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Listen to the Full Episode:

A lot of our culture today is centered around instant gratification. We can scroll through an entertaining feed whenever we want, buy whatever we like online, and watch one of a million shows anytime.

Why the key to success is in the tiny steps that take you there.We’d love to do the same with our lives: lose ten pounds in ten days, increase our following overnight, or go viral and hit it big with our dream career.

I’ve started to suspect that instant gratification isn’t so good for us though. Because the real key to whatever success you’re seeking is in the tiny steps that take you there – not the big windfall moments.

In today’s episode, I want to tell you about the power of tiny habits. I’ve created quite a few tiny, daily habits over the past few years that have helped me get where I am today. And not only have they helped me make my dreams come true; they’ve also helped me learn to love the journey.

We’ll also chat about the compound effect, why you should start a new tiny habit today, and how to fall in love with the process of creating your dream life.

What habit are you going to start today?

What You Will Discover:

  • Why instant gratification isn’t that great for us in the long run.
  • How tiny, daily habits can create big changes in our lives.
  • Why it’s easy to undermine our new tiny habits with the thought “why bother?”.
  • Some of the tiny habits I’ve adopted that have improved my life exponentially.
  • How our actions and choices compound over time to become positive or negative influences in our lives.
  • Why you should start a new tiny habit today that your future self will thank you for.

Featured on the Show:

Episode Transcript:

We live in a world of instant gratification. We want overnight success. We want to lose 10 pounds in 10 days. We want to become rich overnight. We want to grow our Instagram following by the thousands in a week. And yet, do you know what’s going to change your life the most? The tiniest daily actions that you take.

Bonjour, and welcome to The French Kiss Life Podcast, where personal development meets style. I’m Tonya Leigh, certified master life coach and the hostess of this party, where we explore how to live artfully and well. Each week, I’ll be sharing inspiring stories, practical tips, and timeless wisdom on how to elevate the quality of your everyday and celebrate along the way. Let’s dive into today’s episode.

Well hello, my beautiful friends. Welcome to this week’s podcast. There are so many exciting things happening within French Kiss Life right now. I just hung up from our weekly team meeting, and we are going to be meeting up in Puerto Rico in April for our team retreat. And I am so excited to have everyone together. We even have part of my team flying in from South Africa, from all over the US. It’s going to be so much fun.

And I reminded my team, I’m like, “Listen up, y’all. You know how I like to roll. We’re going to leisurely hustle,” which means yes, we’re going to get to work and we are going to be creating big goals and plans for the upcoming year, but we’re also going to take some time out to relax and to have fun.

You know, when it comes to business, I feel like the internal culture of the business must match the vision and the mission and the values of the business, meaning what you see on the outside is how I want us to operate on the inside. And so, this annual retreat is all about leisurely hustling. It is all about us bring creative and having fun and then drilling down to what is most important that we’re going to focus on during the upcoming year and at the same time, having time within the retreat itself to relax and rejuvenate and to laugh and to enjoy good food and good company and good conversation.

Yes, I want to make the journey to the dream as beautiful as the dream itself. So, when I imagine where I want to take French Kiss Life, I want to make the process and the obtaining of the goals as much fun as what I think the end outcome is going to be.

And this is applicable to everything, you guys. It can be applicable to your weight loss journey, the journey of building your business, the journey of finding your soulmate. What if you really detached from the outcome? Like, you have the goal in mind, you know where you want to go, but you let go. And then you relax and you have fun and you do make the process as fun as you think the outcome is going to be.

And so, again, it’s why, at this retreat, I already envision us having fun setting the goals, putting a strategy in place, but then letting go and coming back to today and having fun and enjoying the process. When you love the process, you tend to show up for it every single day. And that is another reason why I want you all to be making the journey to your dreams as beautiful as the dream itself.

Other exciting news is that I’m in the thick of writing my book. And it’s challenging and fun. And you know what it is? It’s me going back into time. I’m so future-focused. I’m always thinking about where I am and where I’m going that I don’t spend a lot of time in my past. But this book has required that I go back into time and really think about those key moments that changed me, thinking about who I’ve become over the years and the lessons that have helped me really create a completely new life really has shifted me in a 180-degree direction.

And so, it’s a beautiful thing to actually go back and revisit and to put myself in those moments and to remember how I felt back then and what was going on in my brain back then and comparing it to today. It’s a beautiful thing for me. And I’m so excited to share that with you.

