Over thousands of hours of conversations with coaching clients, friends, peers, and folks all over the world, I’ve gotten used to hearing this one idea:

“Once I get some free time, I’ll finally be able to make the important choices that I want to make.”

What I’ve discovered, however, is that the opposite can oftentimes be true:

The busier you are — the more consuming your schedule and everyday responsibilities — the more important your choices become.

The trick is what kinds of choices you make, and what you expect from those choices.

Most of the time, change is made through small and incremental changes that you commit to and routinely choose, over and over again.

These small, marginal changes are what propels gradual and sustainable change — in other words, the kinds of change that actually last and endure for us long enough to feel their benefit.

The Busier You Are = The More Important Your Choices Become

It’s a myth that free time means better choices.

And, even when you have no free time, you can still make good, smart, simple decisions, every day.

When your free time is already extremely limited, you might be particularly tempted to try to make big, sweeping changes all at once. You might dream of making huge commitments. You might set unattainably large intentions for yourself.

This is a fool’s errand and it’s oftentimes a recipe for failure.

Tempting as it can be to think and dream in big, sexy goals, the path to sustainable and lasting change is made in small, marginal, 1% choices.

Ultra time-strapped among us (parents, business owners, multiple job workers, busy bees) I’m looking at you: keep dreaming big, but don’t burden yourself with a goal so big that you lose sight of the small steps needed to get there, one day and free moment at a time.

Don’t discount small choices as being insignificant!

Because, here’s the secret.

No matter if you have all the time in the world and no commitments, or no time at all and too many responsibilities, small choices made as often as possible are still and always the path to gradual, sustainable, lasting change.

This goes for diet and physical fitness, art and creativity, self-care and mental health, restarting a journaling practice or writing a book.

It’s not the size of the effort, it’s the fact that it’s made at all.

That is what yields true progress.

Stay small in approach. Keep it marginal. Shift behavior, not circumstances, since that is what is always within your control. Show up for your goal consistently as you can.

Make small moments matter!

You’ve got this.