Billionaire Warren Buffet is famously known for saying, “My wealth has come from a combination of living in America, some lucky genes, and compound interest.”
Before I started my alcohol-free challenge, I had extensively researched the Pros and Cons of taking a break from the booze. While the lists of Pros seemed to be endless, the only two Cons I could dig up from anyone who had done what I was about to do were: 1) Peer pressure from other drinking adults; and 2) A required and dogged level of self-discipline and self-inquiry. I wasn’t afraid of either of these so away I went into the land of booze-free living.
However, the one thing I didn’t read about in my research–or perhaps it was there and I just didn’t want to acknowledge it–was just how important the “compounding effect” was of going alcohol free. In other words, the behavior needed to be long term in order to reap the benefits.
You see, the magic of compound interest in the money world goes like this:
- Small financial investments done regularly over time yield growth on growth.
- As an example, putting away one dollar a day from the day a child is born until she or he is eighteen can grow into about $4 million by the time that little one reaches the age of 66.
Albert Einstein referred to compound interest as the eighth wonder of the world. Unfortunately, most people don’t tap into this super power when it comes to not only compounding money but also compounding good behavior.
As for me, when I initially joined my booze-free challenge group on February 12, 2018–I thought 90 days without the sauce would rock my world and then I’d get on with life as I knew it. However, as I approached the nine-zero mark I was feeling so great that I bumped up to the 365-day challenge group.
Today, I’m on Day 166 and am experiencing so many more benefits than I could have imagined. I already know that I won’t want to stop at 365. The compounding effects of eliminating just one thing from my life (alcohol) and replacing it with a handful of good behaviors are nothing short of magical. And I do believe that the results will just get better and better.
Thank goodness I didn’t stop at Day 90. Doing so would be akin to stopping the regular financial deposit into one’s savings account.
Frankly, the positive changes in my thinking, feelings and behaviors didn’t really get rooted until a couple of months ago. So just as the compound interest effect of money takes a certain time to take off–so does that of behaviors such as exercise, meditation. eating–you name it. As a side-bar, a well-known motivational speaker who now charges $50,000 for a one-hour keynote once told me that when he started speaking 30 years ago he was awful. Only a handful of people would come to hear him speak. However, he had a burning desire to get great at the skill. He persisted and kept speaking, honed his craft, never gave up. His compounded behavior kicked in and voila!
As for me, I used to cling onto the well-touted statistic that it takes 30 days to get rid of a bad habit and start a new one. The thing is–I would therefore stop at 30 days and then go on with my life. No, no, no! How many of us set New Year’s resolutions? We give the exercise, etc. a shot for a little while. We don’t see the results we want and then throw in the towel.
So what’s my point? There is true magic in committing to the long haul when it comes to behavior change. I now see that not drinking alcohol is a new way of thinking and living.
The compounding effect applies to every area of our life and it is a very real thing. Very, very real. Stay the course. Go the distance.
Hugs and cheers,
NOTE: A big thank you to coach Esther O’Brien for the idea of applying the compounding effect of money to the compounding effect of other good habits in life. A powerful nugget of information to master.