And what else? Oh, I’m hosting a soirée next week, did you hear? It’s going to be fun. You can go to frenchkisslife.com/party because my soirées are fun, what can I say? But this one is going to be about a date with your future self. I did this one last year and we had such phenomenal feedback. We had women emailing us saying, “No one’s ever really explained how to get from where you are to where you want to be the way you did in that soirée.” And so, I’m doing it again.

It’s going to be even better because I feel like every time I do it, I teach it even better than the time before because I’m growing right alongside you all. So, every day, I learn something new and I’m always excited to share it with you. So, that is happening next week, so make sure you RSVP for that.

And also, Slim, Chic, and Savvy is open for enrolment. This truly is my favorite time of the year. I love when I get to welcome in a new group of women into this program because I know their worlds are about to be rocked in the best ways.

I am always getting emails from women who have been in the program, some of them since I started it years ago because that’s the thing, when you join, you have lifetime access. And so, I get to witness their lives completely change.

In fact, a woman emailed me probably about three weeks ago who’s been in the program for five years and she was just giving me sort of her before and after. And she was like, “I cannot imagine where I’d be had I not joined Slim, Chic, and Savvy.” Because her life today is totally different than when she started five years ago.

So, if you want to know more about Slim, Chic, and Savvy, head over to slimchicandsavvy.com and you can find out all of the information there. But this is the foundational program for French Kiss Life. This is my baby. These are the core lessons that I started practicing many years ago that completely changed the trajectory of my life.

And as I grow, I keep adding to the program. So, when you join, you get immediate access to the Art of Discipline Workshop. It will completely change how you see discipline. It will make you want to be more disciplined. You will fall more in love with the concept instead of rejecting it and rebelling against it. discipline is sexy when you use it for you.

And so, you get access to that. I also created a whole program that goes within the program called The Slim Masterclass. And these are, I think there’s 14 lessons, video lessons, in that program where I walk you through my weight journey and the lessons that help me to lose weight and keep it off for years.

And then, yeah, you get a library of TL Talks where I get to give you short little pep-talks to help you stay in your sweet spot. It’s so good. And this program is so ridiculously good, I just can’t say enough good things about it. and because we’ve been running this program for so many years, we have hundreds and hundreds of testimonials to really backup the effectiveness of this process.

And so, again, if you are interested, head over to slimchicandsavvy.com to learn more. And I just want to say, whether it’s through this podcast or on social media or through my programs, it is such an honor to get to show up and share this work with you.

It is time for a Community Spotlight. This is the part of the show where I get to highlight someone in the community who has benefitted from the French Kiss Lifestyle. And today’s spotlight is on MandaPanda1212.

She left me a five-star review on iTunes that says, “The best friend I didn’t know I missed. I came across Tonya on Facebook a few years ago. It was like divine intervention. As soon as I began reading on the website, I immediately felt like I was home.

My life was nowhere near where I wanted it to be, however I signed up to French Kissing Life and binged on Tonya’s podcast. The very first podcast I ever listened to actually, I knew I found the best friend that I didn’t know I was missing. Listening to Tonya is amazing and brutal all at the same time. She encourages you, challenges you, believes in you, and loves you simultaneously.

She isn’t always sunshine and rainbows though and I love that about her. Tough love Tonya is real. But that’s what best friends are for; to love you, to see the best in you, and to lift you up when you need it. Best friends always keep it real for you, holding you accountable for your decisions and actions and where you decide to take your life. So, Tonya, thanks for being the best friend I didn’t know I was missing.”

MandaPanda, I love being your best friend, and I love you. And yes, I love keeping it real too. Although I don’t know that anyone’s ever called me brutal. But I’ll take that because, you know what, that’s what tough love is sometimes.

You know, I think about the love for my daughter and sometimes what I share with her or what I ask her are those tough questions because I love her so much and I want the best for her. And I feel like that for my community. You know, women in my programs often tell me that I dish out the toughest love.

And, in the moment, they sometimes want to argue with me. And I’ll ask them, I’m like, “Why are you fighting for your own suffering right now? I am literally handing you the ticket to freedom.” But it’s crazy when our belief systems are challenged, even though they’re beliefs that don’t serve us, right?

We’ve been thinking for a long time that we’re not good enough and then someone comes along and is like, “Hey. Listen, this is just a thought. Does it serve you?” It’s optional. There are much better beliefs to choose to believe in versus this one. But because you’ve been thinking it for so long or you’ve been in patterns so long, you feel like it’s just who you are and you have no control.

