The title of this article might seem like an oxymoron. After all, how can “small life changes” lead to big results? Not to get too weird about this but there is something called the “butterfly theory” that theorizes that a single occurrence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever. Two butterfly examples shared by UbanDictionary.com:
- A man travelled back in time to prehistoric ages and stepped on a butterfly, and the universe was entirely different when he got back.2.The flapof a butterfly’swings changed the air around it so much that a tornado broke out two continents away.
I don’t really believe that a butterfly on another continent can cause a tornado where you live. But I do believe that a consistent application of even very small changes will invariably lead to bigger outcomes. Here are some micro change ideas:
- Walk one hundred feet farther than you did yesterday. 100 feet becomes 200…300…and beyond.
- Eat only 90 percent of your typical desert portion. Lose an ounce or two and the ounces become pounds, then tens of pounds.
- Reach out to just one more influential person in your industry. Just one connection can impact the trajectory of your career.
- Shut the TV off 15 minutes earlier than normal and put this time to more productive pursuits.
- Save a small amount of each paycheck – compounded over time, this can lead to a nice retirement nest egg.
- Connect with a lonely neighbor or coworker, possibly creating a lifetime friendship.
- Set your watch or smartphone to remind you to move at least once an hour. Read this article from Mayo Clinic to learn why this is so important.
- Get up 15 minutes earlier each morning and dedicate this time to reading, meditating or just contemplating the many reasons you have to be grateful.
- Say thank you. An unexpected thank you can make someone’s day (or week) and brighten yours as well.
WebMD talks about how this works when it comes to health and fitness in an article titled, Make Big Changes With Small Steps. “When we’re ready for a change in our lives — lose some weight, get in shape, organize the family garage — we want it to happen fast. But life changes takes time, and new habits take a lot of practice before they become routine. In fact, experts agree that it’s rarely a good idea to jump head first into any big transition. A better way to make a change stick? Take baby steps toward your goal. Slow and steady action will make you more likely to succeed.”
Yoga instructors talk about how when you are holding a pose in yoga, micro movements assist your body to get even deeper into a pose and help you open up and relax, while simultaneously helping you to become more aware of your subtleties of your body and deepen your physical and mental connection. You will often make more progress, and experience less pain, through small movements than attempting major poses your body is unprepared for.
Small changes can help you overcome that insidious thing called inertia – the tendency to keep doing what you’ve always done. Many believe that it takes a large push or pull event to conquer inertia but even micro changes can be enormously effective. Small changes can also help you master fear. After taking a small action in the right direction, you may say, “Gee, that wasn’t so bad, I think I will take the next step.” As this article, Change Your Habits and Change Your Life, discusses, life transformation is all about developing new habits – and even the smallest of life changes can lead to powerful new habits.
An ancient Chinese philosopher named Lao Tzu made the observation that “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” And another smart guy and past president named Theodore Roosevelt, said something equally profound: “The best thing you can do is the right thing; the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing; the worst thing you can do is nothing.” I think both of these individuals understood the importance of action over inaction, even if that action is just a small change.