Start Experiencing the Domino Effect in Your Life


A new month has just started, and we are approx. 50 some odd days away from a brand new year.  Now, most people wait for the dawn of a new year to set resolutions and goals which they would like to achieve. People tend to get caught up in the hype around “New Year, New You” pledging to replace old habits with better ones.
And there’s nothing wrong with that at all. 

However, I would like to encourage you to start now, start messy and get the ball rolling toward positive change that you’d like to see in your life.  There’s nothing like having momentum on your side before heading into the holiday season.

There will never be the “right” time when all the stars align for you and your dreams.  You really have to put one foot in front of other, take one day at a time, keep one small promise you make to yourself each day in order to feel the momentum building, and with that comes self-esteem and confidence as an added bonus.

Today, I want to talk about how chasing down one goal will result in a ripple effect or ‘domino effect’ affecting other areas of your life and I will tell you about a real-life example which has had an immense impact on my life.

From our childhood, you might remember those small, rectangular black tiles divided in the middle with white dots in each half. Most of the time, we played a game in which we laid them on the floor and had to match them up end to end forming a long line of tiles.

Sometimes we set them up on their ends spaced a certain distance apart. If done right, once the first one was pushed the rest of the tiles would fall down activating the next one in a kind of chain reaction.  This was called the ‘domino effect’.

Can you picture how activating one tile would cause the others to fall one after the other?

Now, imagine how pursuing one goal of yours could have spin-off effects in other areas of your life? 

Before I jump straight into the example, I feel that setting the stage for goal setting is necessary. While this episode is not about how to set goals, it is closely related to the process of going after a goal.

So, let me start with an analogy that most of us can relate to.

When we first start out with goal setting

I like to tell my clients that setting their goal is the very first step, then mapping out the plan on how to achieve it with specific markers or points along the way indicating they are still on track.  So, essentially, we reverse engineer the road to achievement.  Isn’t this a lot like using your car’s GPS to reach your destination?

Prior to embarking on a road trip, we are all familiar with getting out our smart phones and typing in the name of the end destination.  Now, we also know there may be some detours along the way due to roadblocks, traffic issues, some side trips will come up and we may even get lost, which can be aggravating but not the end of the world.

It’s all in the planning

Taking a road trip will involve some planning in terms of how far your destination is, how fast you’ll drive, where and when you’ll need to make a pit stop, what you’ll need to pack, your car may need to be checked out to ensure everything is in good working order, and you’ll also need important things like snacks and money for the trip.  Your plan is the map of how to reach your end destination and each way point or marker you hit, gets you one step closer to your goal.

Goal setting 101

The first rule in setting goals of any kind is they should be small and specific, bite-sized and doable.  Next, your goals should be measurable and achievable, something small you can do every day for a week or a month.  This allows you to establish consistency and builds a habit which turns into momentum.
Having momentum on your side, you feel accomplished and are more motivated to keep going. You might even accelerate as you come closer to your destination.  It’s like a set of dominoes.

If you intentionally set the path you want to follow each step of the way, it only takes ONE SMALL PUSH to create a chain reaction. 

Goal achievement is not one dimensional

Just like your path to success will not be linear, goal setting is not one dimensional.  That chain reaction is a ripple effect with positive side effects as well as numerous benefits. 

What do I mean by this?

A few months ago, I started swimming for fitness and health reasons.  There is no doubt that swimming offers immense benefits when it comes to fitness: it has increased my heart rate making my heart and lungs stronger, toned muscles, built strength and endurance, etc.  And the biggest advantage of swimming is you get a lot of ‘bang for your buck’ in terms of burned calories.  This activity torches as many as when running.  As a certified personal trainer and sports enthusiast, I was fully aware of all these perks.  What I didn’t know was that swimming would have so many spin-off benefits as well.

When I started visiting the local pool on a regular basis, I could barely swim the front crawl for a distance of 25 meters.  I could move about in the water doing my own version of three different strokes, none of which looked very elegant for onlookers.  But I was determined to learn and perfect the front crawl, the stroke all distance swimmers use to glide through the water making it look effortless.

I also kept telling myself if the other ladies, some of whom were 15 to 20 years my senior, were able to cut through the water with finesse, I could do it too.

I set the bar low to begin with and tried to improve by 1% each time I was in the water moving my arms and legs over the stretch of 25 meters in my lane. I knew that if I could improve a little bit each time, I would reach my goal of being able to swim 1000 meters doing the front crawl with a certain elan and athletic smoothness that I see other swimmers have.

Four months later, I have achieved my goal of being able to swim the 1000 meter distance in one go.

And, the positive side effects have been so amazing – both for my mind and body.  This is what I call the chain reaction or domino effect:

My original goal was to improve my overall fitness and be able to swim the distance of 1000 meters, but I reaped so many additional benefits on this journey, for example:

1. My overall mobility has improved, which means less pain in my hips and back when walking and sleeping.
2.My entire body feels more toned and stronger.
3.I have been able to significantly reduce the pain medication.
4. My sleep has radically improved each night. 
5.  My mood has improved, and I look forward to each swim session with excited anticipation about how I will challenge myself each new swim.
6. I feel extremely proud of my consistency and continuity in chasing this goal. 
7.I am very proud of my body for responding well to the new training it has to undergo. 

And, the list goes on. 

Of course, this is my story and my fitness journey.  But this is a real example of how starting where you are with a goal in mind, staying consistent, taking joy in the small wins along the way, attempting to improve by 1 % each time, following a plan all contribute to the success and ultimate achievement of the goal.  And, once this goal of mine has been achieved, I already know what my next one will be. 

The key is to start small and be consistent. Whether you are crushing small goals every day or chasing much bigger ones, the power is in the planning.  Be sure to take one little action every day to keep your momentum going and GO AFTER THE GOAL!

So, whenever you feel stuck or frustrated, remember that when it comes to achieving your goals, whether fitness-related or not, the benefits are never singular. Think of – the ripple or domino effect. Whatever you are doing will reap surprise and unexpected rewards.  So go for your goals, and when you do, remember there are a whole slew of new ones lining up right behind them.

Just in case you haven’t heard this yet today, let me be the first to tell you…

You’ve got this and I believe in you. You have the ability to uplevel your life.   Now, go out and show the world what you are made of, goal getters.

That’s all for today’s dose of motivation.  I hope to have inspired you to grow.

With love,