How One Small Good Habit Can Create Big Change in Your Life


“Small habits don’t add up, they compound. You don’t need to be twice as good to get twice the results. You just need to be slightly better.” ~James Clear

Life can often feel overwhelming, especially when we aspire to achieve significant goals or make substantial changes. However, the secret to lasting transformation might be simpler than you think. It lies in the power of a single, small habit. This article explores the life-changing impact of implementing just one positive habit into your life and maintaining consistency with it.

Embrace the Power of One

Adopting several good habits at once can be daunting and can lead to burnout or loss of motivation. Instead, consider starting with just one small, manageable good habit.

For instance, some people have found walking to be a gateway to a healthier lifestyle. This simple exercise can gradually progress into more intensive workouts like running, which, in turn, can inspire healthier eating habits. It’s all about taking that first step and sticking with it.

This One Exercise Changed My Life

My personal journey toward a healthier life began at the age of fourteen. I was extremely skinny, frequently getting ill, and often teased about my appearance by my classmates. I hated my skinny arms and my weakness. Desperate to build muscle and boost my immunity, I decided to commit to a seemingly small habit—performing thirty push-ups a day for a week.

On the first day, I completed thirty reps of push-ups (not in a row) with improper form. The next day, my body was sore, but I persevered and told myself, “Only seven days left, and after this challenge, I won’t need to continue doing push-ups.” This self-talk somehow kept me going.

Around day four or five, I surpassed the initial challenge of thirty reps and increased it to fifty. On day seven, I finally completed my push-up challenge. I no longer needed to do push-ups, but I felt motivated to continue for more than a week.

The Ripple Effect of One Good Habit

I didn’t limit my workouts to only doing push-ups; after thirty days of my push-up challenge, I bought “Billy’s Bootcamp by Billy Blank” on Amazon. (It was a popular exercise DVD for stay-at-home moms in Japan, yet it was super tough for an unfit teenager like me.) Later, I added weights to my workout routine.

Because of my push-ups, I realized the importance of exercise and how it makes me feel good. So after that challenge, I started learning about nutrition, prioritizing healthy eating, and of course, adding regular workouts to my day-to-day life.

The Influence of Small Good Habits That Transform Other Aspects of Life

A small good habit doesn’t limit itself to just one aspect of life; any positive habit you start can expand to other areas.

What happened in my life after the push-up challenge?

I watched a fitness video on YouTube posted by a Japanese fitness influencer who was in the US and spoke English fluently. It hit me so hard. At the age of nineteen, as a Japanese guy who had never spoken a second language before, it was extremely inspiring for me to decide to learn English.

Just before turning twenty, I enrolled in an English language school in Fiji (because it was affordable). Half a year later, I started traveling around Australia, Southeast Asia, and Europe, ultimately traveling for more than three years. During my travels, I encountered many intelligent people who inspired me to delve into self-development and practice mindfulness.

One day, I stumbled upon a YouTube video posted by a British influencer. In that video, he emphasized the importance of reading. Despite never having a reading habit or barely reading books before, I wanted to improve myself and gain knowledge. This led me to pick up a book and start reading.

Even though the beginning is small, one good habit can create momentum that shifts one’s life completely.

The Domino Effect of Personal Growth

Starting with push-ups improved my health and led me to a fitness video, which, in turn, inspired me to learn English. The ability to speak English allowed me to travel overseas, providing opportunities to meet intelligent people who completely changed my mindset toward personal development. Watching self-improvement videos ultimately led me to gain knowledge through reading good books.

The Momentum of Consistency

It’s crucial to understand that noticeable results don’t happen overnight. It’s consistent effort over time that builds momentum and leads to significant change. Each day’s improvement may seem small and inconspicuous, but when you reflect over the years, you’ll notice how much your life has improved and how far you’ve come.

Consider the famous question: “Would you choose to get three million dollars right now or choose one penny that doubles for the next thirty days?”

Let’s say you choose the one penny, and your friend chooses three million dollars. After seven days, your one penny is still less than a dollar, and your friend might think you made a stupid decision. By day twenty, your penny becomes over $5,200 but still far behind three million dollars, and your friend is relaxed, not even worried about being surpassed by your progress.

Then, a miracle happens on day twenty-eight – your penny reaches over one million dollars, and your friend is confused about what just happened. On day thirty, your penny becomes $5,368,709—over five million dollars! You win!

This is what overnight success looks like. You may not notice a big difference, but one day, consistent work starts to make a significant impact.

The 1% Rule for Lasting Change

Just like the compounding penny, making small, 1% changes in your daily habits can have a profound impact over time. It’s akin to a plane traveling from Los Angeles to New York. If the plane’s trajectory is off by just 1%, it could end up in Albany or Dover instead.

The Importance of Persisting

Momentum is much like riding a bicycle—it needs consistent effort to maintain it. The moment you stop pedaling, the bicycle loses speed and eventually falls. Likewise, without consistency, the momentum of your positive habits dissipates.

Keep Going, Keep Growing

It’s easy to become complacent once you achieve your initial goals. However, the moment you decide you’re “good enough” and stop improving is the moment you lose your momentum.

Remember, there’s no endpoint in personal growth. The key is to keep going, keep growing, and maintain the momentum you’ve worked hard to build.

The Power of One Good Habit: A Recap

In summary, adopting one small positive habit and remaining consistent with it can significantly transform your life. This habit can create a ripple effect that can impact various aspects of your life, leading to personal growth and self-improvement.

As the ancient Chinese proverb goes, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” So, what small habit will you start today?

Your Next Steps

Take a moment to reflect on a small good habit that you can incorporate into your life. Remember, the focus is not on immediate results but on the consistency and persistence you put into this habit. As time goes on, you’ll start to notice the dramatic transformation this one small habit will bring to your life.

About Ryoga Takedoi

Ryoga is a Japanese-born blogger, adventurer, and calisthenics athlete. He shares his insight on self-development from his experience and journey at Studio Milestone to help others unlock their full potential, overcome addiction, and achieve personal goals.

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