A caller to the Clark Howard Personal Finance radio show told of a habit she has: She puts a dollar in a box each night. And at the end of a year on her birthday she has $365 to spend on herself.
Aside from that being completely charming, it’s also an example of how doing something small every day can add up to big results.
And it’s a counterpoint to the old “go big or go home” concept … a lot of people when they’re trying to achieve something, like a new habit, fall into the trap of trying to do too much at one time and don’t succeed at all.
Whereas doing something small everyday can actually have a big impact.
Johnson & Johnson’s Human Performance Institute — which studies and trains Olympic athletes, NFL players, and others whose roles require peak physical performance — has found that one of the best ways to combat stress is taking brief (even five-minute) breaks at various times throughout the day to stretch or exercise or even just read or recover energy.
Jeff Galloway, the Olympic marathoner and trainer, has a beginner’s training program for running marathons that starts out with just 10 minutes on the first day. And out of that 10 minutes the person is only jogging about 10 seconds out of each minute. The program has gradual increments until a runner using the program is up to whatever long distance run is their goal, such as a 5K, a 10K, a half marathon or full marathon.
Why does this work?
Because these little deposits … these little efforts actually do make a big difference over time. And that’s what’s important if you’re trying to bring, for example, a hobby back into your life or a pastime that you really love to do but no longer do because you feel like you didn’t have time.
So, for example somebody who used to love to play the guitar but stop doing it might consider starting to practice again just 5 or 10 minutes a day and see how that does add up and make a difference over time.
Those small deposits that you make in yourself — just like the lady who put $1 in a box each night — add up to quite a bit over time.
Question: What would you like to bring back into your life that you could do with a small investment of time or effort right now?