Originally published in “This Month in Elgin January 2020”

Many people admit that the real key to success is small gains over long periods of time. Of course, that’s not what it looks like when we consider the YouTube-famous, or Instagram influencers, but as we all know that kind of success is extremely rare and quite fleeting.

Instead, making small, but consistent, steps toward achieving something great is likely 1) much more attainable for most of us who aren’t crazy talented and 2) has a longer payoff.

If you are looking for a great way to help you get on that path to consistency, I have a book, a podcast, and a journal to recommend:

1) The book that basically preaches exactly what I say here is called Atomic Habits by James Clear. He strongly advocates that you can really only get to where you want to be as a happier, more productive person by implementing tiny changes-whether you are looking to take on a new good habit (like drinking more water in the day) or shedding a bad one (like quitting smoking). His writes about four laws of behaviour change 1: make it obvious, 2: make it attractive, 3: make it easy, and 4: make it satisfying that will help guide you to finding the right motivation and the necessary persistence to make the new behaviour stick.

2) I’m going to just go ahead and plug two dear colleagues of mine and their podcast “The Improvement Project”. Recorded right here in St. Thomas, this podcast is about creating better habits and becoming a better human! Dr. Peggy, a local chiropractor and Jenny Couse, a marketing specialist, take on a new habit challenge every 30 days and share their insights as the challenge unfolds. Not surprisingly, Atomic Habits that I mentioned earlier came from their recommended book list. It certainly helps that these super smart ladies are also fun to listen to and have a great rapport. Learn more at https://drpeggymalone.com/podcast/

3) Another great habit that is affecting my overall productivity and outlook also came from Dr. Peggy and Jenny. Last year I started writing in a “Five Minute Gratitude Journal”. Like the title says, I spend about three minutes in the morning and two in the evening slowly changing my perspective and expectations for the day by reflecting on the things for which I’m grateful and what areas I can consciously work on as I go about my day. There are many, many kinds of journals out there; the one I like to use is from intelligentchange.com.

That’s it! A few small but positive ways to change you outlook, keep you focused on your goals, and take agency for your life. Please drop me a line and let me know if any of these worked for you!

Happy 2020!