Big Wins: Small Changes That Accumulate Over Time

August 28, 2012

This is a big win (making a very small change in your routine that you don’t even notice after a week but that adds up over time) disguised as a small one (taking the stairs.) I am more concerned that you get the big lesson here, but I think that a story about a small application of this lesson is the best way to explain it.

Two years ago, I went on a hiking trip with my friend Ben Stafford out in Rocky Mountain National Park. I knew about the trip for about 3 months, and I was worried that my legs wouldn’t be able to handle the long hikes (16 miles some days) over the rocky terrain. So, I started taking the stairs as often as I could. I noticed that I wasn’t actually building my legs up, though. Taking the stairs was easy. So, I resolved to take them two hat a time for the next three months. It was difficult for the first week, I’ll admit. You’d be surprised how much easier it became after that, though. It quickly became a habit and it is now it feels unnatural and tedious to take one stair at a time. In fact, after about a month, I stopped noticing that I was doubling up on the stairs. (Two years later, it is still a habit!) As a consequence, my legs are stronger and I now get up the stairs with speed and ease. (In the short term, my hikes were much easier!)

I didn’t take a gym subscription, changes to my schedule for more workouts, no time on a leg press, and no aching muscles to build up my legs. Just a very minor change to my daily routine that took no additional time (but a little additional effort, at least at the beginning.)

What minor change could you make to your daily routine that will add up over time and help your achieve a significant result?

I don’t care how you walk up the stairs, but I do care about you making small positive changes that accumulate over time to something much bigger.

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