And so, part of the tough love is holding up a mirror to that so you can decide on purpose, is this what I want to believe about my life? Is this who I want to be? And then I’m there just to say, “Hey, you’re so much more than you give yourself credit for. You’re capable of doing so much more. You’re capable of creating whatever it is that you want in your life.”

And then, it’s about the process of me reminding you of that as often as it takes and holding space for you to choose for yourself with no judgment. There is no right or wrong, there’s just where you are and where you want to be and uncovering what is keeping you from getting there.

And so yeah, I guess I can be brutal sometimes, but it's out of so much love. Because you’re right, MandaPanda, that’s what best friends do. So, thank you so much for that review. It really did make my day. And hey, listen, if you like this podcast, where is the review? You need to head over to iTunes or Stitcher or wherever you leave reviews and let me know, and maybe I will feature you in an upcoming Community Spotlight.

Almost 12 years ago, I sat down and wrote my first ezine. Yes, back in the day they were called ezines. It was my weekly newsletter that I sent to my community. And, at the time, my community consisted of two people; my mom and my dad, who had no idea what I was doing.

But, almost every week since then, I have been sending an email to my community. And today, we have almost 100,000 people in the French Kiss Life community. That is the power of tiny habits, my friends. I have so many examples in my personal life of the power of tiny habits.

For example, on social media, when I first started, I started at zero, just like everyone else. But I showed up almost every day, putting value into the world, putting content into the world. And today, my social media following is so much bigger because I was consistent in those tiny daily habits.

But let’s talk about health. That’s another area of my life where I’ve experienced huge rewards from the tiniest habits; the habit of drinking a lot of water every day, the habit of taking my supplements every morning, the habit of stretching when I wake up, the habit of 20 minutes of exercise on a daily basis, the tiny habit of having a salad for lunch and making sure I’m getting a lot of veggies.

Then there’s beauty habits; my daily skincare routine, brushing my teeth every single day. There are intellectual daily tiny habits that have completely changed my life; reading a good book instead of going on social media, watching a documentary instead of some mindless TV.

Then there are money habits; every week putting aside a little bit of money in savings over time has created a completely different financial situation for myself. In fact, I just received a statement this week for a 529 savings plan that I started for Sarah’s college many years ago. She was probably around six or seven years old.

And I remember thinking at the time, I don’t have enough money to be starting a college fund for her. But somewhere deep inside of me, I knew that I couldn’t afford not to do it. and so, I just started putting a little amount in that fund every single month, and today, there is enough money in that account to pay for a big portion of her college just by that tiny action that was consistent.

But then, I’ve seen the power of tiny habits in my emotional wellbeing. You know, just finding one thought that is holding me back and practicing something that feels a little bit better until I’ve created a new thought and a new belief system. Which then creates a completely different experience of the world. I start creating new evidence for it. Things outside of me begin to shift just by focusing on one thought and practicing something that feels better every single day.

And here’s the thing with tiny habits; in the moment, they seem so insignificant. In the moment, they don’t have a huge impact on your life. And oftentimes, it’s way in the future when you’re actually going to be able to experience the results of them. And so, what we often do is we start running the story of, “Why bother? It’s not going to matter anyway,” which then causes us to engage in habits that are sabotaging what we truly want.

Take the college savings plan that I was just talking about. When Sarah was six or seven, it felt like college was so far off. And in the moment, it didn’t seem like, “$20 a month, is that really going to make a difference? Is it really going to add up?" But thank God I did it anyway because that has resulted in a compound effect. That money has grown thanks to interest and consistency.

And it was the tiniest investment at the time for me. Even though my brain was saying, “Well it doesn’t really matter. You’re not going to be able to pay for her college $20 at a time.” But actually, I will be able to pay for her college because I focused on the tiny actions, and over time, that resulted in a big pile of money.

I even think about my weight loss journey. I remember when I was wanting to lose weight and really struggling because I wasn’t seeing overnight success. I started to just focus on the tiny daily actions; focusing on eating a little bit less on my plate, really tuning into my body and eating until what I call elegantly satisfied.

Now, in the moment, I was not seeing the result of doing that. In fact, there may be weeks where the scale wouldn’t budge. But over time, the weight did come off. And even better, over time, I created a healthier relationship with food. But it was in those small daily tiny actions that I was able to finally get to that point.

Same thing with exercise. It may not seem a lot just to go out for a mile walk, but imagine walking a mile for the rest of your life and what the effect of that will be for you, how that’s going to impact your weight, how it’s going to impact your health, how it’s going to impact your wellbeing. It will add up over time.

