I have always loved to read. When I was younger I could get lost in a book, losing days (and sleep) to get to the ending. The ending was often bittersweet for me; I wanted so badly to know what was going to happen, but often felt sad that it was over.
I love to read all kinds of books: novels, non-fiction adventure, books on politics, history, economics, genetics, seriously you name it, I’ll read it. In college I would go to the bookstore, pick a section, and sit on the floor, and spend hours picking out a new book.
Now life has gotten a little busier (hello understatement) and spending hours picking out a book is out of the question. As is spending hours a day reading one. About 10 months ago I started to make reading part of my daily routine, with just a minimum of 10 minutes a day. Sometimes, I don’t even get 10 straight minutes; instead it may be 2 minutes here and 2 minutes there, but I do my best to fit it in.
Currently my favorite genre is Personal Development and one of the best books I’ve read this year is The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. This book has a really simple concept; every action we take, no matter how small, has an impact on our lives. This is because every little action, when combined with all of the other little actions we take, add up to something significant. Now that can be really positive or not so much…
Here is an example of how the compound effect works. Let’s say you enjoy a $5 latte everyday (if I let myself, this would totally be me). $5 a day doesn’t sound so unreasonable, right. Let’s say you get a latte 7 days a week. Okay, so now you’re at $35 week. Still reasonable? Maybe you bring your lunch to work, so $35 a week is still less than you might spend otherwise, so you’re okay with it. Now, what about when you do the math and look at what you’re spending in a year? It starts to get a little scary. $1,820 a year – that a vacation! This doesn’t include any interest that you may have earned if you had that money invested. And in this example we’re not even considering how this is impacting your health over time.
So, I know that’s a little heavy, and I don’t want anyone feeling bad about indulging in a latte. Even after reading this book, I still treat myself to a latte once in a while. This is just an easy example. Now for the good news – this works both ways! Making little POSITIVE changes can have HUGE positive impact on your life!
One area that the compound effect can have a big impact in is our health. Every seemingly small, healthy decision we make has a positive effect on our health. Things as simple as eating whole grain pastas and breads, or having an apple with lunch instead of a bag of chips will add up to something big over time. Plus, as we start to feel better from all these better choices, we naturally want to keep making better choices!
This same concept holds true for exercise. So often we think we need to spend hours at the gym to see any kind of results, and that can make getting started feel too overwhelming. The truth is, you don’t need to spend hours at the gym (although, feel free if that’s what you enjoy). You can make great strides in your health and fitness with a few minutes a day, especially if exercising is new to you. Here is one of my favorite Total Body Circuits. The workout can be done one time through for a quick 10 minute workout ( a great way to begin your day) or you can repeat the circuit two or three times for a more thorough workout.
Let me know what you think!