It’s surprising how much we can overcomplicate the idea of change. You know the drill: you make a big resolution or set an unrealistic expectation and soon find yourself entirely overwhelmed and deflated when you don’t achieve your goal.
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It’s a self-defeating experience where you make something too big or too complex to be attainable, and as a result, set yourself up for failure.
The thing about change is it doesn’t have to be all-encompassing. You don’t have to alter a lot of things at one time to achieve an outcome.
Instead, you can take small actions that unleash the domino effect, and make no mistake, it’s a far more successful approach than many would have you believe.
What is the domino effect?
The domino effect states that when you make a change to one behaviour, it will activate a chain reaction and cause a shift in related behaviours as well.
For example, whenever you make your bed in the morning, you may follow through with stacking the breakfast dishes in the dishwasher instead of leaving them out.
The first positive behaviour often leads to another, or several others, and there’s good reason this occurs.
Why it works
The domino effect works because actioning good behaviour tends to make you feel better, more controlled, and therefore more motivated to continue the positive actions.
In other words, the first activity creates momentum. You feel such a sense of achievement so you then undertake further actions that allow that momentum to continue.
It’s also attainable. Rather than involving a big, overwhelming task where you list and tackle all behaviours in one hit, you begin with the one that will kick-start the chain reaction.
Your goal is to simply complete that first activity, in the knowledge it will lead to more positive actions as a result.
How the domino effect applies at work
There are lots of ways to apply the domino effect when it comes to your work environment.
For example, getting to the office early and starting with the “must do” list will likely result in a more productive and effective day’s work.
Or perhaps you set the alarm an hour early and do some exercise to clear your head for the day, or maybe you kick-start the morning with those prospecting calls that you might otherwise be tempted to put off.
You dive in, get it done, and then everything after that seems easier. Why? Because it’s natural to feel more motivated when we don’t want to let an initial positive behaviour go to waste.
Importantly, the domino effect may not only trigger sequential behaviours but it can also amplify the impact of those subsequent activities. Each encourages us to do better and better.
It also works the other way
As one would anticipate, the domino effect also applies to negative behaviours.
For example, if you snooze your alarm in the first instance, it’s likely to result in subsequent snoozing. That’s then likely to result in you running late or having a rushed start to the day.
There’s then every chance the domino effect would continue for the balance of the day. It’s something to keep in mind as your finger lingers over that snooze button!
Where the domino effect has the greatest impact
The domino effect has the greatest impact, positive or negative, by the way we start each day.
It begins with our morning routine and those initial activities that can either set us up for a day of success or conversely a day of stress.
Hence the saying, “You conquer your day by first conquering your morning”.
The upshot? Don’t overcomplicate the idea of change. Start your day with the simple positive activities that allow you to unleash the domino effect and create true momentum.
Manos Findikakis is the CEO of Agents’Agency.
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