Taking action is exponentially more powerful than not taking action at all.
It might not be going from 0 to 1. But it is moving you away from 0, and 0 is equal to doing nothing at all.
If you make the change simple enough, you can start today. No need to be “ready.” You can begin now despite being busy, stressed out, or just simply out of mojo.
Tiny is easy. Tiny is safe. And tiny can start immediately. [Imagine my happy face.]
Whatever change you have in mind, transform the big behavior so it is specific and tiny. Check out these examples:
Reduce my stress – Meditate for three breathsFrom a newsletter I got, I didn’t save source 😩
Do strength training – Do two burpees
Do cardio daily – Put on my running shoes each morning
Eat healthy snacks – Eat a bit of cauliflower during my afternoon break
Sleep better – Charge my phone in the kitchen, not in the bedroom
It is so easy to insert any of the below reasons to rationalize to ourselves why we shouldn’t do something at all:
- I’m stressed
- I’m busy
- I don’t have enough time to do a full workout…
- I don’t have enough time to read a chapter of this book…
- I don’t have enough time to [insert anything]
But we all have enough time, every single day, to do one of or all of these small, safe, easy things:
- Meditate for three breaths
- Do two pushups
- Put on running shoes
- Eat a healthy snack
- Charge phone in a different room
Instead of falling in to the trap of thinking “what’s the point of doing such a small thing… it won’t even have an impact…” try doing one small thing consistently for 1 month and a wild thing will happen. You might find yourself 1) really enjoying the thing you’re doing and/or 2) starting to crave more of it.
Your three breath meditation sessions turn in to 10 min a day.
Your two pushups a day turn in to 100 a day.
Your healthy snack turns in to healthy meals all day.
I think the reason why we don’t even attempt to do a small thing like “meditate for three breaths” is because it feels stupid. It feels so trivial. It feels so insignificant. But in reality, even doing three breaths a day is the start of a mediation practice while not meditating at all is… doing nothing. Two pushups a day is the start of a daily exercise routine while doing zero pushups is… being sedentary and doing nothing.
The best part is: this concept can apply to any change we want to make.
No single instance will transform your beliefs but every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.
James Clear explains the paradox of making small improvements very well:
Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity. This is one reason why meaningful change does not require radical change. Small habits can make a meaningful difference by providing evidence of a new identity. And if a change is meaningful, it actually is big. That’s the paradox of making small improvements.James Clear, Atomic Habits
And lastly making a change as tiny as possible… as easy as possible to do… as safe as possible to do… is the first step in making anything happen.
Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happenMichael Jordan