How to achieve your goals with least effort

Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it ... he who doesn't ... pays it.

- Albert Einstein.

The power of compounding is the most repeated, overused, abused financial term written all over the internet. Yet we do not seen to understand it's importance and its effects in life.

Many just roll their eyes at it's mention, and I won't blame you. Compounding doesn't stick very much in our mind. The sense of urgency created by the word is barely existential.

But keep reading, it won't be boring.

One day at a time - starting small

At the dawn of 2016 I received a mail from duo lingo. Yes you got it, the app that lets you learn languages.

I had long time back signed up on Duolingo and didn't care to take a single lesson.

The caption in the email said something similar to, "learn a language this 2016".

I was full of hopes for the new year and decided to give it a try.

I downloaded the app and selected Spanish as it was my favourite romance language. I had learnt French at school so I had an interest in romance languages.

While I configured the initial settings on the app, Duo asked me whether I liked to go casual or aggressive with my learning.

Duolingo 63 day streak - Consistent effort
Duolingo 63 day streak - Consistent effort

I decided to be lazy and go with the casual. That was the best decision I took on new years eve, for learning Spanish at least.

Starting from January 1 2016, I have been on a perfect streak.

Here is a screenshot from the Duolingo app telling me my current streak. I do not know whether I can continue to maintain this streak, but I'll keep giving it a try.

There were days when I got enthusiastic for no reason and did more than one lesson. Some days I did 10 lessons, though those days were rare.

Forget compounding - Here is how you achieve like a badass


The power of compounding stems from a very simple rule.

The rule of consistency.

You don't have to raise a finger with regards to compounding. Just be consistent and compounding takes care of itself.

But there is one caveat.

You need to track your consistency.

The tracking is required for two reasons.

One. It serves as a feedback loop and tells you in a quantifiable number, the amount of effort you have put in. This in turn will justify the your futures efforts and offer a feedback loop of successive progress.

Two. You can absolutely be sure that you are actually consistent and correct course in case you are slipping.

Tracking in the modern world is simple. There are a lot of habit formation helping apps in app stores. Use them. I might later do a review of the app I use to remind me to write a 1000 words a day.

Duolingo reminds me everyday to complete a lesson via a simple notification and it is from duo that I got to know this conditioned response of mine.

Track habits/ goals at least at their start. Once you integrate it into a part of your life, you can let go of the tracking. You can brush everyday without tracking right?

A word about tracking your habits: make it simple. You don't want to be doing the tracking as a separate job in itself. Just let any of the habit apps (available in appstores /playstorres/ any store for your smartphone) do the tracking for you. Minimal work, maximum visibility is what you want.

Be impatient with your consistency

The wisest are the most annoyed at the loss of time.”
― Dante Alighieri

There were days when I couldn't go to sleep because I didn't complete a thousand words or complete a lesson with Duo.

As a result I have grown impatient with keeping up my consistency. That means that I can't wait to complete the days routine. The earlier I complete, the better I feel.

These days I start early as soon as I have finished brushing. Sometimes before. It's the feeling of high I get about finishing something first thing in the morning, that keeps me doing this over and over.

And that should be the feeling you'll get once you start with a well documented consistent habit.


Let go of lost days

Don't be so hard on yourself.

You got to be the one managing goals, not the other way around.

If you had for some reason didn't get to complete a task start over. May be compensate by doing a little extra the next day or the next month if it's a monthly routine.

Be consistently consistent

In short,
Start small but start.
Keep small but keep doing.
Miss small but make it up.
And finally, do small but get big.

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