By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
DreamChaser, I have a question for you. I know you have big goals and dreams. Goals and dreams that you want to accomplish to live your best life. How do I know? You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t! Today, I am going to let you in on the overlooked and underestimated key to all of this goal-getting business. It’s the mindset shift that set me on the path to believing I could get those dreams on my heart; those dreams I had buried because I didn’t think it was possible. Once I adopted this mindset, I not only believed I could get these goals and dreams but I also started achieving them! The gem I uncovered was the concept of the slight edge, described in the book of the same name, The Slight Edge, by Jeff Olson. This mindset shift all starts with a question.
Do you need big action to accomplish your big goals and dreams?
Be honest. I am willing to bet the answer is something along the lines of “duh, of course BIG goals and dreams need BIG action”. It’s okay; I have a 12 year old and am used to people thinking I am asking an obvious and dumb question. And, in the mother-knows-all tone, I have two truths to tell you on this. You are wrong that BIG goals and dreams need BIG action. And, it is this incorrect thinking that is preventing you from getting all that you hope, dream, want, and deserve.
I know. Like the first sunburn in summer, that’s a little stingy. I felt the same way. I even argued with Jeff Olson on this concept. I mean, I don’t actually know Jeff Olson but I was listening to the audiobook in my car so I felt I could have a conversation with him. What can I say? It was my first audiobook! Eventually, I chilled out enough to remind myself the whole point of why I was trying out personal growth and development books was to become better and get new ideas where I was stuck.
Open mind back in place, I re-listened to the audiobook. Here’s an important tip, by the way, most books and ideas need to be revisited a few times for you to actually be able to take it all in and implement the ideas. It was this second go-around that I could actually take in this idea behind the slight edge as well as my error in thinking the way to accomplish my goals and dreams was matching the size of the goal with the size of the action.
Here’s the truthbomb, DreamChasers. It’s actually the small, consistent actions that you take every day that equal remarkable results over time! Jeff Olson’s idea behind The Slight Edge is that every action you take puts you on a path either towards your goal or away from it. At the time, the action you are about to take might seem too insignificant to affect your goal. You would be correct, if the action is a single, isolated, happened-only-once occurrence. The reality is that most actions happen multiple times, right? These small actions over time have a compounding effect, meaning they add onto each other, pushing you either in a positive or negative direction. Want to get to your goal? You want that compound effect to go in the positive direction.
Let’s use giving up coffee as an example, a goal I have had in my own life. I have nothing personally against coffee; it is one of those areas in nutrition that has been fought over for ages on whether it’s bad for you or not. For me, I have found that it causes my stomach to get upset, and, let’s be real, I do not need that or the extra calories from all the flavored creamer I pour into it. Yeah, I am one of those latte-colored “coffee” drinkers. Having one cup of coffee one time is not really a big deal but having 1-2 cups every day adds up. Let’s say that creamer is 35 calories per tablespoon, and I use, ahem, 2 tablespoons per cup. In one year, 70 calories times 365 days is 25,550 calories. There are 3500 calories in 1 pound. Cutting out flavored creamer and changing nothing else would mean I would lose 7.3 pounds in 1 year! Isn’t that a little mind-blowing how fast that adds up?!? All you do is commit to decreasing how much you drink by a little bit every day rather than giving it up all together. Before you know it, you will be coffee, and creamer, free; because you went slow and steady, you will not feel deprived and will have less withdrawal symptoms, which increases your chances of continued success. Bam!
To put the slight edge into place, there are 7 principles to consider. None of these are particularly hard to do or earth-shatteringly profound when they stand alone; it is the simplicity of these that brings the power. Just like the compound effect of the slight edge in action, the compound effect of these principles result in remarkable results when applied together. The idea behind the slight edge is small changes over time creating remarkable results, and these principles are the consistent actions you can put into place to execute the slight edge on a larger scale. They are as follows:
Let’s look at applying the power of the slight edge to a BIG, audacious, and common goal...getting healthy. This has to be one of the most common goals out there, right? First step, DreamChasers, is to define what this means to you by its smaller pieces. Getting healthy could include components like exercise, nutrition, hydration, mindset, stress management, weight, and self-kindness. Breaking that BIG goal down into its components makes it less scary and easier to attain. It gives you the places that you can start taking action and making changes to get you where you want to be...healthier. These components are where you start to apply the power of the slight edge by making small, positive steps towards your goal like drinking 1 glass of water, walking 10 minutes per day, eating a salad instead of chips as a side dish, or reading a positive affirmation when you wake up in the morning.
All of these are small but significant changes towards each small goal that are linked to your BIG goal. Each small goal uses the slight edge to compound on itself, like slowly increasing water each day and decreasing soda, energy drinks, and coffee. In addition, each of these small goals like drinking water, walking daily, eating vegetables, and positive affirmations compounds together towards your BIG, audacious goal of health, yielding remarkable results at a faster pace. Isn’t that amazing?!?
DreamChasers, getting all you want in life is really that simple. Small positive changes made consistently over time will yield remarkable results. Abandon the idea that BIG goals need BIG actions! Embrace the idea that small actions will get you where you need to be. Stay the course, believe in yourself, and get after it one little step at a time!
Jackie White has been writing about life and its ups and downs for many years. With a degree in Industrial Psychology and a life-long student of personal development she is intrigued by how each individual chooses to live their life. Jackie feels strongly that truly living your best life is imperative to attaining peace and fulfillment. SoulShine was borne of her desire to inspire and teach others to live their best life. This is her mission and her dream.