Small changes will make a huge difference in your life. Sounds too good to be true? Give me 5 Minutes and I’ll convince you.
Let’s start with numbers. Imagine you improve yourself by 1% every single day for one year.
Doesn’t sound impossible, right?
Not worth it either? Oh, you couldn’t be more wrong!
If you improve yourself every day by 1% at the end of the year you will be 37.78 times better than at the beginning of the year. On the downside, if you get 1% worse every day, you are very close to 0 at the end of a year.
So now that we have the math out of the way, what is the practical benefit of this?
When I have a burst of motivation I usually want to change everything in my life. I think “now is my time” and act like a super-human for 2-3 days (at best…). Then a small setback happens and before I know it, I’m back to the start.
Intuitively it seems that we need to change big things in order to achieve big things. But that is not true.
As you saw above, small consistent changes will make a huge difference Already in 1 year.
So let us start small.
Better Small But Done
You might realize that this is my first blog article written by myself in over 6 months. When I took a break because of my health I hoped to come back soon and create these super-long amazing articles.
In a way, I wanted to over-compensate for the missed articles.
I’m trying to write an article on my traumatic brain injury for over 3 months. “It must be super-detailed and perfect” I’m telling myself. Also because I’m rusty, I’m not getting anywhere with that article.
I also announced to write an article about my experience as a Coach at the European Club Cup. There is so much to write about that I didn’t even start…
So when I re-read “Atomic Habits” by James Clear I had an idea: why not start with a small article?
Not every article needs to be 5000 words long.
And here you are, it is 10 Minutes since I took the decision to write this article and it feels like I’m making some progress.
Even if I don’t manage to finish the article in one go, I took action. And if I continue tomorrow, I will finish at some point.
Small Chess Habits – Big Rating Gains
Now you might think “Noël, this is a chess improvement blog, I don’t care how you write your articles, just tell me how to improve!”.
OK, you are right, Now that you got the principle, let’s talk about chess.
Have you ever felt that a short study time does not make a difference at all?
Maybe you didn’t study the whole week and then you sit down on Sunday to solve some tactics. When facing the first tough position a thought comes to mind
“does it even matter? Anyway it doesn’t make a difference, let me just watch some entertaining video”.
In a way, you are right. This singular session does not make a huge difference. If you took a test before and after the sessions the differences (if any) would be negligible.
But the sum of all these sessions makes a difference after a month, a year, or a decade!
The key is to start with something manageable and then build up a good chess routine. The process happens over time.
That friend who “suddenly” got much stronger in chess? Every time you decide to lazily watch a video they take 15 Minutes to solve some Tactics.
Small changes – big differences (over time!).
Ideas For Your Chess Training
Many Readers have a busy life. Work, Relationships & maybe even kids. I get it.
You won’t suddenly have several hours per day to study chess. But the beauty is: you don’t need such big changes. Consistency is key.
How about starting with 30 Minutes per week. That should be easy. If you do that consistently, this will be 25 hours of good chess study over the year.
Not so bad!
Want more? OK. But only slowly.
If you add 10 Minutes every week, you will already study 1.5 hours weekly by Christmas. One year from now you will be close to 10 hours of chess study per week.
All this by just adding 10 Minutes every week. That is only a little more than 1 Minute per day!
Just like watching your hair grow, you won’t see (or feel!) any difference on a day-to-day basis. But if you show up a year from now at your club tournament, everyone will see the bush on top of your head…
And be impressed by your “sudden” chess improvement.
Here’s to small changes with a huge impact on your lives.
Take Action. Now.
PS: If you want to learn more about how you can get the best out of every minute you train chess, then my new course “Next Level Training” is perfect for you! Learn more here.
Thanks for the article, Noel!
I feel slightly stronger and wiser with each one of your articles.
I am 41 year-old, married, with two lovely kids and a full time job.
But I´m still trying to make progress in chess even though my Fide rating is stationary around 2050 for the last 20 years.
In a certain way, the journey is more important than the goal itself, but I still know that I am always learning and that a small leap forward is always possible.
And your articles are a big motivation for me.
I wish you success in treating your injury and I hope you can still contribute with many articles, because they are very inspirational to me.
Thanks for that.
Hey Daniel, thanks for the nice words. Really appreciate you taking the time to write such a kind message.
I 100% agree that the journey is more important than the goal. Paradoxically, once we focus on the journey, the results also get better over time.
Glad to read that my articles help. Doing my best to get more of them out.
All the best with your chess journey & your private life.