Small change goes a long way 🚀

By changing a little you will eventually change a whole lot

The “Give it all you got” approach

Have you ever tried to change something in your life only to fall back to the same old routine three weeks later?

Congratulations, you’re a human.

Part of what makes it so hard to change, and remain changed, is that we often have this idea that changing ourselves requires a huge amount of hard work. We often think we need to give it all we’ve got and turn our life upside down if we want to succeed.

This approach works. But only for the very few. For most of us that strategy is not really an option because we’ve got kids to feed, jobs to maintain, lives to live, you know, the human things.

I’m happy to inform you that there’s another way.

The “Five Degree Change” approach 

I once read a cool analogy in a book called Atomic Habits: Imagine you are the captain of a big ship about to take off from London heading towards Singapore. As you take off, your co-captain redirects the ship just 5 degrees. The change is so small that in the beginning, you don’t notice it, but as you cross the oceans over several days those 5 degrees will start to matter. And eventually, instead of ending up in Singapore, you end up in Costa Rica. 

So when you are trying to implement some sort of change in your life to get you where you want, instead of giving it all your energy (which is hard to do for a longer period of time), you just make a five degree change today and cash in big-time later. 

Want to become a writer? Start writing a page a day. 

Want to become a better listener? Start by listening deeply to one conversation a day. 

Want to save more money? Start saving 1€ a day. 

In the beginning, you might not notice much difference, but as your actions start to accumulate over a few months. Or 12 months. Or 5 years. You will end up in a completely different place. 

Based on my experience, this approach works a whole lot better for most people. Because you can fit it into your regular life and all you need to be successful is patience, consistency and a belief in the process. 

Here are some examples of how this approach has worked for me (not trying to brag here!)

  • 2 years ago I started to build muscle by doing strength exercises 2 days a week. Since then I’ve gained 6kg of muscle. 
  • 3 years ago I started working 25mins each day building my own business. Today I make a living on it. 
  • 2 years ago I started to go to bed before 23.00 each night. Today I have a solid sleep routine and get 7h of sleep most nights. (We have a 1 and 3 year old around btw).
  • 4 years ago I started to meditate for 10mins each day. Today I feel a lot less reactive, am more aware of the things that trigger me, and I do a 10-day silent meditation retreat each year.
  • 1 year ago I started to write a bit each day. Today I write a few blog posts each month.

None of these changes required me to change my whole life around. And there’s nothing extraordinary about me that made this possible. I just started small and kept at it and eventually, it started to pay off. 

This approach worked for me, my 73 year old mom and many of the people I’ve worked with so far. 

Want to change, five degree at the time?