# Small habits give a 100x return on your effort — here’s how to start

## What do lottery tickets, compound interest, and a 10-minute walk have in common?

You have insider information.

You’re at your local convenience store, there’s a lottery for \$5,000. Your insider information is that the chance of winning the lottery is 50% — the same as flipping a coin.

Would you buy a lottery ticket for \$1? Of course, you would.

In fact, you’d keep buying tickets until you won the \$5,000. (Buying 5 tickets would mean you’d almost certainly win.)

You’d be spending less than \$5 to win \$5,000.

What if the probability of winning was 10%? Would you still buy tickets?

You might — according to the laws of probability, you’d get the money if you bought 25 tickets. You’d only have to spend \$25 to win \$5,000.

And if the probability was 5%? You’ll need to buy 51 tickets. You could spend \$51 and win \$5,000. That’s 100 times your investment.

Would you do that?

#### It’s not even a gamble

Let’s talk about being happy. You can wait and see what happens, or you can do something about it. Either way, time will pass — the only difference is what you’ll have at the end.

A good way to increase your happiness is to make some small improvements in your life. And it’s not even a gamble. It will happen. And the payoff is huge.

#### The superpower you already have

Good habits are worth a lot. Here’s why:

• Once you establish a habit, you don’t notice it. The habit takes no effort because you do it without thinking about it. It bypasses the problem of using up willpower (you only have a certain amount of it each day).
• Over time, the benefit of the habit snowballs past all expectations (like the miracle of compound interest).
• And the habit pays you back for the rest of your life.

#### Less work than you think

It makes sense that the larger the intended action is, the longer it takes to make it a habit.

According to one research study, it takes about 20 days to turn to drink a glass of water after breakfast (a healthy action) into a daily habit.

Taking a 10-minute walk every morning (which will greatly improve your life) will take longer, about 50 days — but it’s worth it. The benefits are immense — you will greatly improve your mood, your health, and a lot more, for the rest of your life.

That lottery ticket: \$50 to increase your money by a factor of 100.

A healthy habit: 50 days — less than two months — to significantly increase your happiness for the rest of your life.

There are all sorts of useful habits — some take seconds, others take a few minutes — that will improve your life, for the rest of your life.

Here’s part 2 of this article; it’s about a simple technique that helps you develop your habit much faster — and you’ll have your pick of 31 easy-to-learn habits you can try. It’s worth a click and a read. You’ll be glad you did.

Dear Reader, Medium’s decision to allow 1 to 50 👏🏽s is crazy. So I think of clapping as a 1-to-5-stars rating, with 10 claps = 1 star.

I clap 10 times — or 20 — for the articles I read. Not clapping at all feels bad.