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How to Use Small Habits to Make Big Impacts

I don't know about you, but sometimes I have an unwavering need for an immediate result. In a professional setting, we call this a "quick win" or "low hanging fruit". My husband calls it my "pressure washer impact". There was a day, back in my 20s, when I just needed a win. I was grieving the recent loss of my mom, who battled ALS for 3 hard years. My coping mechanism was to give everything I had to work. I had secured an amazing opportunity for our start-up, dipping our toes into a new market. After hiring additional resources to complete the project, it suddenly fell through for reasons completely out of our control. Even so, it left me feeling deflated and also created a plausible scenario where we wouldn't make payroll the following month. Welcome to start-up life. Like I said, I needed a "quick win"; something on my to do list that I could not only check off, but also consider measurably impactful. It was a Sunday afternoon, right after my birthday. I remember this because it was Superbowl Sunday and I chose to pressure wash our back porch and fence instead of sit on the couch and eat guacamole.

The smooth, fluid motion of the wand and the hard lines of progress offered me the gratification I needed to feel like I could still accomplish something. The sore muscles the next day and the beautifully bright pine color of the wood reminded me of my hard work and accomplishment. When we desire change, we often seek out grand gestures and lofty goals. We adopt the "hard work pays off" mentality. I am going to

  • meditate every day for a month

  • cut out all <sugar, carbs, alcohol, meat> from our diet

  • get 5 new clients in Q1

  • quit my job and live off the land.

In reality, hard work only pays off if it's consistent. If you suddenly decide you want to get in shape - going to the gym for 8 hours straight is certainly considered hard work, but you aren't going to experience the change you desire. We need to seek change that is challenging and sustainable. Fred DeVito tells us "if it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you." Same is true that if it's not consistent, it will not change you.

One change I incorporated into my morning routine: the 6-minute miracle morning by Hal Elrod into my daily life. I knew I couldn't (or wouldn't) get up hours earlier so it had to be short to be sustainable. The original routine is an hour long but Hal knows there are people out there just like me who need something a bit more...efficient to be effective. Spend 1 minute doing each of the following:

I will admit, some days I only "SAVE" the day. Other days might be a SAVER or SAVES morning. Grace is my favorite offering these days - to myself and to others. My morning routine goal is to consistently dedicate at least the first 5 minutes of every morning to myself.

*2022 Update: I slowly increased to 3 minutes per letter, thus an 18-minute morning routine. I use my watch to time each section so I don't rush through them. My environment is set up for me to choose TMM over something more urgent. I created a quiet, cozy corner in my office with a soft pink chair, a pillow, and a side table. I make my tea and have my journal and book on that side table ready for me.

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