We tend to focus too much on the outcome we want, whether it’s a 6 pack, a dress size, or a bigger deadlift pr, and too little on the habits and systems that will get us there.
In this week’s podcast I spoke about building new habits and starting smaller than you would perhaps like to, but being super consistent with that small habit. Building it into your day or week until it becomes concrete and automatic. Then you can use the idea of habit stacking to layer more habits or complexity on top of that new habit to build your system of success.
And at the end of the episode *Spoiler alert!* I made my commitment to be more consistent with my blog. Committing to putting out 1 new post every Thursday for the next year. And by doing so on the podcast, even with its low listener numbers, it publicly commits me to doing so. A little peer pressure now and again can be useful…
So this is the first of those 52 posts. Is it a bit of a cop-out to do a post on posting more? Maybe. Probably. But it’s my blog, so I’ll do as I damn well please!
But I also want to give you a little more than that.
And it’s the idea of banking these small ideas for a future big reward. We often look at small steps or habits that the effort they need as being not worth it. That these small steps can’t be of any real value. So why bother?
But let’s look at that premise and break down the numbers a bit.
Let’s say you think you are pushed for time to do something just for you. Maybe it’s to get a couple of minutes of meditation each day. Or you want to read more.
Get up 15 minutes earlier each day. Instead of hitting snooze, roll out of bed and while the kettle is boiling for your morning cuppa, set a timer, sit down, and focus on your breathing for 60s. Over the course of 3 months, you’ll accumulate an hour and a half of meditation.
Or, with your coffee in hand, get a comfy seat and commit to reading for just 10 minutes. You can read 8-10 pages of a book in 10 minutes typically. Depending of course on text size and how many pictures are in your books.
Over that 3 month period, that could be 900 pages read. That’s 2-3 reasonably sized books. That’s awesome!
Let’s look at a nutrition example.
Most new clients would benefit from eating a little more protein. We all know the benefits that increased protein intake can bring, from increased fat loss, retained muscle mass and increased feelings of satiety, this simple step can be a game changer for many people.
But the thought of making grand sweeping changes to your diet might be a step too far at the moment. So commit to getting 1 extra serving of protein into your diet at some point through your day. This could be at breakfast, which is where most people struggle, but having Greek yoghurt with their cereal instead of just milk. It might be in the form of a scoop of whey protein mixed with milk or water instead of a glass of orange juice. Or it could be a protein bar on their commute.
It doesn’t sound like much, but the average protein intake I see from new clients is usually between 60-80g, far below the amount needed to support fat loss or muscle building goals. And barely edging over the reference nutrient intake needed to avoid a deficiency. Getting 1 more serving of protein at 20-25g can increase their protein intake by 30-40%.
Small step, big improvement.
Struggling to get more exercise into your day?
How about commiting to just 5 minutes? Everyone has 5 minutes. So with your spare 5, do a few sets of pushups or incline pushups. Do some KB swings. Do anything. Done daily, you’ll add 35 minutes of habit forming exercise to your week. And over time, you’ll naturally find that time increasing as you feel the benefits and want to challenge yourself more.
On their own, these little steps are pretty meaningless. But that’s not where the magic happens. The magic is the compounding interest these habits have as they stack up over time. Each little effort is banked away, building energy over time until the real results show themselves.
The calmer, less anxiety ridden mind.
Working your way through that reading list you promised yourself you’d get around to.
The improved body composition that your friends suddenly notice.
The fitter stronger you that, all of a sudden, bounced up those stairs and didn’t need to stop to catch your breath.
The results aren’t from one large effort. They are from a series of tiny efforts you were ruthlessly consistent about stacking up.
The time will pass anyway, do the work. Even if it is tiny.