Small moves to make big(ish) gains

I liked this from Fast Company about making little changes that can help greatly, though I also enjoy that my iPad just autocorrected “liked” to “lied”.

When we think about New Year’s resolutions, we often think about huge life changes: losing 50 lbs, being happier.

There’s nothing wrong with these goals, except that they’re so big they’re intimidating. A better approach? Look at tiny tweaks that take a few minutes, but have big payoffs. Choose and stick with anything on this list, and 2015 could end with a much happier, healthier you.

According to Cornell professor Brian Wansink’s research, people who have fruit bowls on their kitchen counters weigh eight pounds less than those who don’t. It’s an easy way to turn mindless grazing into increased produce consumption. Try putting a fruit bowl on your desk, too, and an apple might just become your go-to afternoon snack.

Various studies find that breakfast eaters weigh less than those who don’t, and that the vast majority of people who have successfully lost weight eat breakfast. Don’t overthink this meal. Hard boil five eggs on Sunday and voila! That’s a week. Grab some string cheese and eat that. Keep yogurt in an office fridge. Buy a piece of fruit wherever you buy your coffee in the morning. That alone may ward off cravings for mid-morning donuts.

Gyms are great, if you go. Most people don’t (or else they join January 1st and quit by February). But anyone can squeeze in extra movement here and there. If, on each workday, you take 200 steps during a phone call, another 100 steps while waiting for food to heat up in the microwave, and 100 steps while brushing your teeth in the morning, you’ll walk an extra mile each week. That’s 50 more miles per year than you would have been walking.

17 Small (And Totally Doable) Tweaks That Will Change Your Year – Laura Vanderkam, Fast Company

Read the full piece.

The lazy route to doing more

This isn’t my idea, but it’s similar to ones you’ll find all over The Blank Screen and – to be fair – pretty much everywhere you look that covers creative productivity. But there’s a reason for this: it’s a good idea.

The short version is that you should concentrate on doing small steps but doing them often. Let Steven Farquharson of 2HelpfulGuys explain his take:

I’m not going to lie…

I’m lazy by nature. Left unchecked, I would never get anything done. I always had trouble handing in assignments at school, and I always look for corners to cut.

In recent years I have become very ambitious, which mixes with my lazy attitude like oil and water. I’ve learned that most people are lazy to some extent. It is human nature to want to experience the most amount of pleasure with the least amount of pain.

I have often created vast plans for achieving my goals, but they would only work in a fantasy reality. I imagine myself turning into some sort of robot overnight that can work twenty-four hours a day without eating, sleeping, or needing to relax.
But these plans never stand the test of time.

Eventually I give up, and feel ashamed.

Does the progression towards your goals have to be this hard all the time?
No, and I think I’ve figured it out.

Daily Automatic Progress – Steven Farquharson, 2HelpfulGuys (3 January 2015)

Read the full feature for exactly what he’s figured out though, prepare yourself, it means doing a few things every single day.

Proof that small moves work

Well, at least call it proof that small moves add up. As I write this, it’s 18 August 2014, The Blank Screen news site has been running for 265 days and we’re closing in on 1,000 posts. That’s coming soon but we’ve already exceeded 250,000 words posted.

A quarter of a million words since 26 November 2013.

That’s something like three times more words than the book that started all this, The Blank Screen (UK edition, US edition).

If we’d written as much fiction in this time, we’d have a trilogy of novels. If I had a dollar for every word I’d be writing to you from New York and inviting you over for a coffee and a dinner.

I do want to revel in this a bit, I do feel rather good about it, but I also want to think about how you can as equally argue that it happened by accident as that it did from hard work. I won’t dismiss the work it took but right now, today, I don’t see any of that, I just see that consistent, regular effort has built something I didn’t have last year.

Next time you or I reckon we don’t have time for something or perhaps that we don’t have enough time for it, let’s remember that, truly, small moves work. I could be less smug about it, mind.