Book Club: Small Habits Big Changes

Book: Small Habits Big Changes, How the Tiniest Steps Lead to a Happier, Healthier You

Author: Steven Handel

Key message of the Book: Transformational life changes and long-term improvements are achieved via the collection of small habits we integrate into our daily routines. This is because big changes never or rarely happen overnight; as per the author, changes are “often slow and gradual” and dependent on our daily actions: “Often, it’s not any single act that will completely change your life, but the consistency and the persistence of a habit that leads to real consequences over time.”

Big SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound) goals are a valuable way to push us forward, but they become a reality or a means for transformation when they are accompanied by specific tactics, systems and routines … which enable us to get from state “A” to state “B” on the long-term.

As part of this framework, the author describes several essentials we ought to pay attention to, create and re-create in our lives – on a regular basis – for self-growth and self-improvement. These include (1) what morning and nighttime routines we develop; (2) the basics of sleep, diet and exercise, which are critical for sustaining positive habits and good performance, and (3) the systems we put in place, which can turn into a lifestyle, if pursued consistently.

One specific learning from the book:  In the self-improvement literature, there is a lot of talk about “going outside of our comfort zone” – by pushing our boundaries and conquering our fears. That is good advice; however, it does not mean that “staying inside our comfort zone” is always bad. The author makes the point that going outside our comfort zones often times comes with costs and stress, and it is equally important to give ourselves “permission to take it easy and “chill” out”. In other words, is it important to understand what activities enable us to relax and recharge, especially after sustained levels of effort. Building relaxation into our days and lives is as important as hard work and building disciplines and systems for focused efforts.

One favorite quote from the book: “Think Big, Act Small”.

One favorite passage from the book:

“Our patience is strongest when we have a healthy expectation of future difficulties and obstacles. Get ready to be challenged. Get ready to make mistakes. Get ready to fail. And make sure you are ready to keep moving forward no matter what happens.”

Steven Handel, Author of Small Habits Big Changes

Growth Is A Journey book review is intended to represent 1-2 key nuggets of insights from the book, with an invitation for readers to discover the book in its entirety.

Published by Helene R. Johnson

Helene R. Johnson is a pseudonym. Living life as a mom and manager. Articles are also published on, a site dedicated to human resources with a focus on transformational change and development.

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