Small changes reap the biggest rewards

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” 
– Leo Tolstoy


I think about it a lot. I griped about it related to our local TED event last year. I struggle with it daily. I want to be it. I want to cause it. I want to see it.

And the one thing I’ve definitely learned about it is that it is best in small doses.

My big gripe with TED was that they focused on big, global, sweeping change – the kind of thing that we all cheer but do nothing about. It’s so big, we don’t know where to start; it’s so global, we don’t see that it matters much if we do it; it’s so sweeping, we can’t focus.

So, I’m advocating the idea of small change. Tiny. A twig rather than a broom. Because those are the changes that can actually stick, actually happen, actually make a difference.

Rather than focus on the big changes you’d like to see happen, narrow them down to something small that works toward the bigger goal. Something you can actually do. Something you can make stick.

For me, the ones I’m trying to focus on are personal, very close to home. They start with taking my vitamins and drinking enough water every day, but include several other goals. These are things that I know make a huge difference and yet, they often get missed. Small enough to be doable, big enough to make a difference. And maybe if I can finally get to making those things a habit, conquer those changes, I can move on to something more challenging. Like getting dressed every day? (Ha!) This isn’t an attempt to avoid big goals (despite their danger) but a desire to get realistic with change that can snowball.

Small changes built up over time lead to big changes. Manageable. Eat the elephant one bite at a time.

So what small bites can you take today? What small changes can you enact that will get you where you want to be eventually?

(Hat tip to Gretchen’s Happiness Project for the Tolstoy quote.)

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