78. Small things that can change your whole life (the compound effect)

Do small things has changed my whole life. 

Today I’m sharing how motherhood really brought me face to face with my own neediness and limiting beliefs that everything and everyone else was causing me problems. 

Becoming self-aware of how I had brought myself to this point in my own life made me realize I can’t be my own solution. 

I needed God. I met God in my neediness and he showed me some hard truths on what needed changing. 

Because I didn’t want to stay where I was, on autopilot. There was a lot of victimhood and resent and anxiety and poor health where I was – if I stayed there and kept the status quo I could see that my life in 2 . . . 5 . . . 10 years was not the life I wanted. 

But this isn’t all a big bummer. I have something that can help you, something I learned on the way in TAKING ACTION to shift my life. 


A concept from Darren Hardy that tells us the little things we do, consistently, have a cumulative impact on our lives. Both the good habits the bad habits – they accumulate as the days pass. 

I will share with you about 10 SMALL THINGS I have worked on over the past 5 years that I feel have made my life so much better, and some of the things I’m working on this year. 

And if you are feeling like you are ready to pick one small thing and start it, I have some question to help you identify what that could be. 

Because our life is like a ship, we need to adjust it’s course a little bit each day so we can end up pretty darn close to our destination. AND REMEMBER, you can only steer a ship that is moving – we need to take ACTION!


(Full episode transcript is at the bottom)

All the fun links to help you learn more . . . 

Homemaker, on Purpose (available from Amazon, or as an eBook)

Are you making motherhood harder than it needs to be (Episode 67 )

What are limiting beliefs and how they impact you (Episode 76)

Showing up for your future self (Episode 21)

Want to make a change, here are three tips to help you get good at it (Episode 70)

The Life on Purpose Workbook (available as a digital copy or from Amazon)

The Live Your Values + Live Your Vision worksheets (you can find both right here)

Apply here to learn more about the Life on Purpose 1:1 Coaching Program 

Spending the month on GRATITUDE in the Facebook Community Group (join here, make sure to answer the entry questions)

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small things that can change your whole life

Hi Friends, it’s Shawna, your nerdy girlfriend and Life coach from simple purpose.ca. Welcome to The Simple on Purpose podcast. This is a place for you. If you are a mum and it just all feels like too much. The clutter, the life, the motherhood, the relationships I’ve been there. These are all signs that we’re living on autopilot. That life is just happening at us rather than us being in our driver’s seat, being proactive. Like I said, I’ve been there. And when I realized that I had living my life on autopilot, I wanted to take control. I wanted to live on purpose. I wanted to take action and build up the life, the home, the relationships, the mindsets that I craved, the one that God made me for, because you are made for more than anxiety and reactivity and victimhood, you are made for more than that. So this podcast is your place.

I aim to keep all these podcasts short and to the point, and to give you tips and ideas and encouragement and insights into simplifying, slowing down and showing up for your life on purpose. So I’m recording this podcast right now in an empty house. What, what my husband took our three kids to his parents’ farm for the weekend. And he had all these chores he wanted to do there. And he said, you can come with me if you want, or you can just stay home. And I was like, let me think about that. Thank you. I’m going to be home. And I’ve been eating poutine in my PJ’s watching TV in the tub at night. I’ve used like five dishes. It’s glorious. I mean, I see the pictures of everyone there together. And I’m like, Oh, I really miss that. But this has been a work weekend for me.

This has been a chance for me to finish something big that I’ve been working on. And that is a book, a workbook to help you in your homemaking. It’s called homemaker on purpose. And this is the book for the person who says, I know what I have to do in my house. Like I know about decluttering. I know about cleaning, but how do I do it? And this is what I life coach on. How do I actually establish habits and routines? And where does willpower play into all of this? And where does the motivation play into all of this? I get asked these questions in so many different forms. So I’m putting them all in one place for you to just go to, yes, I’m clapping my hands. I get so excited about this because this is how I did it. This is how I became someone who did dishes without all the mental drama and who not only decluttered their home, but started organizing their home and then started taking care of their home.

This is how I felt like I got control in my home without overhauling my whole life. And I think this topic is going to also be reflected here in what we talk about today, because I’m going to talk about small things, how small things can change your whole life. I’m going to talk to you in the first part about how I got there, how I got into the situation where I needed to start small things, because maybe you are in a similar situation. And when I was there, I didn’t look for this as a solution, at least not until I was brought to it with some pain and suffering. So I was looking in my prayer book recently, and I have this prayer book that goes back the past 10 years, which shows you how often I write in this prayer book. It’s I started it 10 years ago when I learned I had graves’ disease and we were trying to get pregnant.

And my marriage was so hard and I just started going through this healing process. And prayer was a big part of it. And over the years, I’ve just come back and written prayers in it, process things in it. So I was looking at my prayer book and it was about five years ago. I had some prayers in there. I was at home with two kids, a baby and a toddler. They were born 16 months apart, not planned, but we were fighting so much in our marriage. I was so angry at my husband. I was resentful. I felt trapped in my home in motherhood. I felt restless. I felt overwhelmed. I just wanted to be saved from motherhood. So I’m going to read to you a little part that I wrote in it. March, 2015, I pray that you will speak to my heart on the angst.

