How to Use Small Decisions as Leverage

by Rachel Miller

June 21, 2022

ABOVE :Emmanual Thomas

The small choices are easy to ignore. They’re innocent; it feels like they don’t matter: those 5 extra minutes, that small extra scoop, to not follow through “just this one time.”


  • Every decision matters because it leads to the next. It either primes or hinders what you want to achieve.

  • Your small decision now, primes you to continue to make more of the same choices later:
    • Choose to hold back on your small commitment now, and it’s harder to follow through on your commitment later.
    • Choose to stick to your small commitments to yourself–10 minute break, 1 slice of cake–and it’s easier to follow through on your greater commitments later.
    • Choose to gratify the craving for X and you’ll continue to desire X tomorrow—and the day after that. Likewise, choose to defer the desire for X, it is easier to continue the same tomorrow.

  • Use your small commitments as leverage.
    • Tell yourself, “5 minutes” and stick to those 5 minutes.
    • Use each small decision as an opportunity to practice following through to make it easier to do what you want later. So later, when you have the thought of “oh, just this once” or “just a little won’t hurt,” it’s easier to follow through and not give up or give in, because you’ve practised and primed that action.
    • It’s easier to maintain your meaningful commitments when you’ve maintained the small ones all day.

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