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The magic of small "Increments"

We always aim for our goals and try to make a huge change to make ourselves more and more worthy. But that doesn't last because a huge transition in our habits or character can make a vast change in our life and also that might not even last because a sudden huge change is always exhausting and more often difficult to follow, which leads to relapse to your previous habits. So if you change your tasks into habits you need to start from small. When you start from small and try to be just 1% better than yesterday you will see the things compounding in the long run. Also, it will reduce the pressure of making a huge transition in your life if you want to achieve something big. This blog is mostly based on the concepts of James Clear's book "Atomic Habits"

  • Getting things done without stressing out

Let's take an example. If there is a submission date to my project which is 2 weeks away from today, then I can complete the work in two ways either by prioritizing the work every day for small intervals of time or second by bursting out the whole day and night just one day before the submission. Maybe people might even consider the second option but which one is better. The first one is more convenient because if you put an equal amount of effort every day you will be able to get your work done without much hassle. You just have to get a little bit done it can be even 5% of the work. After all, something is better than nothing. So if you perform these increments every day you will have your project ready on the day of submission without any hustle.

  • Consistency- the mother of all habits

Once you make start doing the thing you just have to be consistent. Until you aren't consistent enough you won't be able to build a habit. So firstly be more consistent than perfection. Show up every day at the gym write at least a paragraph if you want to be a better writer. You just have to be consistent the goals will take care of it automatically. Even a small increment can help you in compounding in the long run. So if you are struggling with consistency include a habit tracker in your life. When you put up crosses on the calendar it will form a chain after some days then your goal will be not breaking the chain. When you track your habits you will have some data regarding your habit formation or the type of person you want to be. One small increment is a sign you are casting votes for the type of person you want to be. If you avoid junk food and instead switch to a whole grain lunch you are casting a vote for being a healthy person. These small changes will make you the type of person you want to be. Eg. If you want to be more productive your actual goal should be doing some research for the essay and not scrolling through Instagram in your free time. Opening the Instagram tab or moving on to some articles for the research makes the difference of being a productive person. You just have to make these small persistent decisions that will lead to bigger results.

  • Why you should practice small incremental progress

As I talked about the small increments in the beginning that make your goals easier as you progress every day bit by bit. But also it tells you to take action now to your long-term goals. As James Clear says "forget the goals instead focus on the process". When you focus on the process you are already casting a vote for your goals. Let's say if your goal is to get good marks in your semester exams. But your process should be doing deep work and studying for 3hrs daily or solving past papers. So solving past papers or studying for 3hrs daily should be your goals. When you try to make this small progress every day you will see the magic of compounding and hence you will get the rewards by putting in small efforts every day rather than staying awake and studying like a night owl on the last week before the exam. Now I have a great experience of working with smaller increments. I am a Tabla player [Tabla is an Indian musical instrument]. So we have certain governmental exams for Tabla. In 2019 when I opted for the 2nd level exams [there are levels in any instrumental exams depends on the number of years you are practicing it] I was not practicing Tabla regularly. At that time I was practicing once a week or twice a week for an hour or so. But that also I was not that consistent. Also, the 10th board exams were approaching. I was not managing my time properly and certainly practicing Tabla was not my top priority my result declined and I ended up with a 2nd class rank with below-average marks. But when I opted for the 3rd level exams I decided to practice the instrument persistently no matter what day it was. I made it a habit by practicing it at that particular time every day at least for 30 mins for 4 to 5 months consistently and thanks to Covid19 which gave me extra time to perform my hobbies I passed the exam with a 1st class rank with the highest marks in my coaching institute [I would have even got a distinction but the written exam was cancelled due to Covid19 and we were given marks on average by also considering the written exam marks which we didn't even write]. This was a perfect example of continuous effort and persistent practice with small increments daily. You don't need to plan something big, even small progress over time shows their effect.

  • Some tips to be consistent

    1. Do the thing at the same time and place every day to make it a habit.

    2. Make the process easier with the least effort required. [So if you want to read 15 pages of the book every day keep your book on your study table instead of keeping it on a book shelf].

    3. Get a habit tracking app so that you can track your progress.

    4. Don't miss two days in a row if you are building a habit, because "missing once can be an accident but missing twice is a start of a new habit".

So try to invest at least a small amount in your goals I mean the process because the more consistent you will be the less effort you need to work on your dreams. Even the progress is small it still counts as it gets compounded over time if you do it consistently.

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