I’m feeling clenching my jaw. When I don’t get more than five minutes, all alone, literally I’m overwhelmed by motherhood. I just want to be alone. I just want to get things done. This is just a snapshot of the time in my life where I really met God. Like I wasn’t fully walking with him until I really needed him. And a little bit later, I read something else I had written at that time. Lord only you have the grace to drown me in my own neediness because I had a lot of needs that I was trying to meet with other people and other feelings. And for a long time, I had this verse on my chalkboard. My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness because nothing else felt like enough. Not enough time, not enough patients, not enough sleep, not enough compassion, not enough coffee.

Grace was the only anything left to rely on and God was telling me there’s enough of it for you. So this felt like my best option at the time. This felt like the place I could go to because I knew I just couldn’t stay in the status quo because staying where I was, was going to make my life so much harder in the long run. If I kept the victim mentality of motherhood, then I would never be empowered in being the mom I am. If I kept that level of anxiety and how I showed up in my home and family, then my home would never be that safe and peaceful place. I wanted it to be. If I clung to resentment, then my marriage would have just kept disintegrating. I probably wouldn’t even be married. If I kept wondering why my body wasn’t functioning, how I thought it should.

Like I said, I was struggling with this auto-immune disease. Then I would never decide to take better care of it. If I just kept on doing what I’m doing, the status quo, where was I going to be in two, five, 10 years. It was not somewhere that I actually wanted to go. So motherhood was the, was the turning point. It brought me closer to the grace. I needed from God to relying on him, to letting go of all the control I was trying to have in the situation and focus on the control I had in me. So let’s talk about something that’s not really fun to hear. And over the years I’ve coached myself on it. Coach my clients on this. This is not fun to hear, but where you are right now is directly related to your choices. The actions you have taken, the actions you didn’t take, the habits you have, or don’t have the mindsets you show up with how you’ve talked to yourself, how you’ve talked to others, how you’ve cultivated, love or resentment, how you’ve kept yourself comfortable or how you’ve pushed yourself to grow.

They’ve all created your current life. Yes, of course, with the caveat, there are things out of our control, but we still have the power to choose how we react to it. What we make it mean how we want to handle it. I’m more talking about the things that we are unhappy with things that we feel this tension on, the things that we would like to be a bit different, because there is an opportunity for us here to become more aware of how we’re responsible for it and not to shame because I’ve been there. It sucks to see how your choices brought you to where you are. I really believe we’re all doing the best we can with what we know. And all of this is here for us to learn and grow and not to shame ourselves with because the good news we can change the direction of this ship control of ourself.

That’s the bigger picture. That’s the bigger key to shifting your life because that’s all we really have control over. I’m sorry to report. We don’t have control of our spouses or our kids or our friends or our parents, our siblings, but we do have control over us. So sometimes this means changing the situation. Sometimes this means changing our acceptance and the mindset around it. Sometimes this means using different emotions to motivate ourselves with. And sometimes this means taking a different action. Any of these things will shift our outcome and taking ownership of any circumstances that we voluntarily engage in or our own thoughts, our own feelings, our own actions. They give us ownership of their results. I don’t know about you, but I find that I was really looking at the world as the problem. What happened to me, what others are doing, what’s happening in the world.

And I was trying to make myself the solution. I’m trying to be my own savior, control it, you know, manipulated, um, worry about it, ruminate on it, stress about it, control it some more. I have come over time to view myself not as solution, but more as part of the problem, because the experience I was having in my life was an internal one. It was depending on the story that I told myself, I want my life and how I showed up in it. So I am more the problem than the solution that sucks to hear, right? But God offers a solution. He tells us to be transformed the renewing of our minds in Romans 12. Well, that sounds nice. How do we do it for me? The first step is to pray for self-awareness seeing what we’re doing, what we’re thinking, what we’re feeling, how we’re acting.

I spend more time acknowledging what feels hard for us calling out these limiting beliefs we have. And you can go back and listen to episode 76. If you want a bit more on limiting beliefs, we can offer these up to God. We can ask Him to transform our minds with the truth. He has the solution. He has other ways of approaching this, but we still need to put it into action. Because five years ago, God was sure working on my heart. You know what? The past 10 to five years God was sure working on my heart. I knew that I had to pay attention to the actions that I was going to take from this place. So I put a new quote on my chalkboard, do something today. Your future self will thank you for, and you may remember me talking about future self. In episode 20, I wanted to show up for my future self.

This was a turning point for me in deciding to live my life on purpose. I was on autopilot. Now I want it to be intentional about how I spend my time, my energy, my days, what I’m thinking about, how I’m feeling. So I want to share a concept with you that I read along the way as I was growing my skills in taking action to build up the life that I wanted, it’s called the compound effect. And this is a concept from Darren Hardy’s book. It’s the little things you do on a regular basis, have the biggest impact in the long run. Okay? So like eating one vegetable a day will make me healthier. Decluttering. One drawer a week will give me a simpler home in a year saying one nice thing to my spouse that can have a positive effect on our relationship if I did all year.

