“Change is the only constant in life”, said a wise Greek philosopher and I agree. You cannot be standing still while the world around you is changing rapidly.
Change is intimidating when done suddenly, so the trick is to begin with a tiny change and persistently build on that habit.
The book ‘Atomic Habits’ offers a proven framework for improving every day and I encourage you to read it. James Clear, an expert on habit formation, reveals practical strategies to master the tiny behaviors into habits that lead to remarkable results.
I outline the technique narrated in the book to follow small changes in order to get results larger than you realize.
Starting with big goals or resolutions such as earning more money, reading 30 books, losing 20 pounds cannot be achieved in one go. Implementing quick-fix changes, is certainly not an effective way and is not going to increase the likelihood to stick to those practices.
A goal to reduce stress with 20-minute meditation sessions, five times a week is too big to achieve and the momentum may die down. Instead break it down to a simple goal- take out your mat and meditate for one minute a day. Then gradually increase the time you devote to mediate.
One-minute push-ups won’t transform your body overnight, but it does internally trigger an invisible alarm to not miss a workout each day. This alarm will set you on the trajectory of an exercise routine.
At least in this one-minute moment you cannot deny that you were the committed type of person towards your goals. The argument here, is that you should let tiny changes progressively lead the way and commit to it daily.
Reducing a teaspoon of sugar, you consume everyday will make no difference when you look in the mirror the next day. But repeatedly reducing sugar intake over a period will make an enormous difference to your health and physique over time.
Small changes may seem unimportant at first, but if you’re willing to stick with them over a period, they will create a difference after you cross the critical threshold. A small percentage improvement every day will bring results in the long run.
Act in alignment
Focus on bringing tiny changes in your identity, rather than focusing on the outcome. When you keep showing up the required tiny changes, you cross the invisible threshold by performing the habit, and building up a body of evidence like ‘Hey, this is how committed I am’. You need to act in alignment to the newer version of you.
Implementing tiny changes such as waking up early, reading news, organizing tasks, utilizing technology widely, being on time, would gradually make you a better equipped professional on the job.
Good habits must be established, before they can be improved. It must become the standard in your life, before you can optimize on it or scale it up from there. Habits are necessary, but not sufficient for mastery. They ought to be deliberately practiced over a period, until you have internalized the habit.
Habits + Deliberate Practice = Mastery
The tiny changes you make each day are so subtle and almost undetectable, but when you follow them consistently, the results will only show up. This requires patience, dedication and commitment through the process. In hindsight, you can certainly see the compounding benefit of practicing a small change.
Accomplish more by focusing on tiny changes practiced as a habit — start small, improve slowly, reinforce the change and be amazed at where you end up.