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The Geometry of Habits

Are your New Year's resolutions off to a slow start? Stick to them. The impact of good habits may not be immediately apparent, but they pay off in the long run. Here's proof.

Would you rather be given $1 million right now or receive one penny that doubles each day for a month? Most of us prefer "a bird in the hand" and would opt for the $1 million up front.

Can you believe that doubling your penny daily yields over $10 million in just one month? Don't believe me? To nip any skepticism in the bud, the table below contains the proof and power of a geometric effect...and the power of building a daily habit! Note that after 10 days you would only have $5.12--a far cry from the $1 million you could have been sitting on. Even after 20 days you are only up to $5,242. In fact, you do not even hit the $1 million threshold until day 28!

Here is where the power of sustaining a daily habit of any sort really kicks in. You might have been exercising regularly for 2 weeks, but have not lost any weight. You might have changed your communication style with your team, but have not yet reaped the fruits of your efforts. Do not abandon your efforts now. You are on the cusp of your own geometric effect!
Whether it’s saving money or leading a team, you have to stick with it long enough to win.

Find more strategies to stick with it in the author's latest book, Stick with It: Mastering the Art of Adherence. Download free book chapters here.

Last updated: Jan 15, 2014

LEE COLAN | Columnist

Lee Colan is founder of the L Group, a consulting firm that equips and inspires leaders at every level. He is a leadership adviser, presenter of practical ideas, and a Thinkers 50 nominee for Top Management Thinker.

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of

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