How to Get Past the Instant Gratification Block and Be Successful Anyway
Today I wanted to talk quickly about something called the Compound Effect. I started listening to this audio book called “The Compound Effect” and it’s all about how the little things add up in your life to shape exactly who you are and what your situations become.
Did you ever see that movie Sliding Doors? It was kind of a late-90’s flick with Gwenyth Paltrow and it shows the difference between a whole day when she missed the train and when she got on the train. In one scenario she comes home early to find her husband cheating on her and a whole slew of events follow that.
That’s obviously kind of dramatic but the point is that every little action that we take, or don’t take, will dictate another part of our life or will help us create a habit, good or bad.
The Compound Effect is geared toward creating those “good” habits and good situations to obviously improve your life. You could create a chain of many bad things and have a really shitty lifestyle. A lot of people do that.
The one thing I want to focus on today is the first step, awareness. If you want to make a change the first thing you have to do is become aware of what you want to change, what you’re currently doing (good or bad) and then you can figure out the necessary steps to making a change.
When you’ve developed the awareness the next thing you have to do is start creating consistent and positive habits. So many people start something and never see it through to completion. It’s usually because the gratification is not instant enough.
Successful people are willing to do what others won’t. People who are successful in business did not make a million dollars overnight. People who lose body fat and reshape their bodies didn’t do it with a magic pill.
You need to figure out the area of life that you want to improve (awareness) then start taking small steps and massive action to make that change. It’s not about doing 5,000 things one time and doing them moderately well, it’s about doing one thing 5,000 times really well.
Here’s an action step for you. Become aware of what it is you want to change. It can be anything but I’ll use the example of eating better because most people want to work on that. So, you’re aware of the issue you want to change, now you need to start creating your compound effect. In order to do this effectively you need to start tracking to see what you should change. So for one week, write down everything that you eat.
Write it, type it, use an app like MyFitnessPal, whatever. Just do it. Don’t do it for 2 days and then stop.
See it through until completion. Seven days of everything that you ate, everything that you drank and you’ll see where you can start making changes. You may not notice the mindless snacking while you make dinner, the extra glass of wine at a birthday party or eating off your kid’s plate when they don’t finish their food.
Start becoming aware and take the first step to creating a new habit. Track your food for one week and see what happens.
In the upcoming blog posts I’ll talk about how to take this even further to solidify habits and real lifestyle changes.
It all boils down to taking action, not giving up on that action when you don’t see immediate results and basically just getting shit done.