But because we don’t see the immediate effect of the tiny actions that we’re taking every single day, we often don’t give them the honor that they deserve. You know, I think about what Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” And whether you realize it or not, this effect is already present in your life.

It’s called the compound effect. And there’s a really great book written about this by Darren Hardy. But basically, he makes the argument that the path to success is not through those big wins, those overnight success stories that we buy into. It’s actually through the continuous mundane unsexy unexciting and the daily disciplines that, over time, have a compound effect on your life.

So, the compound effect are all of the little actions that you take that, over time, add up to big results. And you can have a positive compound effect or you can have a negative compound effect. So, for example, think about if you spend three hours on social media every day. Over time, what is going to be the big result? Think about what you could have done with that time instead.

Or, imagine eating a second serving every single day. In the moment, it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, right? But over time, consuming all of those extra calories will have a big impact on your health.

Think about your sink. In the moment, it’s not exciting to wash your dishes. It’s not sexy. It’s just probably something that you do. But the effect of that over time is waking up every morning and seeing a clean kitchen, having a clean sink, which then impacts how you feel. You probably start your day in a more positive way versus if you just decided not to wash your dishes.

Over time, it will compound to the point that you would have no dishes to use. It would be nasty and dirty. And then think about how that would impact how you feel every day. Over time, not doing your dishes would have a negative compound effect.

The same goes with brushing your teeth. That tiny daily action that you take every day, maybe twice a day hopefully, has an effect. Hopefully you have clean teeth and fresh breath, right? But imagine not brushing your teeth every single day. Over time, you would have a compound effect of having nasty teeth, which we don’t want.

Now, in the moment, skipping brushing your teeth doesn’t seem like a big deal. But imagine day after day of not brushing your teeth, what the effect of that would be. But again, because we’re so geared to want that immediate gratification and to see the results immediately, we often discount the power of those tiny habits.

A great example is if I were to offer you $3 million right now, or a penny that doubles each day for 31 days. Which one would you take? Most people would say, “Give me the $3 million now.” Because again, we’re so wired to want that instant gratification. But did you know, if you double a penny each day for 31 days, you’re going to end up with $10.7 million? That is the power of tiny habits and the compound effect.

Now, I’m not saying that those big things cannot happen for you. You may get the call tomorrow that Oprah wants you on Super Soul Sunday. You may get the call that you’ve won the lottery. You may get the call that you’ve just won a trip to Paris.

Those things can happen. But my experience has been that it is the progressive accumulation of the small steps that you take on a consistent basis that creates big results over time. It’s just like the rudder of a boat. If we’re sitting in a boat together and we just shift the rudder one degree. Like, in the moment, it doesn’t seem like we’re going to really go anywhere different. It still feels like we’re moving in a straight line.

But imagine, over time, where that one-degree change is going to take you. We could go from being in the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean, which, by the way, I always recommend. That is the power of these tiny habits. And I see this in my clients’ lives.

Within Slim, Chic, and Savvy, this is the work. Changing your belief just by a tiny bit, over time, creates a completely different result. Changing your environment little by little, over time, creates completely new environments. These tiny habits do pile up to create massive success in your life.

But the problem is when you want to seek immediate results and you’re not seeing them fast enough, and then you give up and you fall back into the habits that are taking you further and further from where you want to be. So, how do we embrace this concept for us?

Well, I will tell you for me, and for my clients that I see create huge success for themselves, the one thing that shifts is that we fall in love with the practice. Instead of being so fixated on the result that we want, we come back to today and we ask ourselves, what can we do today to embody the woman we want to be?

We Make the practice way more important than the result that we want to create. Why am I recording this podcast right now? Because it’s a commitment that I’ve made to myself and that I’ve made to my community. And it feels good to show up for what you say you’re going to do.

Why did I just drink a big glass of water? Because I know that, over time, hydrating my body is going to have a positive effect on my wellbeing. Now, in the moment, do I feel it? No. But I love knowing that I’m doing something good for myself.

I have fallen in love with feeling proud of myself. I have fallen in love with knowing that I have my own back and that I do what I say I’m going to do. I have fallen in love with practicing self-trust, showing up for my commitments. And because of that, it inspires me to show up for these tiny daily habits that I trust over time will have a positive impact on my life.

So, I want you to think about just today, and to look at the little things that you’re doing, and if you were to do those little things for the rest of your life, what kind of impact it would have on your life. What would be the compound effect?

