Do Less, Achieve More

Well, it is January, so it is the time of year where we all (well many of us – even if we don’t admit it) make some resolutions and it is the time when blogs and news articles are full of hints and tips on how to achieve those resolutions.

I have been writing this blog for 10 years, and most years I have written about how to help you achieve your goals, but the one thing I have never written about it is doing less…

I came across the idea that doing more doesn’t necessarily mean you will get more done in my early 20’s. I have always been on the slimmer (some, less charitable, people may say skinny) side and, in my early 20’s, I was heavily involved in Thai Boxing. I decided it may be useful to bulk up a bit, not become a huge body builder, but put on a bit of muscle. I was a classic “hard gainer” (someone who finds it hard to build muscle easily), so I was hitting the weights every day and not seeing any gains. Frustrated, I started researching the area and came across the book “Brawn” by Stuart McRobert, who suggested that, if you are not getting the results you want, you should do less workouts not more. So I cut back to two simple workouts a week and in a month or so had piled on a stone in muscle (of course other things are important to, but this isn’t a body building blog – if you are interested read the book!). Nowadays I have embraced my lithe physique and just do Yoga, but that is a different topic…

I realised that doing more doesn’t guarantee more, or better, results.

This idea has become a guiding principle of mine, whether that is making personal changes or working with clients. I have written how NLP is not about grand operatic interventions here before, and how finding the “minimum effective dose” is much more powerful.

And no more is it important than when we are wanting to makes changes in our lives. We tend to try and do massive shifts all at once, trying to do too much at the same time. This tends to be counter productive; it overwhelms us and wears us out.

Tiny changes, extrapolated over time, make massive differences. It is consistency that is the key, not how much you do all in one go. Spending 10-15 minutes a day, every day, on learning a new skill will create much larger gains than an hour on it once a week (or when you remember!). It is easier to find the time and easier to motivate yourself.

So, with any change you want to make, experiment on what the minimum is you need to do to get there.