The 365 Commitment

Day 200 – Get Small

This is the second installment of my three key principles behind making and keeping life-changing commitments. As I discussed previously, I have been making and keeping commitments for 365 days in a row since 2018. Along that path, I have learned some valuable lessons.

Tiny Habits

The second principle in my series, I like to call getting small. This concept relates to the idea that the only commitment you are going to keep is the one you are willing to do consistently. Many authors have written on this topic, one of which is BJ Fogg in his work called “Tiny Habits.” This a paradigm that you should not start with large, complicated commitments that take too much energy to accomplish. Rather, you should start with really easy and small ones that you will actually do. The evidence Fogg uses to back up his theory is identical to my own experience. Starting small is the only real way to have success in keeping commitments.

The Relationship with Habits

The relationship between keeping commitments and building habits is fundamentally intertwined, as each commitment kept gradually morphs into a habit through consistent action. When we commit to small, manageable tasks on a daily basis, these actions begin to cement themselves into our routine, forming new habits that align with our long-term goals. This iterative process of commitment and habituation is crucial because habits are essentially the architecture of our daily lives. By starting with small commitments, we lower the barriers to success, making it easier to repeat these actions until they become second nature. Over time, these small, consistent actions accumulate, leading to significant personal transformation. Thus, the act of keeping commitments not only fosters discipline but also strategically builds the stable and enduring habits that shape our behaviors and, ultimately, our identities.

The Law of Accumulation

There seem to be two laws at play, the first being the law of accumulation. The law of accumulation is a powerful concept when applied to making steady, slow improvements through daily habits. It emphasizes that small, seemingly insignificant actions accumulate over time to produce significant results. This principle is especially relevant in the context of habit formation and personal development. Each time you engage in a small, positive habit, you are adding to a cumulative effect. These additions may be minute on their own, but over days, months, and years, they stack up to create profound changes.

For example, reading just ten pages of a book each day might seem trivial in isolation, but over the course of a year, it amounts to over 3,600 pages, equivalent to several books full of new knowledge and insights. Similarly, saving a small amount of money daily can grow into a substantial fund over time. This principle teaches that consistency is key; regular deposits of small efforts are far more effective than sporadic bursts of major activity. By understanding and leveraging the law of accumulation, individuals can make continual progress toward their goals, ensuring that every small step taken today quietly but significantly enhances tomorrow’s possibilities.

The Law of Iteration

The second is the law of iteration. As we go through each day, keeping commitments and tiny habits we start to gain benefit from iterations. Iteration is an incredibly effective method for personal progress because it allows for continuous learning and adaptation, which are key to improving any skill or process over time. This approach is rooted in the idea of making gradual adjustments based on feedback and experiences, rather than seeking to achieve perfection from the outset.

One of the primary reasons why iteration leads to substantial personal growth is that it fosters a mindset of experimentation and resilience. By iterating, you are essentially giving yourself permission to make mistakes and learn from them, which reduces the pressure of needing to succeed on the first try. This approach encourages taking small steps toward a goal and refining methods and strategies as you gather more information about what works and what doesn’t.

Furthermore, iteration allows for more precise and tailored personal development. As you iterate, you can hone in on the specific areas that need improvement and focus your efforts more effectively. Each cycle of iteration provides valuable insights into your own habits, preferences, and strengths, enabling you to develop strategies that are optimally adjusted to your individual circumstances.

Building Momentum

Lastly, iteration builds momentum. With each cycle, the small successes accumulate, boosting confidence and motivation. This progressive building of skills and successes creates a positive feedback loop, where improvement in one area fuels the desire and ability to improve in others. This ongoing process of refinement and achievement makes iteration a powerful tool for personal and professional development.

In wrapping up this second installment of our exploration into the key principles behind making and keeping life-changing commitments, it’s evident that starting small and embracing iterative progress are not just strategies but essential practices for meaningful change. The journey of commitment is not paved with grandiose gestures but with the quiet consistency of small, daily actions. These actions, rooted in the principles of accumulation and iteration, are the true engines of personal transformation.

Every small habit or action builds upon itself through the law of accumulation, creating a larger impact than its humble beginnings might suggest. Similarly, the principle of iteration teaches us the importance of adaptability and learning, allowing us to refine our approaches based on real-time feedback and experiences. Together, these laws ensure that our commitments do not become overwhelming but rather evolve into sustainable practices that integrate seamlessly into our lives.

As we continue to commit to these small, manageable tasks, we see not only changes in our behaviors but in our very nature, transforming who we are into who we aspire to be.

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