” John Maxwell says: “The secret to success is determined by your daily agenda.”
See, we like to think that success comes down to a couple of huge decisions – but that’s not true. Success isn’t a result of those big moments – it’s a direct result of all the little things we do all the time without thinking.
It’s our habits that dictate our success. It’s what time we get up, what TV we watch, what we eat, what we do in our spare time, how we think, how we talk, how we act, how we react, do we exercise, do we read, what do we spend our money on – it’s all that boring stuff that we think doesn’t matter that actually matters most of all.
James Clear calls them ‘Atomic Habits’ (in his book by the same name) and because they’re so important, and have so much more influence on our life then we realize – he presents a radical thought, and it’s simply this: That massive success doesn’t come from massive action, it comes from a very small amount of action on a regular basis.
The answer to financial freedom is NOT to go nuts on your budget – it actually can be as simple as cutting back on your $5 coffees every day.
The answer to losing weight is NOT to start getting up at 5am and hitting the gym for 2 hours– it actually can be as simple as a 20min regular walk.
The answer to building your savings is NOT to find 50k and start there, it’s to put $50 (or whatever) away every week – consistently.
Here’s the math (according to James): If we just focused on getting 1% better each day (on whatever) – then by the end of the year we would be 37 times better than at the start.
37 times. That’s a lot. From just 1% a day. That’s NOT a lot.
So – if you’re looking to improve in a particular area, whatever it is; don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to make a massive change – you don’t. Just commit to making a small change, so small you won’t even feel like you’re really changing anything at the start, and then stick with it!