I recently saw an interview with an actor who was asked how it felt to be an overnight success. His response was: “It took me 20 years of hard work to become an overnight success.”

The reality is that we all want instant results; we expect instant results, and we are often disappointed when we don’t get instant results. But the truth is things almost never happen in an overnight success kind of way. Instead, taking small steps and doing them consistently over time is the real key to making a big and lasting change in your life.

Start with Small Steps

Don’t under-estimate the value of small, consistent steps in helping you reach your desired goal.  Every time you do one small thing toward your goal it adds up over time to a long-lasting and often transformative change in your life.

Be Patient

The effects of your small habits multiply as you repeat them over time. What is the difference between eating a burger and fries for lunch or eating a salad? Not a whole lot on any given day. Your body looks the same in the mirror at the end of the night and the scale hasn’t really changed. But over time that daily habit will compound for a result that is either going to be for you or against you.

The 90-Day One Change Challenge

It starts with making one small change and then repeating it. So let’s do it.

I challenge you to visualize ONE CHANGE you’d like to see in your life in 2021 and to identify ONE SMALL ACTION that you can take for each of the next 90 days to move you closer to your goal. The objective is to slowly develop a habit that will help you attain lasting results over time.  

Here’s how to get started:

  • First, state your intention – your ONE THING. Then write it down. Studies show that if you state your intention to do something you will be three times more likely to follow through.
  • Identify ONE SMALL ACTION to help you get there. Be specific. Use the following fill-in-the-blank sentence to include the time, day, and location of your activity.

I will (do what) for (amount of time) on (day) at (time) at (place).

For example: I will write for thirty minutes on Monday morning at 8 am at the corner coffee shop.

Be Consistent

And, finally – after you’ve stated your one thing and your small step to getting there, be consistent. Stick to your plan, keep up the habit, and know that over time you will become an overnight success.

Here’s my ONE THING:

I am committed to developing a habit over the next 90 days. I am going to practice the habit of daily purging and cleaning for 30 minutes at least 5 times a week.

Betty Lochner

Suggested resources to dig deeper on making lasting changes: Atomic Habits by James Clear, and The 5 Minute Rule by Mel Robbins

Photo credit: Shootin’ for fun


Betty Lochner is a human resources consultant, business coach, and expert in workplace communications. She is the author of two books on communication, and a newly published journal, Intentional Gratitude.

Did you know Cornerstone hosts a twice-annual women’s summit, Confident Communication: A Women’s Summit? This professional development and training is for and about supporting women who want to become inspired and confident communicators. It’s packed with dynamic content that includes expert speakers, table conversations, and opportunities to practice with each other in a safe and supportive environment.