Apr 162012

It must be time for me to make some changes. Everywhere I look, people seem to be talking about making small changes. Michael Hyatt had a great podcast about making small, incremental changes. This morning, J.D. Roth over at Get Rich Slowly talked about trying Just One Thing every day. As I have hinted here recently, I am thinking of making some fairly large changes in my life, but I have to admit, making large changes scares me. Listening to the advice of these and other people over the last couple weeks has helped me understand something about change: tiny changes make a huge difference over time.

I have always been fascinated by flying and how to navigate over long distances. When a pilot flies to a faraway place, she doesn’t set an exact course and then forget about it of the rest of the trip. Constant, tiny course corrections are required over the entire duration of the flight. One degree difference in course doesn’t make a difference immediately, but over the span of hours at high speed, it builds to a difference of hundreds of miles. Consequently, pilots must constantly adjust their heading so the airplane arrives precisely as desired.

I want to be in a different place in my life this time next year. To get there, I need to make changes in what I doing today. The necessary alterations don’t seem all that big today, so it doesn’t seem all that important at times to make the tiny adjustments. I can easily talk myself out of the effort to make that one small course correction today, because it doesn’t seem all that important. However, over time, those tiny changes add up.

Fifteen months ago, I started writing with the goal of gaining discipline in my life. Thinking about it the morning, I thought I may have written around 100 articles. As of today, I have amassed 230 blog posts. I was surprised to see it more than double my expectations. Small, daily changes will do that. As I finished my run on Saturday, the application I use for tracking informed me I have completed nearly 200 miles over this same fifteen months. I haven’t been great at the discipline of running, but 200 miles is a far sight better than I would have predicted when I started. The point is through small, daily changes, I have made great progress.

Now I want more change. Here are the steps I am going to take to make it successful.

  1. Write down a specific goal.
  2. Break the goal down into one month milestones.
  3. Define daily actions to achieve the next milestone.
  4. Find an accountability buddy for a daily progress report.
  5. Track the progress and put the chart where I see it.

Sounds pretty basic, doesn’t it? That is the point. Daily tiny shifts in habit become radical changes. I am going to write on these topics over the next few days, so I would love to hear your perspective. What has worked for you? Which works better for you – tiny change or dramatic change? How do you keep momentum? What do you want to change? Have you been surprised where a tiny shift has led you? I would love to hear your successes (and failures). Please leave a comment and let’s learn together.