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Small Habits. Big Changes. Motivational Monday

BEAR Nation,

It’s good to be back and lifting others again.  I have a feeling you’re going to love this Motivational Monday!  Let me hear from you, if you’re still out there!  I love two things…collaboration and feedback.  So bring it on – speak up like a BEAR!!  ROAR!!


In his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg says implementing so-called keystone habits can help earn billions and mean the difference between failure and success, life and death. Tony Robbins says happiness and success comes from “progress” and that our results from that progress come from our rituals – or daily habits.  If we are seeking more happiness, we can’t look for the big events.  We have to look at our daily habits and routines and make incremental changes that, in return, make a major difference in our life.  Small Habits. Big Changes.

We all have areas of our life we want to improve.  From eating healthier, losing weight, getting more sleep and so on.  But we have to be careful.  According to Dr. Kelly McGonigal, author of the incredible book, The Willpower Instinct, if we try to change too many things at once, we are at risk of willpower overload and often get discouraged, quit and don’t change anything.

So how do we create positive habits and enhance happiness in 30 mins?  It’s called the Ripple Effect.

Ripple Effect:

Knowing that if I tried to change too much at once I would not change anything, I decided to focus Snip20150201_4on just one habit.  Something I could start that would have the greatest ripple effect.

A ripple effect is defined as an effect from an initial state that can be followed outwards incrementally.

I decided to begin working out for 30 minutes a day.  And because it has the ripple effect of more energy, I decided to do it first thing in the morning to maximize the effect.  As a result of just 30 minutes of exercising first thing in the morning, I experience less cravings, weight loss, more sleep, and studies show that exercise leads to increased levels of productivity, happiness and overall health!

So, the trick is to do one thing that will make the greatest impact and create ripple habits automatically.   Here’s a simple process you can follow this week:

1. List possible habits:

List out everything you want to change or incorporate into your life.  Keep this part general, focus on quantity over quality.  Go!

  •  Examples include:
    • Run every day
    • Eat less
    • Sleep more
    • Cut down on portions
    • Read every day
    • Spend more time with family


2.  Prioritize your habits based on highest ripple effect

I.e. if you add this one habit to your routine, it would automatically impact/cause you to do the others.  We are looking for minimal willpower effort with maximum life changing results (aka ripple effect).

3. Get very specific about your highest “Ripple Effect” habit

Write it out as if you’ve already been doing it for a year.

  • Example:
    • I run 30 mins each morning.  I set my alarm for 5:30am and when it goes off I don’t hit the snooze button, I get up right away.  I give myself 8 mins to get dressed, put my contacts in, use the restroom, get my phone and headphones and get out the door.  I turn on my audible just before leaving and go.
  • Writing out these specifics help give you structure and identify the potential ripple effects (you can see in my example above, that some ripple effects include:  getting up earlier, being more efficient with my time, catching up on my audio book lessons!).

4. Commit to doing the new activity for a week

Being hyper aware of the ripple effect on your usual routines.


5. Evaluate the results.

After 7 days, sit down and take stock of what you’ve done.  Here are a few tips to help you find early sustainable success.

  • Didn’t follow your routine for a day or two? No problem! Research shows that being compassionate with yourself when starting a new habit is critical to your success. So chalk it up as a loss and live to fight another day.  Case in point:
    • My first day, I hit the snooze button, woke up at 6:30 instead, didn’t go running and woke up my wife in the process – big mistake.  The next 6 days I nailed it!!
  • Keep the end in mind: why are you adding this routine to your life and what are the consequences if you don’t? What are the benefits if you do?!


We are all looking for an ounce more of happiness.  Life is all about millimeters, defined by the simple habits we execute every day.  It’s time to take control and live life as BEARs.  Follow these simple steps to create one habit that will intentionally make a strong positive shift in your life.

Stop living life as a bunny.  Wake up and be the BEAR!

Spread the word.  One simple step at a time!  ROAR!!!

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