Life Outside of Loans: Baby Steps

I had a salad for dinner last night…and I’ll tell you why that matters in just a bit.

I was recently introduced to the idea of compound effect, and although it’s a simple idea, it really blew my mind. You’ve probably heard of compound interest when it comes to your money — the more money you save, the more interest you earn.

Until recently I had always thought my goals had to be monumentally planned out. I envisioned setting aside 90 days for each goal, spending days planning out each step, laying it out on the calendar, and executing every day for three months. And while that’s a completely valid, brilliant way to see progress in your life, I was getting hung up on how many 90-day goals I had. If I have 10 major areas of my work and life I want to improve on, it’d take me nearly three years to get through it all!

Enter the compound effect. It’s a little like Baby Steps by Dr. Leo Marvin from What About Bob.

The concept of the compound effect is this — that taking even small steps toward a goal adds up to something greater.

A diet, for example. If I’d have chosen to have a couple slices of pizza last night instead of that salad, would it have really mattered? Probably not. One individual meal doesn’t tend to move the scale. How about if I chose pizza again tonight? And tomorrow, and every day for the next six months? Ah, now we’re seeing how the compound effect moves the scale!

On the flip side, if I choose a salad every night for dinner for six months, imagine how much the scale would move in the other direction.

So, while I was getting hung up on spending significant amounts of time to focus on each of my life goals, I started applying the compound effect instead. If I do even five minutes each day on each of my 10 goals, I’ll be taking baby steps toward my goals.

Five minutes a day toward decluttering my home.
Five minutes a day spending more one-on-one time with my kids.
Five minutes a day building my website.

After six months, those little steps will have compounded into something significant and concrete. Much more so than spending my time and mental energy on being overwhelmed or spinning my wheels in planning mode. And I’ll have the changes I’ve made to build momentum to fuel further change.

Use the compound effect to achieve anything in your life or work. Baby steps are better than no steps at all!

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