How Small Changes Make Big Differences


Until one is committed there’s hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative, and creation, there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans:

The moment one definitely commits oneself then Providence moves, too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events come from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no one could have dreamt would come his or her way.

I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s concepts:

Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, Begin It. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”

—W.H. Murray

Once I gave over to truly committing myself to my choices, to my decisions, to my countless ideas, Providence has never failed me.

Boldness truly, deeply, really has genius, power, and magic in it. Especially when you surrender your attachment to the outcome.

Yoga is my daily practice of non-attachment. It helps me partner with my ego rather than succumb to the drama of doubt and fear which my ego is an expert at creating. My ego wants to protect me from shame and failure.

My ego wants to stop me from doing anything it perceives as dangerous so if it catches me hesitating, you can bet I’m sitting my ass back on the couch and doing nothing. Nada. Ego breathes a sigh of relief and goes back to sleep.

My soul and deepest desires want me to be full in, committed to my acts of initiative and creation. So it’s critical that I act or speak up before I hesitate. And the way I trick myself into bold, creative action is to tell myself “it’s an experiment.”

Ever since I started experimenting with this concept, magic started. Every time I commit myself to a course of action or an idea, amazing things happen.

Mel Robbins talks about this concept in this must watch interview on The 5 Second Rule. And no, it’s not about eating food that’s dropped to the floor.

Seriously, I had no idea that scientific research has actually been done on when one takes action before hesitation sets in. Like Mel, I thought this was my little secret. What I didn’t know was the science behind shaking up my own habit loops.

Obviously Mr. Murray knew all about this, too. Otherwise, he never would have attempted to summit Mt. Everest.

We don’t have to attempt massive undertakings like climbing Mt. Everest. Sometimes our most massive shifts happen when we tackle the mundane and the ordinary. For Mel Robbins, it started with not hitting the snooze button.

Four years ago I made a shift that made a huge difference: I started waking up an hour earlier every morning. I went from lying to myself that I’d go to the gym after work or that I’d write a novel after work or that I would <insert some lofty aspiration> to actually getting shit done BEFORE I went to work.

  • I co-authored 5 Amazon Best selling books.
  • I self-published an Amazon best selling book of poetry.
  • I practiced yoga every damn day. (Still do)
  • My morning time has become my starting trigger to ground and center myself, before the demands of the day come rushing in.

The first two weeks sucked. Transitioning from night owl to a morning lark made me sleep deprived. Not only was I changing how I did my mornings but I was also changing my night time behavior. A few days of sleep deprivation were worth it.

4 years later, my morning routine continues to evolve. I’ve recently added teaching two yoga classes a week. Bright and early, before I go to work.

I use my morning time to create art or work on a crochet project.

I guard this time like a mama bear guards her cubs.

And I’m about to experiment with way bigger things than getting up an hour or two earlier. Now that waking up when others are hitting the snooze button is a routine loop, it’s time for me to shake up my small experiments. My brain sees these experiments as safe.

Keep an eye out for something bigger here. And hold me to it.

Meanwhile, what small changes have you made that have made a big difference in your life?

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Author: Peggy Nolan

Writer. Quote Junkie. Photographer. Yogini. Black Belt.

12 thoughts on “How Small Changes Make Big Differences”

  1. I am a big fan of that Goethe quote too, Peggy. I love that you are still committed to the changes you made 4 years ago and now see it’s time to shift some more. This is an inspiring post and I can’t wait to see what’s coming next for you.

  2. Beautiful post Peggy, it so resonates with me.
    I have had to incorporate small changes in my life as well and am loving the difference it makes. One of the most recent is walking 10.000steps daily. It has been an amazing experience and I am looking forward to taking it a step further.

  3. Wow Peggy, I really needed to read this blog today! The line above, “Until one is committed there’s hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness,” really resonated with me like a lightening bolt. I am reflecting on what it looks like to be really committed in my life. I have committed myself to many things and feel like I go all in but I wonder if being committed to many things limits my ability to be all in. Thank you for the inspiration to dig deeper and reflect. I love your decision to wake up earlier and the gifts that have unfolded as a result!

  4. All juicy-juicy information! Learned lots and will read more about the 5-Second Rule and Mel Robbin’s work. Going to do this for sure, “Keep an eye out for something bigger here. And hold me to it.” A HUGE WHALE’S EYE!

  5. I am such a believer in small tiny steps, they truly make all the difference. In my practice I teach women the importance of focusing on the one small thing they can do instead of all the ways they feel stuck. Works like a charm! Some of my small steps has been double the vegetables, do just one yoga pose, morning meditation and pranayama before I get out of bed.

  6. “Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, Begin It. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” —W.H. Murray
    I love this, and I found your post inspiring Peggy and am going to look at what I can change and implement it.

  7. You are inspiring Peggy! Intention, commitment and follow through are key to success in all we aspire to. I am more of a night gal and need to work on starting my day earlier. I think the shift is good and creates discipline…and some grouchy mornings! Yoga is always wondrous in the mornings. Love the quotes!

  8. Wonderful post! I love the fact that you are walking your talk, and observing the results. And, that you want MORE. We are always making choices, but our actions ground those choices. I am so glad that you have found this process and your own willingness to make the life changes necessary.

  9. I love this quote: “Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, Begin It. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” This post really resonates with me. I used to struggle with getting up in the morning. Then I found my light and my passion. I started a spiritual website and facebook page. My goal was to write an inspiring message each day, whether it be through my oracle cards or something else. I have such a deep connection and found how much wisdom I have inside me that I can share with the world. I opened up. I started getting up earlier. I looked forward to each morning and writing those posts. I love assisting and inspiring others. In turn it makes me feel really good about myself.

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