Increments and Stacking

Previously, I discussed big dreams and small changes. This approach works well for me. For example, a few weeks ago, I chose a word that to govern my year. It is a word that drives me every day. At the beginning of each day, I ask how will I live this word. At the end of each day, I ask how did I live this word. Some days I journal about it but most I do not. It is a small word that will lead to big achievements.

The word I chose is “growth.” By “growth”, I mean each day I must do something that expands and enlarges my human experience. This broad definition provides an easy path to success. Small daily victories turn into big changes. Growth includes many things. It includes the expansion of your knowledge about a topic or yourself. It includes trying a new food or recipe. It includes meeting new friends, reconnecting with old friends, or developing network opportunities. Perhaps it means running faster or farther than the previous day or week. Hopefully, these examples give you an idea of the limitless possibilities.

One thing I have done to embody this term is to make a minor change in my daily schedule. I already notice a big difference. What was the change? I changed when I exercise. In the past, I have exercised in the morning but usually after doing several things. For the past few years, I have regularly started my day up around 6 am. I still start my day at 6 AM. But now rather than drinking coffee, puttering around, and thinking about the day ahead, I spend the first 30 minutes on the treadmill (mostly walking but occasionally a slow jog). This small act makes a big difference in the flow of my day. While it was challenging at first, I now crave getting up and starting my day this way. I am excited to spend the first 30 minutes in physical exercise. After 30 minutes, I am halfway to my daily goal of 10,000 steps. Further, my head is clear and my energy is high.

In addition, while on the treadmill, I read. Most of the time I read on my iPad. I read the news, a book, or magazine articles. Occasionally, I clean out one of my email inboxes. If conditions permit me to walk outside, I listen to podcasts or audiobooks. Some call this multitasking. I call it stacking or temptation bundling. Temptation bundling is the combining of two activities into one. In true temptation bundling, you combine one activity that you should be doing but procrastinate on with another activity that you enjoy.

Read more about it here or in Katy Milkmans’s book How to Change: The Science of Getting from Where you Are to Want to Be.

In the past, I have enjoyed reading but not enjoyed exercise. But I also get a bit impatient and anxious while reading. However, over time I have learned to enjoy both. Other experts call this stacking. Further, I do not feel as I am wasting time or being inefficient. I don’t feel as rushed in my life. After the activity, I have grown physically (improved my health) and intellectually (improved my mind). All this because I decided to make a small change which has resulted in a big change.

One final thing, when I started my weight-loss journey, I did a similar thing. I started early in the morning, drank coffee, and read articles on NOOM prior to doing anything else in the day. I found it set my focus for the day.

What small action can you take today that will change your life in a big way?

Author: HarrisGroup

JMH Blog

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