I know, I know – the saying is “think big,” but I am coming to believe that it is the small things that will make the
biggest difference in our lives. I always talk about “5 bucks matters whether it is draining out of your wallet,
paying down your debt or building up your savings,” but I wasn’t really, truly applying that philosophy to all
aspects of my life. Five calories matter. Five minutes of mediation or prayer matters. Five push-ups matter.
Before Thanksgiving, I asked you to start preparing for 2016. I asked you to think about goals and about things
that you want to be different next year. If you have done that, perhaps you are creating your goals, identifying
your action steps, preparing yourself for success, and identifying challenges to your success. Awesome – keep
preparing. To help you achieve big goals, plan for small actions, take small steps, do little things but do them
I am the queen of the grand gesture. I can easily get excited, make plans, buy equipment, block out hours and do
something grandiose one or two times. Consistency is what is hard for me because I am so quickly caught up in
the next new idea or big plan and it is nearly impossible to maintain the “big bang.” For me to succeed at
something, I have to take turtle steps. I talked about Martha Beck’s turtle steps in part II of Creating Better
Money Stories: A turtle step is an action that is so ridiculously easy as to be laughable. It is such a little nothing of
a thing that it hardly seems like it would matter, but it does! It really, really matters because it helps overcome
the hardest part – starting!
Make your action steps be turtle steps so that you know you will do it. It’s so easy, why not? Then come up with
another turtle step for tomorrow. Consistent turtle steps will move you faster and further than thinking that you
are going to “block out 6 hours to tackle this.” Ha! That is never going to happen for so many reasons.
As you make you plan for 2016, identify the turtle steps that can help you creep your way to accomplishing big
goals. In the book, The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy talks about the power of compounding the impact by
doing small things consistently. That compounding can be positive or negative. Take the example of spending
just $4/day on coffee versus saving $4 per day: “The real cost of a four-dollar-a-day coffee habit over 20 years is
$51,833.79. That’s the power of the Compound Effect.”1 So, the difference between spending that $4/day and
putting that $4/day into your savings account is really $103,667.58!
Think of the difference between cutting out 125 calories per day and adding 125 calories – it’s a 67 lb difference
after 31 months.2 There are so many examples of little things which when done consistently create massive
impact. The critical part of that is done consistently. What will you do consistently in 2016 that will inch you
“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”
1 Hardy, Darren, The Compound Effect, 2010 by Success Media, page 41.
2Hardy, Darren, The Compound Effect, 2010 by Success Media, page 13.