It's somehow appropriate that I make this review on New Years Day, the day when everyone talks about making changes in their lives... Small Change: Little Things Make A Big Difference by Susan & Larry Terkel. The Terkels make the contention that implementing huge changes all at once are bound to fail due to the overwhelming resistance we'll face. Instead, making a series of small changes are much easier and will add up over time. Trying to walk 150 miles is overwhelming. Walking one bus stop further each day will add up to those same 150 miles over a year. While not appropriate for *every* situation you'll face, the Terkels make a very good point...
Contents: Introduction: A Better Way to a Better You Chapter 1: How to Apply Small Change to Your Life Chapter 2: Small Changes for Better Health Chapter 3: Small Changes for Better Relationships Chapter 4: Small Changes for a Healthier, More Creative Mind Chapter 5: Small Change at Work Chapter 6: Small Change for More Happiness Conclusion: A Little Pep Talk
Applying small changes to your life follows five rules according to the book: 1) Look Closely at What You Do Every Day; 2) Make Only One Change at a Time; 3) Make Small Change a Constant in Your Life; 4) Trust the Power of Small Change, and Remember, It Will Add Up; and 5) Enjoy Making Small Changes. All this makes a lot of sense, and it's close to being a "duh!" concept except for the fact that most of us never follow it. We try to make lots of sweeping changes at once, and few stick. If instead you make one small change at a time, you can focus completely on that change, incorporate it into your life, and let the rewards start accumulating. For instance, on the exercise side you might commit to taking the stairs once a day. It's tempting to say you'll NEVER take the elevator again, but that will fail. If you can commit to taking the stairs the first time in the morning, then you will have climbed an untold number of stairs by the end of the year and burned far more calories than you would have otherwise. It's the same concept with fidgeting... tap your toes, pace, or do some other little movement during regular events. It's been shown that small stuff like that can burn 300 to 500 more calories a day. Think of what THAT would do for you over a year.
I personally was impacted by the section on making small changes in your conversation. I need to focus on that, by looking at certain habits like being the Prosecutor, the Fact Checker, or the I Top You conversationalist. They have 14 different traits listed in this section, and most everyone is guilty of at least one or more. My goal will not to be to change all of them at once, as that goes against the rule of changing just one thing at a time. But once I have one addressed to a significant degree, I can move on to the next. And perhaps in six to twelve months, I will have one area of my life better managed. :)
Small Change definitely goes against the conventional method of making sweeping changes all at once (and failing). But there's a much better chance you'll take something away from this book that will make a difference in your life if you're patient enough to trust that the small change *will* add up over time...
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