One day, I biked 206 miles from Seattle to Portland.
My goal to ride 206 miles started months earlier. And it started with one small decision to start biking. I biked a few miles at first and enjoyed it. I decided this was something to invest in.
I worked consistently, adding more miles with each ride. I got stronger, building confidence. After a few months, I decided to make a goal of biking more in one day than some do in a year: 206 miles.
I slowly and consistently biked further each day, inching closer to my goal. On the day of the event, I felt nervous but excited to meet the challenge. Ready to prove to myself I could do this.
I did it: I biked 206 miles in one day. I stood at the finish line feeling accomplished and confident. Yes, this big accomplishment all started with one small decision.
When I think back to the day I started biking, I had no idea how big of an impact that small decision would make.
Millions of Small Decisions
When we reflect on life, we normally think of all the big decisions we made: the career we chose, the house we bought, who we married, etc. These big decisions jump out as milestones that make up our lives.
What about all the tiny decisions that we made to get there? It's been said that the average person makes roughly 2000 decisions per hour. These decisions seem small and insignificant at the time, but some of them have compounding impacts.
It's the ones with the potential for this compounding impact that I want to focus on.
I call them Micro-Decisions.
What is a Micro-Decision?
Micro-Decisions are the small decisions we make that have the potential to compound into a massive impact in our lives.
Each big impact we have on our lives started with a small decision. One that doesn't seem significant at the time, but if we fast-forward a bit, the impact is tremendous.
- The decision to exercise daily helps build muscle.
- The choice to binge on TV instead of reading stunts our learning.
- The resolve to eat a healthy afternoon snack leads to better health.
All of these have small beginnings. Each one has the capability for a massive effect on our lives.
Even if the decision seems insignificant, when it's made over and over again it has the ability to change us. Not every Micro-Decision is going to have a massive impact. But, the potential is there.
The choice is if we want to be intentional with these small decisions or if we are going to allow them to pass us by.
The Power of Tiny Gains
James Clear, the author of "Atomic Habits", talks about the power of small, continuous improvement.
He says, "Continuous improvement is a dedication to making small changes and improvements every day, with the expectation that those small improvements will add up to something significant."
What he means by "something significant" is actually 37 times better over a year.
Making a positive Micro-Decision every day (1% improvement) leads to massive results.
How can we harness that potential to achieve massive results?
Here are 4 steps to make it happen:
- Decide where you want to go: start by identifying where you want to end up. Recognize you have the ability to make changes to get there.
- Pick one small decision: look at all the changes you could make. Decide on one that you can do regularly to move you towards your goal.
- Commit daily to that decision: daily progress is where the magic happens. Commit to making that decision every day and the results will follow.
- Track your progress: it's important to track your progress along the way. Seeing how far you've come, gives you the energy you need to keep moving forward.
Again, it doesn't need to be a huge change. The Micro-Decisions made consistently compound into massive impact.
It could be working out consistently, eating healthy, reading more frequently, sharing your ideas, or whatever else strikes your fancy.
Make the decision to commit to daily, small choices and watch the change compound over time.
Which Micro-Decision do you want to commit to today?