It sure feels good to pinpoint that one key component that turns the whole tide.
Is it getting to sleep early? Or drinking copious amount of water? Taking time to smell the roses? Or how about doing the toughest task on the to-do list first?
What I’ve seen in the lives of my Life Coaching clients – and yes, most of them are teenagers, so the sample is a bit skewed – is that it often takes just one change to have a domino effect on two or three other habits.
It’s as if there is a subtle yet powerful cascade of decisions and actions that happen in quick succession.
Here’s an example.
A student discovers that he has a slight allergy to gluten. When he eats it, he gets sleepy. Not intense. Nothing that would usually get noticed, but something that he catches.
After school, he usually has a snack and then, feeling tired, takes a nap for an hour. He wakes up in time to dinner, but he’s lost the opportunity to spend time with his dad to go over his math.
His math grade suffers.
But then he changes one thing. He doesn’t eat a snack with wheat.
He’s able to start studying by 4:45, rather than after dinner.
He’s able to have his dad help.
He starts to get to bed earlier too. Not by much, maybe 30 minutes.
Fast forward one month later.
He’s taken his high F in math and is now pulling a low C.
There’s a magic in finding that one piece that turns the whole system. Often, it’s just as simple as not eating that little snack. But to find that piece, you have to pay more attention to the feedback you’re getting from the successes and failures of your system.