That’s the screensaver on my phone right now. It’s a visual reminder that the work I’m doing today will pay off tomorrow, like a little gift to my future self. That seems especially important right now, when each day feels just like the last. Like it’s been Groundhog Day every day since March. You feel that way, too?
If you’re going through divorce, or any life-altering event, the idea of making another big change may not be high on your list. But feeling better is, right?
We often think making a change requires some herculean effort. For many of us, that becomes an all or nothing. I don’t have time to work out for an hour, so I won’t bother at all.
Reality is that’s not how it works. In fact, it’s the small, almost unnoticeable actions taken consistently that lead to big change. Lasting change. The kind that causes someone you haven’t seen in a while to say “DAAAA-MN girl, look at you!”
In his book Habit Stacking, author S.J. Scott talks about the power of small actions. Scott challenges us to ask - what’s one thing you could do each day to better your career? To improve your finances? To achieve better health? “Imagine what life would be like if you began each day with small actions that created a chain reaction of positive benefits throughout your life.” Most habits - like making a healthy snack, or saying something kind to yourself - only take 3 to 5 minutes to do. But the compounding effect of them is incredible.
Do any “small” action repeatedly, and you’ll see a huge improvement. That’s the rub: you’ve got to do it consistently or nothing will happen. Simple, yes. But it requires daily commitment.
There’s a flip side to this, too. Take a small action that’s bad for you every day, and you’ll see a change all right. Google “The Covid 15” if you don’t believe me.
Here are some of the small action ideas I wrote down. I figure that if I do even half of them on most days, by the time the world’s back to normal I should be healthier and happier. Or at least less sunburnt.
Eat a piece of fruit
Take a walk around the block
Sign out of social media for the day
Text a close friend
Call your mom
Get out of bed when the alarm goes off
Read 1 chapter in a book
Take your vitamins
Drink a glass of water
Do 10 pushups
Write down your top priority for the day
Unsubscribe to a site you don’t follow
Put back 1 chocolate chip cookie 🍪
Hug your kids
Put on sunscreen
Clean off your desk
Reorganize a clothes drawer
Let your dog lick your face
So ask yourself - what action, if you took it every day, would you thank yourself for doing 3 months from now?