This is where we introduce the idea of the Compound Effect, most people hear about this in regard to their financial life. The story that says if you invest money in an interest bearing account, the younger you start the more money you will have in the end. It even holds true if your peer waits 10 years longer than you to start investing and like you decides to only invest for 10 years. You will have a larger balance at the end of a 30 year period, even if you guys invested the same amount of money during your 10 year investing period. This difference is due to the Compound Effect. For the first 10 years you will be earning interest, as long as you keep the interest in your account you will be earning interest on your interest. Therefore your money will be making money for 10 years longer than your buddy. Hence the Compound Effect.
Now clearly this is not a financial blog nor am I a financial adviser of any kind. But this theory crosses over into health and wellness, a topic I do know a little about. Here is my example...
Let's say that you want to change your life but your aren't sure where to start. You decide to take the “something is better than nothing” approach. So you decide to evaluate your daily routine and look at your daily habit of going to Starbucks and grabbing a grande nonfat chai tea latte. You believe this to be a good choice each day because it is tea and you get it with nonfat milk and you also looked it up one time and found out that it is only 210 calories, so yay for you. But today you think maybe it is not as good as you think. You soon discover that your daily 16 ounce beverage contains 43 grams of sugar. HOLY SUGAR!! That is a lot of sugar for one drink, a 12 ounces can of soda has 33 grams of sugar. So when it comes to sugar, you would be better off drinking a soda every day, you would be saving at least 10 grams of sugar a day. By no means do I really think you should switch to drinking soda everyday, just trying to prove a point. I do think this would be a good place to start, your coffee choice, when it comes to making a “small change”.
Next time you go to Starbucks order a 16 ounce Blonde Roast coffee, it is a little lighter than their standard coffee. Make sure to ask for “room” so you can add some half and half and two packets of sugar. These two packets of sugar will amount to about 8 grams of sugar, the coffee itself contains zero sugar and the half and half has almost no sugar as well. You will be saving yourself about 35 grams of sugar each day. That is a ton of sugar. Let's say you only go on weekdays, that is a savings of 175 grams of sugar a week, 700 grams of sugar a month and roughly 9,100 grams of sugar a year. THAT IS AN ASTONISHING 20 POUNDS OF SUGAR A YEAR!! Next time you are at the grocery store, go see what 20 pounds of sugar looks like. Now try telling me that if you removed 20 pounds of sugar from your diet every year it wouldn't have a profound impact on your weight and overall health.
This is a perfect example of the basic Compound Effect. But it doesn't stop there. As soon as you start losing weight and feeling better overall it will trickle over into other aspects of your life. You will probably start having more energy, being more productive at work, happier at home and be more motivated to make other changes that will further benefit a healthy lifestyle. This may motivate you to start going for a walk every night or adding a strength training workout in a couple times a week. All of these other changes will continue to compound the benefits of that little original decision. Remember that decision to change your coffee drink in the morning, the ONE thing you changed about your daily routine!!
My challenge to you is to find that one thing that you can change tomorrow to help you get closer to your health and wellness goals. Remember, just start with one thing and let the Compound Effect work for you.