Charles Duhigg, in his book “The Power of Habit” talks about how small wins lead to big wins; it’s all about getting in the habit of winning. He uses the example of Michael Phelps; every day Phelps crawls out of bed at the same time and goes through the same winning routine. He eats a healthy breakfast, he works out… it’s all planned out for him, it’s all about habits. He starts his days with small win after small win; he gets used to winning. Winning becomes a habit.
So what if you start your day everyday by hitting snooze and sleeping later than you wanted? You’re starting your day with a defeat… you were defeated by your lizard brain. It sets up a failing frame for the day and negatively affects your self esteem.
All of these things are small things… sleeping late just this once won’t hurt anything… and getting up at exactly the time you wanted won’t change the world either. But life is just a big collection of small things, and they add up.
And why do we do these unskillful things? Like eating poorly, skimping on sleep, surfing the internet too much… whatever your distraction of choice may be… I’m sure we are seeking true happiness, it’s just that some part of us is unconvinced of our plans. I guess that’s what they call delusion.
The good news is that small victories add up quickly. After about three days of living well I can certainly tell a difference in my attitude. But you know what’s weird? It’s at that point that something inside me says “cool, problem solved, let’s celebrate”. And it’s at time where it seems like there’s always a good excuse, a good party to go to… and there ain’t nothin’ wrong with a party! It becomes a problem, I guess, if you get complacent. I guess that’s where it helps to have people holding you accountable, holding you to your promises to yourself.