I’m the bestselling author of nearly a dozen books—but I’m also 17 years old.
Which means that I still live at home. With my parents. And my seven younger siblings.
Yeah, that’s right. I’m the oldest of eight kids. We’re one of those families.
*Sucks in sharply through teeth*
Haha, just kidding. Big families aren’t all bad. But they also aren’t all good.
I used to have a pretty sucky relationship with my siblings. We didn’t necessarily not get along, but we didn’t really get along either. They were there, and I was there…and that was the extent of our relationship. We lived in the same house, and that was about it.
Sometimes we’d play a game as a family. Sometimes we’d fight. There was probably more fighting than games. Welcome to life.
But one day I decided that I wanted to change this. I wanted to develop a better relationship with my seven little siblings. Like it or not, they were a part of my life. I’d have to put up with them…forever. Might as well enjoy it, right?
But I didn’t want to rush into anything too fast. Relationships don’t just change overnight. They take time. And work. And persistence.
So I decided to set a simple micro-goal to get started. Nothing too big, just a little tweak to set the ball rolling and get some momentum going.
I set a goal to give every single one of my siblings a high-five and a compliment every time I saw one them.
If I walked into a room and there was one or two of them in there…boom. Both of them got a high-five and a compliment. Right off the bat, no hesitation. I would just whatever reasonably nice thing popped into my mind. Mostly just simple compliments like, “I like that shirt” or, “good job with [current activity].”
Now, that seems super simple and low-key and straightforward, right?
And it was. It was super easy. Ridiculously easy.
But the results were incredible. I was completely blown away.
Within seven days the relationship between me and my siblings changed 100 percent.
Just small, frequent affirmations that I was aware of, and cared about, them made all of the difference in the world. Within a week we were all besties. We’d hang out for two or three hours every afternoon after school and just mess around and goof off and play all sorts of fun games.
This experiment started about nine months ago, and we still have an amazing relationship. Just that one simple goal changed everything.
I began to wonder if I could create more incredible changes in my life by employing frequent microscopic tweaks to my daily routine. Even though a high-five and a compliment seems pretty small, it had a powerful effect. Maybe equally small changes could have just as powerful effects.
So I decided to put this theory to the test.
My next aspiration was to dramatically improve my physical health.
I set a goal to complete a small, fairly easy exercise once every hour, from 8am to 5pm. So 10 small exercises per day (which I started to call “Power Bursts”).
It took a little bit of trial and error, but eventually I found a Power Burst routine that worked amazingly well for me. And it only has two steps:
1) Do 50 crunches.
2) Do 10 curls with 30-pound dumbbells.
And that’s it. It seriously only takes two minutes. Maybe 90 seconds if I really hustle.
And the results have been super great. I’ve been getting all sorts of compliments. People have noticed that I’ve been putting on a fair amount of muscle and getting a bit of six-pack—just from doing 10 of these super simple Power Bursts each day.
So what can we learn from this?
Well, small changes can really add up overtime.
I mean, 30 pounds isn’t really that much. But, by doing 10 reps per arm per hour, I’m curling 6,000 pounds a day.
30 pounds x 2 arms x 10 reps x 10 sets = 6,000 pounds/day
Same thing with my siblings. A high-five and a single compliment aren’t really that weighty (so to speak, haha) but they really add up and have an avalanche effect over time.
And I’m confident that this same theory can be applied to most areas of life. Obviously it won’t be super effective in every situation, but I’ll bet you’d be surprised at how useful small, repetitive changes can be.
They’ve definitely improved my daily life. And I’m confident they can do the same for you.
Author: Mark Messick
Images: Flickr/Esteve Conaway
Editor: Travis May