Step by step

Real change happens day by day, not in dramatic, one-off moments

Don’t look for the big, quick improvement. Seek the small improvement one day at a time. That’s the only way it happens — and when it happens, it lasts.

—John Wooden, quoted in The Talent Code

I like the idea of instant transformation.

One minute I can’t speak French, the next I can!
One day I’m an alcoholic, the next I’m free!
One week my marriage sucks, the next it’s all fixed!

Who of us wouldn’t want transformation and personal development to happen like this?

We all have a tendency to idealise the instant, dramatic improvement in our lives. It’s natural. When we want something, we want it now!

John Wooden reminds us though that the most lasting improvements in our lives are the small, ongoing, gradual, day-by-day improvements.

It’s all too easy to hope for the dramatic breakthrough.

But real change is hard work.

It doesn’t happen to us; we make daily choices that set us on the path to our desired outcome.

If our lives aren’t changing in the way we’d like them to, instead of wondering what big thing we could change—quit our job, move house, leave a relationship—what if we put our attention to the little details of our lives?

What small change could we make today that would lead to a better work life? A happier home? A stronger relationship?

Small, ongoing, daily improvements—habits—will make the biggest difference in the transformation of our lives.

There may be some life-changing, mountain top, dramatic experiences along the way—and when they come, embrace and celebrate them—but the real work of personal transformation happens day-by-day, down in the real world.

It might not feel glamorous, but it’s the surest way forward.


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Image: Beata Ratuszniak

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