I’ve no doubt that you have been successful in many areas of your personal and professional life. You’re no stranger to achievement. You’ve demonstrated an ability to decide where you want to be and to do the necessary things to get there.
I’ll bet here are many other things in your life that you really want to change, improve, and achieve, but where progress has, so far, eluded you. Even when you know what action you need to take.
Perhaps you want to do more exercise to improve your health; expand your knowledge by reading more books and spending less time on social media; start those new initiatives to increase your chances of promotion this year; or reduce stress by meditating and spending more time in nature. But you just can’t seem to make the required changes stick, or you never even get started in the first place.
The question is, why?
I think it’s because we’re tricked by an illusion. The illusion that success arrives quickly and in some predictable, quasi-linear way. And, therefore, we have to make big commitments, big changes.
So, we promise ourselves that, from tomorrow, we’ll go to the gym for an hour three times a week; read two chapters of our book every night; complete the business plan in one session; or meditate for 20 minutes every morning. Otherwise, what’s the point – we’re never going to get to where we need to be, at least not in the short time frame we’ve given ourselves.
As you know, this strategy doesn’t work very well. Because life quickly gets in the way and derails our best intentions.
The reality is, success doesn’t require massive action or overnight transformations, and it almost never comes quickly.
Think about it. Your results, in anything meaningful, are largely determined by the small behaviours you repeat consistently over time. Your health, for example, is not determined by doing a 6-month detox diet or running a marathon, but by the countless and seemingly insignificant food, exercise, and sleep choices you make every day, over the course of decades.
This is because the effects of even very small behaviours, done consistently day in and day out, compound into remarkable results over time. It’s like compound interest in a savings account. Nothing really happens in the early stages – there are no significant results to speak of. But in the long run, the returns can be astonishing.
Let’s put some numbers around it. If you improved at playing the piano by just 0.1% every day by practising for 10 minutes, you may not notice much progress in the first few weeks, months, or even years. But after 10 years, you would be almost 4,000% better. That’s the power of consistency and compounding.
Of course, it works the other way as well. If you worsened your health by 0.1% every day by, say, drinking a can of Coke, you may not look or feel worse on any given day or week. But 10 years down the line, as the deterioration compounds, you may find yourself with obesity, type II diabetes, and several teeth missing.
Darren Hardy, in his book, The Compound Effect, distilled this idea into a simple and elegant forumla:
Small behaviours + consistency + time = radical difference.
We can see this system at work in the most (and least) successful people and companies. We can see it at work in our own lives where we have improved or, indeed, declined.
So, how do you make it work for you in those other areas that you want to improve but where you haven’t managed to make progress or even make a start?
There are three steps:
- Choose the right behaviours. Decide on what you want to achieve, then identify the most effective, efficient, and achievable daily behaviours that will get you there.
- Turn those behaviours into habits. Habits are the ultimate in consistency. To create a habit, start by establishing a very small and easy version of the behaviour.
- Invest in the process. Results are unpredictable and largely beyond your control. Establish the habits, commit to the system, and the results will take care of themselves.
At BioMe, we help corporate teams like yours to apply this system to their health, wellbeing, and performance. If you’d like to know more, please get in touch.