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4 takeaway lessons from Steven Handel’s “Small habits, big changes”

Steven Handel begins with an engaging introduction as to why we actually need to think smaller for self-improvement as opposed to thinking big and setting unrealistic, drastic goals and making big changes that we rarely stick to in the long term. Well, we are all human, and at some point, it gets exhausting, we burn out from these drastic changes and resort again to our past habits.

Steven re-iterates on the importance of thinking long term and how taking small steps to our goals makes our goals even more realistic. It could be anything, from small changes in our diets to reading a little every day!

A number of people I know have got rid of unhealthy habits by making small changes and using healthier replacements, like replacing sodas with water, incorporating positive affirmations into their daily routines, adding mood boosting activities such as walking a little every day and then gradually increasing that over time, small habits like this go far and work long term… Ah, the magic words of this book; Long term… in other words, sustainable! That’s the goal of this book, to help you make small changes in everyday habits that in turn become the norm, resulting in continuous self-development and a sustainable, efficient life.

The purpose here is to experiment and see what suits you best, have an open mind and be open to trying new things!

All in all, this book gives the reader compelling direction on how to get a “Handel” on life (next book title Steven??).

Here are my key takeaway lessons from this book that you may benefit from too:

1. Having a morning and night time routine is beneficial

We all know how important it is to start the day on the right foot (not literally). In this book, Steven delivers a practical and minimal way to make changes to your morning and evening routines using a simple guided exercise to add activities to stimulate your mind and your body for both your night routine as well as your morning routine. He encourages beginning your mornings with a 45 minute exercise or stretching and affirmations, and ending the night with a stretch, calming meditation or reading a few pages of your book before going to bed.

2. Practice exercises to connect with your future self

Connecting with your future self enables you to put things into perspective currently and understand if you are taking those steps or making those changes to where or who you aspire to be in the future. Steven encourages writing a letter from your present self to your future self as a way to measure your goals, thank yourself, and hey, it doesn’t hurt to write to remind yourself how brilliant you really are! I wrote a letter to my future self-using Futureme , you can pick to receive the email in 1,3 or 5 years.

Another exercise Steven suggested was visualising your present self as your future self and getting into those habits now!

3. Set SMART goals

Just like you would in any business, setting Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based goals works with your personal life too!

It all deduces to being able to measure your success in the given time frame. SMART goals keep you focused and logical too.

4. Every little counts

This by far was one of the most crucial points for me, it helped shape my day-to-day routines and helped me to incorporate activities I wouldn’t so easily. For instance, writing a blog post… sometimes I just couldn’t get myself to sit down and write but having this in my mind helped me focus and understand that any sentence I wrote, any reading or research I did, would get me one step closer to completing a post. At the end of the day, it's all about taking little steps to attain your goals and having an "every little counts" mindset, makes it that much easier.

About Steven Handel

Steven Handel is best known for his coaching and popular self-improvement website The Emotion Machine , started in 2009 , comprising of over 500 articles based on emotional intelligence, mindfulness and psychology. “Small habits, big changes” is Steven’s first book published in 2018.

Have you read "Small habits, big changes"? what were your key takeaways ?

Let me know in the comments below!

NB: This section may contain affiliate links for products and services I recommend. If you make a purchase through these links, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission.

You can purchase "Small habits, big changes" on Amazon using this link.


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