Recently I underwent an experiment to reduce my dairy consumption. I read that the hormones in milk and other dairy products could cause skin problems. I was not too religious about my experiment, but I did try to do my best not to eat anything with milk, cream, or cheese.

The results have been better than I hoped. Not only has my skin improved dramatically, but I've lost weight and have more energy. It turns out that not eating dairy also meant that I've been avoiding greasy foods like pizza, cheeseburgers, and ice cream and instead filling up on salad and fruit.

This small, but consistent change I made to my diet had a huge effect on my overall health. Eliminating dairy from my diet didn't seem as daunting as changing what I ate entirely, and it was not too hard to do. But beyond that, it had the unintended consequence of making me choose healthier foods and be more conscious about what I put in my mouth.

This phenomenon of small changes has held true time and time again for me. When I started getting into marathons and triathlons a few years ago, I trained by running a few miles and even learning how to swim, and then gradually increasing my distance, over a period of months and years. Through it all, I not only got to push myself beyond where I thought my physical limits were, I also ended up in a much healthier place in my life and got a husband out of the whole deal.

I'm someone who often wants things to happen all at once, right away, but it turns out time and time again that small, consistent, gradual change over a period time often has the most profound and lasting impact.