A habit is defined as a regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up. Habits can serve as the foundation of our personal achievements or hinder our progress toward our desired goals. What habits do you have that are good for your foundation of success? What habits do you have that are hindering your progress toward success? Have you tried changing them time and time again, but keep finding yourself back at square one?
It wasn’t until I read “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy that I realized just how crucial the little habits that I did day in and day out were effecting my progress toward achieving my training and nutritional goals.
How many times have you decided that you want to start working out again, so you make a plan to go to the gym 5 days a week and tell you tell yourself, “I am sticking to it”? It works for about a week, then you miss a day, go back the next, miss a day again, and then find yourself not going all together. You want to eliminate all junk food from your diet, starting tomorrow. A couple days go by and you have a sweet tooth craving. It’s just one cookie. One cookie turns into two or three, then every time you have a craving you eat a cookie and you are back to square one. We have all been there and we all have the same struggles.
The truth is, we focus to much on the outcome goals and not enough on the process that gets us there. Darren Hardy said, “The success comes from the small things we do consistently, every day, compounded over time”.
Larry, Scott, and Brad are all in similar circumstances. Larry continues to do what he has always done. Scott makes some small, positive changes daily, for example reading 10 pages, cutting 125 calories by replacing soda with water, and walking 30 minutes a day. Brad makes a few poor choices, for example buying a big TV, eating more dessert and adding 1 drink per week to his new bar.
After 10 months, there isn’t a significant difference in their lives. After 25 months, measureable differences can be seen and after 31 months, the differences are huge. Scott lost 33.5 pounds, got a promotion and a raise, and his marriage is thriving. Larry is in the same spot and is bitter about not changing. Brad puts on 33.5 pounds (weighing 67lbs more than Scott). He has been feeling more sluggish and less confident. He is less productive at work and is more withdrawn from his marriage, leading to unhappiness both at work and home.
With that story in mind, The Compound Effect can be broken down into one simple formula.
Small, smart choices + Consistency + Time = Radical Differences
Small choices over time will result in the big outcome goal that we set for ourselves. Start by going to the gym 2x per week. Once that becomes a habit, then add in another day. Start by going one week without your go-to dessert, then take out another. This process will compound and eventually develop the habits you want and the life you deserve.