Compounding Behavior

The power of compounding interest for habits. Many of us know about the power of compounding interest when it comes to our finances. Oddly enough, our habits work in this same seemingly magical way. This can be a great thing or a not so great thing depending on what your habits are. The more time spent doing anything the more it compounds. At first, we may not notice the effects because they are so small. Year one it may be so minute you don’t notice, you may think you are staying the same. Year two, you notice a slight difference. Year three and you notice a substantial difference. Do you want this difference to be one you are happy about finally noticing or kind of bummed out about it? Often times many of us are so short-sighted when it comes to our actions, which usually leads us down the path of instant gratification. Usually, the easy choice to make is not the best choice to make. This makes the future not as pleasant as we would hope because we left it up to hope and that’s not how life works.

Life is about actions and consequences whether good or bad to those actions. Every action has an equal or opposite reaction as Newton once said. So if your actions, according to nature, will lead you down one path don’t be surprised when you end up miles down that path. Leaving things up to hope leaves us with zero power. Remember the quickest way to lose power is thinking you don’t have any. Sayings like ugh I used to be able to eat anything when I was younger and “not gain weight”, I used to be so much more flexible when I was younger and so on may be true statements to a certain extent. However, both of these statements are usually an example of compounding interests on behavior. Time. Time can either be our enemy or best friend. Usually, we haven’t given enough time to see the result of our behaviors. Eating whatever when we were younger and habitually doing so for years will eventually show you what nature rewards for that behavior. But most people chalk it up to being older. There is no responsibility for blaming it on age. If you want to change you must take ownership of the behavior.

The good news. Healthy behaviors work the same as unhealthy behaviors. If you make a conscious effort to change your unhealthy habits little by little to healthier habits you can see a great deal of change. In the same way, you didn’t notice the effects of the negative habits for years, this may be the case for healthy habits as well. There is a known and an unknown as far as experiences go. You know where your past 5-10 years of habits have placed you. You can guarantee if those behaviors continue, the interests will continue to compound in that direction. The unknown is when the fruits of your new labor will show up or what the results will look like. This is a mystery that takes a grave amount of patience. Lucky for us, if we really don’t want our current situation, we have no choice but to change. Right?

Remember guilt is an emotion most people do not deal with well. Do not try to guilt yourself into changing. It probably won’t work and you will just feel kinda lousy. Instead, accept your current situation as the one you chose to be in, and now you are choosing to be in a different situation. Nothing wrong with where you are but know that you have the power to change if you choose to. Your behaviors are not you, you are separate from your behaviors.