It’s not news that we’re a quick fix, instant results kind of culture. We want it all. Now.
Advertising and “overnight” success stories have us believing that change is something that has to happen with a bang. It should be as easy starting a new, crash- initiative, right?
Why do so many ambitious New Years resolutions fail?
When after a few days of effort, immediate success doesn’t show up, we declare defeat. Disenchantment shows up. Whatever we’re doing must not be working, because we didn’t get what we wanted in three days of dieting. So we revert to our old habits. Boom! No change happens.
I’ve made my share of such attempts. After making small, rational changes to my diet and not immediately losing 5lbs, I’m the first to reach for the chocolate.
That’s why we need a dose of Darren Hardy’s The Compound Effect. This book is really awesome for illustrating how powerful incremental changes can be. Huge results are both more and less easy to come by than we think. Small lifestyle changes are easier to make than a giant, life-altering crash- initiatives. They also require a different kind of long-range discipline to carry out.
The first step to this kind of discipline though is the understanding that you can’t always expect results overnight. Powerful, lasting change is a question of inches, if not millimetres. You have to give these small changes a chance to add up before dismissing them. Makes sense. But it’s good to be reminded!
Another key point: the compound effect can work for you as well as against you. Make small, successive bad decisions – and yes I am talking about the piece of chocolate every day after dinner – and you will reap incremental drag that pulls you away from where you want can go.
It’s that easy, and that insidious.
Apply these principles wherever you like: diet, investment, exercise, relationships. This is the power of incrementality.