The Compound Effect: Small Decisions Can Make a Big Impact
I have this recurrent thought about the power of the compound effect in health and (dare I even suggest it) happiness.
That the little (and not so little) choices we make in our everyday lives, the decisions that soon become ingrained into usual routine, can exponentially add up to a big difference in who or what we become in and over our lives.
There is a book entitled “The Compound Effect” that details this phenomenon from more or less a business perspective. How to maximize your time in this one life you’ve got, to get the most production out of oneself, and the most optimized self.
I think about this more from the health, wellness, and well-being perspective, that being my wheelhouse.
I think about how my often-mentioned concept of “tweaking it up” - taking things you do as a matter of course and finding ways to modify it into a habit a little bit healthier - is a foundational step in the compounding effect process.
As an example, the thought occurred to me as I was eating my breakfast that the tweak-up I remembered and re-implemented a few months back was still in effect: I had made the conscious choice to limit my consumption of egg yolks to two or fewer per week. I had realized I had mindlessly gotten into the habit of scrambling up two or three whole eggs daily. Once I thought about it and decided I wanted to change this habit, I found that I could make my scrambled egg whites or egg white omelet just as, or more enjoyable, with the addition of other healthful ingredients: a few small slices of avocado, a drizzling of olive oil and sprinkling of garlic salt.
Over time, I am going to enjoy exponentially growing benefits and rewards of this tweak-up. I am taking in fewer overall calories and fewer fat calories, while retaining the health benefits of lean protein to fuel my day and satiate my usually ravenous appetite.
The compound effect of stuff we do all the time - what else, if I thought about, could I choose just a little bit healthier? Compounding the effects, perhaps helping myself be happier with the choices I’ve made and the outcomes I’ve helped create?
For even more tips on how to get better health and need the health care system less, check out: The New Prescription: How to Get the Best Health Care in a Broken System by Dr. Cynthia D. Haines, M.D. (Dr. Cindy Haines) and Eric Metcalf, M.P.H. This is a book about getting what you really want: better health on your own terms. More medical care doesn’t mean better health. Dr. Haines and Metcalf reveal some of the most egregious problems with a medical system gone awry, opening readers’ eyes to how to better navigate the changes underway. Using solid research, insiders’ insights, and patient anecdotes, they offer cost-effective and potentially life-saving ways to get more out of health care while using less of it.
Cindy Haines, M.D., wrote about diet and exercise for HealthCentral.