Sometimes the small changes reap the biggest results.
Over the years I’ve come to realize that I’ve often done things the wrong way. I’ve tried to make huge changes in my life only to quickly fail. I didn’t keep going. I stopped. Overwhelmed. I tried to change too much too soon. It didn’t work.
What I have learned is that when small changes are repeated over time—not only are they easier to implement— they tend to stick longer. I’ve made some good habits in my life simply by starting with small changes.
Here are seven small changes that produce huge results:
Read one chapter of a book each day.
This is gold. Most people would like to read more but they never seem to find time—or make time. Leaders are readers, right? Establishing a discipline of one chapter per day will get you averaging a couple dozen books a year. That would be an improvement for most of us. And it usually only takes about 15 minutes per day.
Two glasses of water each morning.
This may sound small, and that’s kind of the point of all of these, but this has proved to be huge. I started this months ago. It’s a great way to wake up in the morning. Apparently we wake up needing hydration. I squeeze a fourth to half of a lemon in mine. I’ve been told that works wonders. I can’t swear by that, but it does improve the flavor. I crave this now. It wakes me up more than coffee—and I love coffee.
Exercise as a part of your daily routine.
You don’t have to run a marathon to maintain health. Just being active when you can will do wonders. Park further from the building. Park on the opposite end of the mall from where you’re going. Take the stairs if possible. Walk while you talk on the phone. I take frequent “mind” breaks and walk around our office or my neighborhood. I’ve even asked people to “walk” with me as we meet about something. I find myself interacting more with our staff because I’m all over the building during the day.
Spend 10 to 15 minutes in prayer and reflection.
You may wish you could pray for an hour or dissect the book of Romans like the spiritual giants you know. (I’ve learned they aren’t always as “mature” as we think they are. Knowledge does not equal maturity—obedience does.) But what can you do? When I began a daily discipline of investing in my spiritual growth, it was like I put fertilizer on my soul. It’s amazing what God can do with a seed of interest invested in knowing Him.
Take five minutes to plan the day.
At the beginning of each day—before you begin your first task—spend some time prioritizing how you will do the work. You’ll be so much more effective in your day if you’re working from a plan.