Massive change is nothing so much as a process of time. The things that radically can change our lives in a macro sense do not happen all at once, or over the course of a few weeks, rather they are things that take a lot of time to develop. The key here is to realize that fact and then create habits that utilize that idea. These are little changes that we make now so that when the time rolls past and we look back we see a massive change in our lives. When we look back at the dramatic and drastic events that happened in our lives, rarely will you see a profound and lasting effect on your life from them, but when we look at a small behavior we changed and stuck with, you will see a life changing alteration when you look back.
A great example of this is the Magic Penny idea. Perhaps you have heard of it. The essence of it is a choice between being given 3 million dollars or a single penny that doubles every day. Which do you choose? It turns out that it only takes 31 days for that penny to turn into a little over 10 million dollars. This is the same concept that we are driving at here when it comes to choices. We can choose to make a very large and dramatic change in our lives and get that done(picking the 3 million), but if we instead choose to make a small but profound change, over time that small change will make the massive change look like nothing more than a stepping stone(the penny).
The key here to decide on a couple things that you want to change in your life. Maybe you want to put money away each paycheck so that you can create a savings or retirement, or maybe you want to lose weight. Instead of binging on these choices, trying to put away every extra penny you earn each month of running an extra 10 miles a day, making small sustainable changes will get us to our goals in a little longer time. It doesn’t do your life any real good to run 10 miles extra a day for a week and then giving up on it since it is too hard. Rather, making a small change, running an extra 10 minutes every day, is change that you can sustain and turn into a habit. Then, after a bit of time, you will see that those 10 minutes have you had you run far more miles than the 70 extra you did over that one week.
Focusing on a short term goal isn’t a bad thing, but it needs to be done in its place and for its reason, getting something done on a deadline. The major changes in your life, the things that are going to carry forward into the rest of your days are not these short term binges. They are the small changes that we have made habit and live with every day, building every day on the pile we added to all those days before.
For me, I am going to take the proverbial penny and look back at the life I left behind with wonder and awe at how far I have come and for how little effort. Will you take the penny as well?