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The Stacking Principle

I truly believe that a series of small steps in the direction of a goal is better than one big leap in the long run. So when I made a public statement on social media that I was going to lose at least 25 pounds (I know, what the heck?) I didn’t say I’d lose it in a week--but I did lose 15 pounds in the first two weeks. I’m giving myself until the end of the year to lose 50 pounds--having started in August. 

The reason is, if we start small and stack little successes on top of one another (compound improvement) over time we see big results. For me, once I started swimming laps I said I would just swim for ten minutes, then 15 minutes, and finally 30 minutes (any longer and I get bored). I would have tried and failed (drowned, even) to do 30 minutes the first time out. 

For any change, instant success and gradual and continual improvement works. One of the reasons we gravitate toward the easy tasks on our things-to-do list is we like the feeling of accomplishment and those are the quickest way to get that feeling--even if the tasks are taking time away from more important (but daunting) things.

Instead, if we break the big things down to the point that we know we can do them and start racking up the wins and stacking our accomplishments, we are still doing the easy stuff, but it’s important / easy stuff and we are well on our way to bigger and better outcomes.

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