A lot of a little or a little of a lot

Many people attack a challenge with massive effort.  Starting from day one, they drop everything else and commit themselves to the challenge one hundred and ten percent.  This can be anything from someone trying to start a business or beginning a new jogging program by starting out with a five mile run.

The problem with this approach, I have found, is that it lacks sustainability.  Yes.  It is true that some people are successful at making this sudden and intense change but most people fail miserably at it.  The first day or even the first week, they are able to put off all other distractions and summon up intense amount of motivation to make ridiculous amounts of positive changes.  Then the second day comes.  Then the third.  The amount of effort they put in starts to fade.  They frequently think this reduction of effort is a failure, which further dampens their motivation.

Alternatively, people who start small but focus on moving forward a little every day won’t see that initial rush of success.  Their little bits of effort are more sustainable and as their start to see success happen, they are more ready to add a little more effort.  This slow and steady increase of effort quickly leads to larger and larger positive changes.  At the same time, the person has had the time to transition the rest of their lives to include these changes.

My experience and the experiences of my clients has taught me that a little of a lot – that is a little extra effort added every day – yields much better and lasting results than a lot of a little – that is a huge but unsustainable amount of effort.

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5 thoughts on “A lot of a little or a little of a lot”

  1. Your thoughts remind me of a song I learned in Sunday School years ago. Part of the chorus said “by the yard it’s hard by the inch it’s a cinch”. When we decide to do everything at once we burn out. Tackling things an inch at a time though, that is when we see results.

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  2. Very well put, I think this is very much along the same principles as the 1% rule Dave Brailsford introduced to British Cycling. A 1% incremental change on a daily basis leads to sustained quantom improvements over time

    Liked by 1 person

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