Something that often comes up when you watch cop shows on TV is the concept of compounding mistakes. You may be familiar with this from watching those types of shows too, or from talking with friends about things that have recently happened in their lives along the lines of “so this person did this, then they did this, and then they did this!” Sometimes it’s one of those really bad days that you just can’t seem to get a break, and it just keeps going further and further down hill. Other times maybe we figure we’re in enough trouble already, there couldn’t possibly be more coming our way or that doing anything else could make it much worse. But the reality is that we absolutely can make things worse on ourselves, and maybe we can’t fix what’s gone wrong thus far, but we can make the choice to stop things from spiraling any further downhill.
So if the answer is unequivocally that yes, things can get worse for you if you don’t take steps to stop the roll, then the opposite is true as well: that you can take steps to compound your success. There’s a weight loss commercial that comes to mind for one of the growing companies in the field, and in the commercial they’ve got people talking about how the program has helped them understand how their brain works and build healthier habits, and how it’s actually helped them not just lose weight but keep the weight off. Whether this company is doing anything truly different from other companies, I don’t know and it’s not really the point, but the reason the commercial really piqued my interest is because of the talk about building good habits, not just habits or making you change things that you don’t really want to change, but adding good things to your life, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to add some good stuff to their life?
You can’t permanently avoid the really bad days, they just come along once in a while. But, you can do something to help yourself have better days more often. Yes, it does start with paying attention so that you see when you’re in a downward spiral, and do something, whatever you can, to stop it. But it’s a lot easier to build on successes than it is to stop a runaway train. So when you do something well, first take a moment to celebrate that. When something goes well for you because you did it a certain way, take note of that for the future (a literal note if necessary). Build at least one guaranteed victory into your schedule each day. Work on adding habits to your life that help you build a healthier, happier, more fulfilling future. Add to things that are good, going well and positively gaining strength. What successes will you build upon today?