There is a lot written about personal development. One of the clearest examples of a method for achieving goals is described in Darren Hardy’s book The Compound Effect. The premise is that it’s not the big huge moves that you make every once in while but instead it’s the small daily habits which have the most profound effect on your life.
The little actions we take (or don’t take) day after day, week in and week out, month after month over a period of years add up. For good or bad we tend to be the result of the choices we make over our lifetime. I choose to make an effort to be aware of those decisions and be conscious of what long term effects my habits may have.
I’ve made some very poor choices and I’ve made some pretty good ones, but when I step back and take note of what results I’m getting, the evidence is overwhelming.
When I, daily, commit to a regular action (for example: physical exercise for 30 minutes each morning 3 days a week or writing 4 measures of lead sheet 5 days a week) I invariably reap a predictable result. When I exercise, I feel better physically and am less prone to injury. When I write musical ideas (lead sheet measures) I complete songs.
However, when I neglect to maintain beneficial disciplines or do stuff like drink to excess and/or treat people with less respect than they deserve, disaster inevitably follows.
The thing is: the pay-off (or problem) is not always immediate. So a certain amount of faith mixed with common sense needs to be applied.