But likewise, with the healthy habits, the unhealthy habits can have a compound effect on us. What we’re doing can consistently take us further away from or closer to where we want to be. If I spend that extra $5 a day, I’m going to be worse off at the end of the year. If I just throw my mail into a pile on the floor each day, then at the end of the month, I’m too overwhelmed to even address it. And now I have a paper problem and an identity problem because I’m probably calling myself lazy about it. If I shrug off my husband’s attempts at a hug or a conversation, then I’m slowly tearing down our relationship. I like to think about this as a ship. It has a destination it’s getting to, it’s a long ways away. So every single day we adjust the ship a little bit.

So when it crosses the miles and miles, it’s pretty close to the right spot. The little adjustments matter each day. And remember you cannot steer a ship that is not moving. You need to be taking action. So many moms, I coach crave something different in their life, but they tell themselves they have to overhaul their whole lives to get it. I call this all or nothing thinking if it can’t be a hundred percent, it has to be zero. But what if I did 10% every day for a year? Did you know? You will not just be 10% further. You’ll be exponentially further. I’m not going to do any math, but this is just painting a metaphor because that little investment every day accumulates, whether it’s the kind words that make a relationship, a safe and connected place, whether it’s slowing down and meditating for two minutes, that helps you grow the skills to become more accepting and calm and your daily life drinking water each day, that’s going to keep your body hydrated.

Day after day, reading a chapter of a book, building up this bank of ideas and knowledge. You accumulate knowledge, skills, habits, health connection. It builds up like a savings account growing. And then that area of your life becomes easier. You feel more confident. It starts to feel like less work and you can move on to adjusting the ship in new ways. If you want a bit more encouragedment on that check out episode 70, where I outline three mindsets to help you get good at things. But I want to share with you some real examples that I’ve had in my own life. And I’m going to rewind about five years ago, Connor and I started writing down our goals every year. We use the life on purpose workbook now, but before we were just writing in a notebook. So I definitely encourage you to do that today.

Like why wait? You don’t need to wait for new years, like just do it. So I have it in a Google doc because I’m a super lady nerdy. This is not a surprise. I have a Google doc of all the past goals that we had set. So I looked back over these and I wanted to note the things that I did that were small, that really made a big impact in the long run. And I have about 10 here. So the first one is appreciation notes. That’s something that marriage counselor recommended to me in Connor, where we write down what we appreciate about each other each day, the second one, water and stretching, um, texting my bestie, spending time in prayer, reading books and podcasts that really fill me up and empower me having coffee with my friends, saying no to purchases, having a weekly plan and daily planning, decluttering, obviously meal planning.

All of these things were simple. I didn’t do them all at once. I didn’t overhaul my whole life, but gradually over the past five years over time, I’ve brought them into my life. They’ve made my life exponentially better and easier, and I’ve always got some I’m working on. So this year here’s some that I’m working on heading to sleep earlier, having more tea and less wine setting, intentional connection time with my kids showing up here each week with you guys, morning, prayer time. Those are some of the things I’m working on this year. So some things, if you’re like, I’m ready to make some small changes. Here’s some things to think about. Where are you now? What’s working. What’s not, what are you responsible for? Have some real talk, pray about it. Get real with yourself. Where do you want to go? And considering where you want to go brainstorm some little steps that are going to put you in that direction.

Okay. Then pick one, pick one show up consistently with it, feel the benefit of it. Feel your identity and your beliefs shift. As you work on that. If you want some like brainstorming to do this, check out the live, your vision, live your values worksheet, or the live, your vision worksheet. You can get both of those free. I’ll link them in the show notes or the life on purpose workbook. That’s what we use. It goes through all nine areas of your life and it helps you break down goals and habits and create an action plan on when you’re going to start them. And of course, if you want accountability and guidance, then sign up for the live on purpose coaching program. I offer it’s different than the life on purpose coaching Academy, which is group coaching, monthly coaching, where I teach a monthly topic and have weekly calls.

I do have this available as a one-on-one coaching program. If you’re interested, if you’re interested, it’s there, but just do something, just write down a little bit more direction of where you want to go and start taking one simple step that moves you in that direction. All right, ladies, thank you so much for joining me again today. I love to spend this time with you. As I said, I’m working on that homemaker on purpose workbook. I’m so excited to share it with you. And I really encourage you to join the Facebook group because the month of November, I’m going to go live every week and talk about gratitude. I mean, we all hear about it and there’s parts of our life that were like, of course I’m grateful for blah, blah, blah. But there’s things that gratitude is hard there’s areas where gratitude is hard there’s areas where we find ourselves complaining and having resent. What would change if you were able to bring in some authentic gratitude, not platitude, but actual gratitude. So if you want to work on finding more contentment and gratitude in your actual life, I’m going to be going live in the Facebook community group on that through the month of November, there’s a join link in the show notes, make sure to answer the entry questions. And I would love to chat with you. There have a great week.

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