Compound Effect: Small Steps to Grand Results

The difference between the winner and the loser, the successful and the unsuccessful is simply a decision. It all starts with a simple decision to create a positive habit that will ultimately make you win – through the compound effect.


Compound Effect: Life is a series of decisions

Nothing ever starts out great. Nothing.

Every behavior, task or endeavor that you decided upon started out as just a small, harmless action.

Since we are creatures of habit, the actions we engage in repeatedly mold into habits.

There are two kinds of habits – resourceful and unresourceful. In other words; positive habits and negative habits.

Successful folks are not special, esoteric or different than everybody else. They simply have better habits. That’s all.

Those positive habits compound over the years and transform the ordinary into extraordinary.

That’s the power of the compound effect. 

Almost always we get to see people that have “made it” or achieved something great at the peak of their work. At a first glace, this creates the illusion that these people are somehow more talented, better, stronger, faster, possess superior genetics, etc. However, if you look deeper into their story you will undoubtedly find many years of consistent execution of positive habits that has lead them to that moment.

the compound effect: small steps to grand results - toronto personal training

“We are what we repeatedly do everyday. Therefore, excellence is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle


Understanding habits

Whenever we think a thought, act upon that thought and repeat it over and over again, our brain forms new neural pathways to store that new information. The more time and energy you spend repeating that same task, the stronger those same cells will wire together. With enough repetition, they become automatic and ultimately a subconscious habit.

The great basketball legend Larry Bird was not born with any special talents from the get-go. His work ethic and discipline of practicing the same shot hundreds or even thousands of times daily is what ultimately led him to becoming one of the best basketball players ever.

If you’ve had the bad habit of drinking diet sodas for 20 years, it may take you more than 3 days to unlearn that pattern and replace it with a new, positive one.

Note* Some people let go of bad habits cold-turkey, however it’s usually due to an extremely strong motivation and/or traumatic experience.

In order to form a new positive habit, repetition is key.

Some scientist say it takes about 21 days of daily consistent repetition for the new habit to form. It may take you less or more, it depends on how committed you are.


Instant vs. Delayed Gratification

Now more than ever, we live in a world that is literally instant.

Instant coffee, microwave dinners, instant worldwide communication and so on.

The result = lowest human attention span ever noted. Studies report that on average, our attention span is around 6-8 seconds.

Although I’d take that with a grain of salt, for some of us it is not far off. If you find yourself impatient, wanting things fast and now, cannot focus on a task that will take more than a week, you are controlled by instant gratification.

Instant gratification is a primary factor for a cascade of bad decisions that compound into awful and negative outcomes over time.

For instance, if you tend to hit the snooze button 4 times before waking up, you’ll carry out the same sluggish and lazy mentality in other areas of your life as well.

If you start skipping the gym to watch Netflix or go have beers with the boys, you’ll have a higher tendency to do the same the following day(s).

These bad decisions, over time, will compound to create an over-weight, unsuccessful and ultimately unhappy you.

Delayed-gratification on the other hand is part of a disciplined mind.

A calm and grounded person understands that good things take time.

Nothing and I mean nothing worthwhile has ever been built in an hour or a day.

Understanding and accepting that your goals will take some time gives way for good energy to flow through and be applied daily on the tasks that will lead you there.

Giving up pennies today so you can cash out big $$ at the end of the year. Sounds worth it to me.


Here are some effective tips to create a new positive habit

  • Slow and steady wins the race. If you want to be healthier and lose some weight, take it nice and slow. That means, begin by increasing your water intake and eliminating sugar. Do that for a couple of weeks. Then add a couple of workouts in there. After the month mark, begin an actual diet plan built specifically for you. If you try to do it all at once, it will fail 99% of the time.
  • Set reminders. Remember, repetition is absolute key for creating new neural pathways. That means at first, it will be uncomfortable, unnatural and your mind may even play tricks on you. Write down in your calendar or journal your daily tasks so you’re always reminded of what you need to get done. Otherwise, it will go over your head and you’ll forget about it quickly.
  • Have a source of accountability. Get a life coach, personal trainer or simply have a picture up on your mirror that triggers strong motivating emotion to get your butt up and do what needs to be done. Commitment is hard if you don’t have strong fire lit, carrying you through.
  • Take a practical approach. Do what you can with what you have. Don’t compare yourself with anyone else but yourself. Everyone has their journey, you have yours.
  • Anticipate the hardship. For example, your mind will try to keep you in a comfortable, familiar place as a protection/survival mechanism whenever you try to do something new and unknown. Anticipate that and work with it. Accept that it will not be easy and stay in the battle. Whatever you do, understand that it’s normal and do not quit. Everyone goes through those mental battles. Only the ones that see it for what it is are able to conquer it.
  • Think long-term. Time will pass by anyway. If you want a happier, vibrant and better future, it begins with the decisions you make today. Sacrifice a bit of today for tomorrow’s betterment. That’s a winner mentality.
  • Have a winner mentality. If you begin something by saying “I’ll give it a try and see how it goes.” or “I’ll give it a shot” you are setting yourself for failure. Those statements imply half-ass effort and on a deeper level expecting to fail. A winner says “I decided. This is what i’m going to do no matter what.” When you start something with this mentality, you are on the path to success.

compound effect - small steps to grand results - toronto personal training

Final Words

The compound effect never sleeps.

Whether we know it or not, it is directing our lives by the judgement of our habits.

Thankfully, we possess control of our thoughts, behaviors and decisions. Thus, we can alter or create new positive habits that will steer our life in the direction we actually want to go in.

What you think of as a silly, harmless and even useless act today, if repeated enough times may compound into riches beyond your expectations.

Both winners and losers may dislike doing certain daily tasks. Winners do them anyway.



Primal Breed is committed to providing you effective personal training in Toronto, helping you lose unwanted weight permanently and build lean muscle for life.

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