The first weeks of the new year are moving very fast and many are looking with concern at the list of things they would like to improve in their lives. At the same time, comes the memory of those resolutions that were made last year that were not fulfilled. What do you want to achieve for your family, your finances, and your health? Is there still time to achieve these goals?

The power of small decisions

In his book “The Slight Edge”, author and entrepreneur Jeff Olson provides an extensive synopsis of how small day-to-day decisions are not only very important, but are the decisions that determine our future. Let’s look at two examples.

Imagine that you are thirsty and you can decide between drinking a glass of water or soda. If you opt for the glass of water, that does not necessarily mean that your health will improve significantly just because of that small glass. On the other hand, if you choose the soda it does not necessarily mean that your health will be ruined. That leads us to a tipping point: deciding on the glass of water is easy-- anyone can do it-- and not choosing the glass of water is also easy.

So what is going to determine the state of your health?

Because we do not perceive a major impact on our lives with that small decision, we think that it does not have great significance. However, the reality is that the sum of those small decisions over time is what is going to determine the state of your health. Ultimately, the small decisions are the most important ones.

Many people think that in order to improve their health they need to take radical measures and make big decisions to impact their lives. This is why in January gyms are crammed with people with good intentions, but in May they are almost empty. Many people want to take big steps that they cannot maintain.

Conversely, if you stick to small decisions that do not require great effort, such as drinking water every time you are thirsty, or turning down junk food, or walking every day, the cumulative effect of those small actions will bring you huge benefits by the end of the year.

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With perseverance, small steps can bring big results

How difficult is it to read 10 pages of a good book during your free time each day? It is really something simple that anyone can do. Now, if you read only 10 pages tonight, it does not mean that you will wake up a genius tomorrow. If instead you prefer to spend that time playing on your phone, or poring over other people’s lives on social networks, that is not going to reduce your IQ. Once again, we find a small action that is easy to do and at the same time easy not to do.

What would happen in a year if you read 10 pages a day? You would have read 3,650 pages. At an average of 255 pages per book, that means you would have read 14 books in 12 months. Those 14 books can transform you into a more informed and knowledgeable person, with a more extensive vocabulary and with a greater advantage over your colleagues and peers. I am personally practicing this principle with reading, and the number of books I read per week has increased significantly.

Consider again what you want to achieve for your family, your finances, and your health in a year from now. Keep this image clear in your mind and then relate it to the small, everyday decisions that you make. Ask yourself: does this small decision push me away or bring me closer to reaching my goal? Use this principle to guide your decision-making.

Diego Barahona A.

Diego Barahona A.

Periodista, editor, asesor, y presentador. De 2016 a 2019 el periodista más galardonado en Estados Unidos por los Premios José Martí. Autor del best seller: ¿Cómo leer a las personas?