Consistency and the Compound Effect

When it comes to success, do you value intensity more than consistency? 

Are you willing to do mundane work to get the desired results? 

Or are you jumping from one new shiny thing to another for immediate gratification?

When I launched The Incrementalist podcast, I committed to making at least 10 episodes before I would allow myself to quit. No matter how I felt – excited or not, I would record and publish a minimum of 10 episodes. I have since doubled that metric. 

Intensity of effort matters, especially in the beginning of a project. But it comes in short bursts. It is fueled by excitement and passion. You ride the waves, but you don’t control them.  

You use intensity as allowed. You go faster, pick up the pace, when you can afford to, when you have high energy and strong willpower. But you can start to get overwhelmed, stressed and deflated as you power though. 

While intensity ebbs and flows, consistency is steadier and more sustainable. Even when you feel unmotivated, you can keep taking daily actions to get to where you need to be. You stack up good habits and routines and take small steps to start the project or finish it.

Daily decisions, choices and actions shape the trajectory of your life. They either lead you down a path of desire or a path of disaster. The Compound Effect formula is: small smart choices + consistency + time = radical difference 

With compounding, you reap huge rewards from a series of small, smart choices. Sometimes there are no obvious wins, and just subtle shifts. Over time they add up to massive results. 

In episode 20 of The Incrementalist podcast, you will learn:

1) How the compound effect works – 

  • The Magic Pennies
  • 3 friends in a boat

2) Daily discipline is necessary to trigger the compound effect

3) Tracking your actions is critical to making choices and building habits

  • Track your behaviors to observe how you got where you are
  • Visualize or picture where you want to be
  • Track your lead metrics (inputs, actions, and things you control or influence)
  • Track your choices (cues and times of day that trigger certain behaviors)
  • Stay consistent in your actions

4) Behaviors get compounded and shape your life through this formula:


5) The power of momentum (the Big Mo)

  • Old habits are like inertia, the pull of gravity. Once you start and gain momentum, you make faster progress
  • In a rocket launch, most of the fuel is consumed in the first few minutes of acceleration. The rocket needs tons of energy to move out of the gravitational pull and into orbit. After that, it takes less fuel to keep going. 

6) Book ending your day with evening rituals and morning rituals develops daily discipline

7) Taking 100% responsibility for your choices and actions empowers you to co-create with any given situation

8) The Next Five Years question to help you determine what to stop doing and start doing

9) In celebration of the 20th episode of The Incrementalist podcast, the accompanying ebook is now on sale for $4.99 through June 20. After this date, the minimum price will be back up to $9.99. Check it out at

Resources cited: 

To listen to episode 20, Consistency and the Compound Effect, click here. Subscribe to The Incrementalist at Apple Podcasts or other apps.

If you prefer to read, download transcript of episode 20.

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Dyan Williams is a solo lawyer who practices U.S. immigration law and legal ethics at Dyan Williams Law PLLC. She is also a productivity coach who helps working parents, lawyers, small business owners and other busy people turn their ideas into action, reduce overwhelm, and focus on what truly matters. She is the author of The Incrementalist: A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small Steps


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