To initiate big change, we need to make big changes. If we want to stop eating junk food, we need to purge our cupboards and get rid of all offensive food. If we want to live a more minimalistic lifestyle, we need to evaluate everything we own and chuck out all that we don’t need.
But do we? Isn’t there an easier way to bring about revolutionary change in our lives? I think there is: little tweaks.
When we’re trying to change something, it makes sense to think that the size of the change we make has to be equivalent to the impact of the change we’re seeking. But the mechanics of change aren’t so straightforward. A small change can, and often does, have an impact that is disproportionate to the effort expended to make it.
To illustrate this, let me give you some examples of little tweaks I’ve made recently that have had a big impact.
Tweak: After meditating and writing my morning pages, I sit and slowly drink a cup of coffee, instead of turning my laptop on and jumping straight into writing.
Impact: I start the day feeling un-rushed, with a clarity of mind and a serenity of temperament that I’ve never had before.
Tweak: On my laptop’s display I turned off the date/time indicator.
Impact: When I’m writing, working or exploring via my laptop, I no longer glance frequently at the clock, imposing time pressure upon myself. My activity is guided by immersion and engagement, rather than time allocated.
Tweak: When I’m not using my laptop or phone, I put them in a drawer or cupboard. They are visually removed from my environment.
Impact: Keeping them out of sight helps keep them (and the things I associate them with) out of mind. It allows me to immerse myself more in the offline activities I’m engaged in.
Tweak: When driving, either short or long distances, I tend to turn off the radio, and drive in silence.
Impact: This has created a pocket of denarration. Instead of being bombarded with more information, my mind is given a chance to decompress and untangle itself from all the things loaded upon it throughout the day.
These changes are small. But I’ve already felt and witnessed the impact they’re having. So I will continue to favour this method when trying to improve my life. Before I make sweeping alterations to how I live, I’ll tinker and make little tweaks to see if I can get the desired change for significantly less cost.