“Doing the things you don’t have to do will always determine the difference when it’s too late to do anything about it.” Jackie B. Cooper

I may get fired for telling this story, but the life lesson is so valuable…

I had a guy in my office today to pay his bill. I asked if he wanted to round up to the nearest dollar and with a glare in his eye, he said “NO WAY”! “My mom taught me to never pay more than what is due.”

While I can appreciate the advice of a parent, I would have to say there is a reason this gentleman is right where he is… I have heard him blame everyone else for his situation, but never himself. The idea of not putting in the extra couple pennies toward a payment is absurd to me and against every concept I have read about over the past several years. In fact, it is why I put in the extra effort no matter how small it may seem right now because I know it will eventually compound over time.

If you don’t think just a tiny bit of effort adds up, let me persuade you right now. These are a few areas I have COMPLETELY transformed my life and how my little extra effort compounded over time.

  1. Cut out 125 calories a day. Cut out just one small snack a day. To this day, I struggle with cutting out a small snack. But I still work on it everyday. It might be first thing in the morning or late at night. It may be just cutting your snack in half. If you do this for a month, you probably won’t notice and it’s possible you’d stop because you aren’t seeing the results… Do it for a year though and you would have saved yourself about 15 pounds! Yeah, this one small step would make a big difference over 1 year if taken with persistence.
  1. Add 125 calories of exercise per day. Take a walk and nothing else. You don’t have to go do a 5 hour workout to make a big difference. Add your mile walk to the eating less and you’ve now saved yourself 30 pounds over the next 12 months. Let me tell you something else. There will be a time in about 4-6 weeks when you start walking longer just because you can. You will start to realize you have more energy throughout the day and you will start parking your car farther away and you’ll start enjoying other activities. Don’t underestimate the power of a short walk. Start where you are and move to where you can go!
  1. Set your alarm 5 minutes earlier. I have not always been an early riser. I used to sleep in until noon every chance I could (which was pretty much everyday). When I decided to make my life change, I knew I had to wake up earlier. I also knew if I moved my alarm clock by 3 hours, I would fall flat on my face in about 3 days… So, I started moving it back 5 minutes every week for years… It took me a long time to change my thoughts about mornings and even longer to change my actions. But, now I wake up almost every day at 3:15 am so I can get moving toward my goals. Don’t underestimate small changes and what they can do for you!!!
  1. Spend 10 minutes at the gym. Not only have I been willing to spend 10 minutes rather than zero minutes at the gym, I would sometimes oversleep and drag myself all the way across town to sit in my car (and not workout) just so I could get in the habit of getting out of bed and driving across town. The habit of talking myself out of bed is by far the number one reason I am where I am. I have ingrained this habit into my head so deep, I feel like a crazy person… If I don’t workout when I’m supposed to I get moody and have a strong desire to run and release my energy. Most people have a problem getting their mind in a place to workout. Me, I could mentally workout all day long, it’s my body that I have to be careful with… I have a really hard time balancing my mental fitness with my physical limitations… Don’t worry, I’m working on it a little at a time. 😉
  1. Always go OVER your mileage, even when it’s just .1 mile over. Think about it, .1 mile times 10 runs is an extra mile. Do that for 12 months and you have just added 12 miles to your year. Add .2 and you just doubled your mileage. I hope you can see how just a little extra effort each time can add up over time! There’s a lot of times we’ll be running and get to .2 and say “we can get to .5” and when we get there we say “let’s just go to the next mile”. When you’re tired and beat up and you can talk yourself into going just a little farther, you’ll build a mental toughness that will come in handy when you need to dig deep and find inner strength during your next tough run!

Let this be a lesson whether we’re talking about business, fitness, family or life in general. Always, and I mean always put in a little more than what is due. Always do more than what is expected. Always work harder on yourself and your future than what you think it will take to just get by. You can pay compound interest or let interest compound for you- one makes you a product of circumstance and one puts you in control of your future. Run Epic my friends!

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… he who doesn’t… pays it.” Albert Einstein

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