The Little Things Are The Only Things

by | Sep 14, 2017 | Blog

If you have ever said anything along the lines of “oh, this one thing won’t hurt” or “this won’t make a difference” or dismissed activity or exercise as “not enough to matter” then you’ve got to read this.

If you’d rather listen to this blog than read it, please click here to listen on Anchor.

The other day I had to put change in a parking meter. As I evaluated my awful parking job (masterful driver I am not) considering if I should make a second attempt, I noticed 3 pennies under a trashcan. I dropped to my hands & knees and reached through the metal bars to get them. Mine!

The next day I went to a car wash to vacuum out my Jeep. As soon as I opened my door I spotted a penny & two dimes on the pavement. Mine!

Less than minute later, right in my little vacuuming stall, I saw a pile of dirt & sand where someone had clearly shaken out their (filthy) floor mats. In the pile was easily $0.80 of pennies, nickels & dimes. Mine!

A guy looked at me like I was crazy as I sifted through the dirt to collect the coins. He said, “Are you seriously going to touch that change? They’re just pennies!

I was equally incredulous, though for different reasons as I said, “Very seriously.

I have trained myself to be someone who values the little things.

I used to tell myself that one bite of this or one taste of that wouldn’t matter. And, I was probably right in that individual instance – one bite wouldn’t put weight on and skipping it wouldn’t take weight off.

But the mindset – the attitude and habit of convincing myself that small choices “don’t count” – that was a catastrophic problem.

That mindset kept me from results.

It was a crutch I used to avoid doing hard work and building mental muscle.

I was talking to a client a couple nights ago about arguments she uses to justify choices that she later regrets. She referred to this very thing: telling herself that it wouldn’t matter. It wouldn’t make a difference. It was no big deal.

I asked her to imagine she was having a house built. Imagine going to the construction site and noticing that one the walls is just a little off.

Would you care?

Of course! she said.


Because if a little thing is off than the whole thing can be off.

Exactly….She made my point for me.

The small things create the big things.

The small things done well create the big things done well.

You can’t do the big things well without doing the small things well.

The big things ARE the small things.The little things matter. If you want to be successful, you’ll need to be successful with the small things.

For as long as you tell yourself they don’t matter, you’re in trouble.

The people closest to me in my life know I’m a hawk for loose change. They tease me about it. When I was writing this post today I texted them:

“Random important question: You know how I pick up loose change? From your perspective, why do I do that?”

My phone rang almost immediately. It was my mom. She said, “it’s because you know that it’s in the details that your life is built.”

My sister texted me back within a minute: You see opportunities every where, especially the most people would dismiss something as nothing.

My best friend said: You value small, incremental things rather than just big things. That you focus on the things that other people ignore.

If you haven’t pieced this together yet: it ain’t just about money.

Opportunities for progress are everywhere, especially in those little decisions you dismiss as too small to matter.

The little things are the big things, in progress. Choice by choice we advance & the opportunities are all around us.

Are you writing them off and grabbing them up?

I know this is a mindset shift. It’s the mindset shifts that make behavioral shifts possible. If you want to chat this through and learn how I changed my mind in this way and many more, I hope you’ll join me for next week’s live mindset masterclass!


I don’t love workouts that I have to re-write due to my ability or injury. Today was a serious shoulder day so I had to totally forgo the group workout and do my own thing because my shoulder is still on the fritz (though it’s remarkably better than it was 2 weeks ago)

“Pump House” 
For Time:
Strict Press
Ring Rows
200 Meter Run*

*Following each round

The run felt really good today, which is one of those non-scale victories I love so much! I’m getting fitter and stronger every week and that feels good. It doesn’t happen by accident, it happens with consistency and hard work.

On the food front:

The next few days will require some creativity. I’m heading out of town and I don’t know the food/kitchen situation. I will do my best to stick with this keto phase I talked about in episode 388: max 50 grams of net carbs and approximately 110 grams of protein. The rest of my energy will come from dietary fat.

I left this morning after breakfast so I was able to have my cabbage salad bowl after my workout. It was about 20 grams of carbohydrate worth of cabbage plus 3 large eggs and 4 slices of bacon. I didn’t add any avocado to save some of those carbs for later in the day but I did add a dollop of Primal Kitchen Chipotle Lime Mayo.

After breakfast I hit the road to spend a long weekend in the White Mountains. I didn’t eat anything until about 5:15pm – I wasn’t even hungry!

I had a few pieces of cheese to hold me over until dinner. I don’t eat a lot of dairy (even though I love it) but it works well during travel.

For dinner I had a cedar plank salmon and some broccoli. Total win for a travel day!

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