So, let’s say that you just spent the last hour watching CNN, which I call Constant Negative News. Now, imagine, for the rest of your life, tuning into CNN every single day and having that constant negativity in your life. What will be the compound effect of that?

Now, that’s just my own personal preference. If you love the news and you feel like it has a positive impact in your life, keep watching it. For me personally, I feel like I can stay informed without watching CNN, or any news network all of the time.

But really think about that. What would be the effect of that over time? If you just had a donut and a pumpkin spiced latte for breakfast, imagine doing that every single day for the rest of your life. What would the effect of that be?

And it’s really important, as you think about this, not to beat yourself up. I feel like I always have to preface everything that I say around that because that’s a good example. Imagine beating yourself up every single day for the rest of your life. What would be the effect of that? Not a good one.

I simply want you to notice what the effect of your tiny habits are having on your life because, again, in the moment, it doesn’t seem like a big deal to have a donut and a pumpkin spiced latte. And every once in a while, it’s probably great if you enjoy it.

But over time, if you did that consistently, how would that effect your wellbeing? How would that effect your health, right? Maybe in the last hour, you procrastinated on writing a chapter of your book or writing the blog post. Now, in the moment, it doesn’t seem like a big deal.

Your brain may be saying, “You can do it later. It’s okay, you deserve a break. It’s all good.” But imagine, every single day, avoiding writing. You’d never get the book written. It would have a negative impact on your life. But imagine, every single day, just writing a paragraph. How many books could you write in a lifetime?

Now, in the moment, a paragraph doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. It’s very unsexy. It’s very mundane. But consider fast forwarding and going to the end of your life and imagining writing a paragraph every single day and how many books you could create or how many blog posts you could write and how many lives you could impact.

The power of tiny habits, my friends. You know, when I look now in my Google Drive and when I look within my membership site and I look at my Vimeo account and I see videos and then I see this podcast and I see all of the blogs I’ve written and the programs I’ve created, I keep drilling down to that moment where I made a decision just to sit down and do one little thing, write one paragraph, record one little video. And again, in the moment, it sometimes felt useless. But thank God I did it because now I have a body of work that was created by tiny habits.

So, I want you to think about the future you. I want you to think about something that you desperately desire to create for yourself, or maybe who you want to become, or experiences that you crave. And I want you to think about the tiny habits that you had to start practicing to get there.

so, maybe for you, you envision the version of you in the future who has financial freedom. Now, there are many ways to create that for yourself. It could be that you start putting away $100 every single month, which in the moment doesn’t feel like you’re going to make that much progress. But again, with the compound effect, it will add up over time.

Maybe it’s about you creating content every single week that you know when you put value out into the world, it’s going to come back to you. You’ll get more clients, you’ll get more exposure. And over time, you’ll earn more money because you focused on the tiny habits.

Maybe the version of you in the future is super fit and healthy and right now maybe you’re struggling with extra weight, you haven’t worked out in a while, and getting that momentum going is hard. But again, it boils down to those tiny habits.

Maybe it’s eating half of what’s on your plate. Maybe it’s substituting a lunch with a beautiful salad every single day, and again in the moment, the weight’s not going to fall off of you, but imagine doing that over time.

Imagine just 10 minutes of working out every single day, which, by the way, what you’ll find is that as you start to do these habits, you start to feel better, which often fuels you to want to do even more things that feel good. So, tiny habits yes, in and of themselves, they do create piles of success over time, but also how you get to feel about yourself for establishing these healthy habits spills over into everything else that you do.

What you’ll notice is that you start to get momentum. You start to get more energy, which then shifts how you’re feeling and how you’re showing up, which then you become a match for even more good stuff just by focusing on the power of tiny habits.

So, tell me, what is one tiny habit you’re going to start practicing in your everyday life in order to leverage the compound effect, in order to create big results over time?

It is time for J’adore. This is the part of the show where I get to share something that I love with you. And I can’t believe that I haven’t shared today’s J’adore before now. You know, every week, when I sit down to think about what I’m going to share, I’m always asking myself, what are things that I love right now that make my life easier or more beautiful?

And this one, I’ve been using for years. And I literally cannot imagine my life without it and that is my Vitamix. If you don’t have one, put it on your wish list immediately. Or just go over to frenchkisslife.com/vitamix and get yourself one.

But the Vitamix I have had for years, and that’s what I love about this high-performance blender, which that’s what a Vitamix is, in case you’ve never heard of it. But it lasts forever. And I remember when I first bought it, I thought I was insane because I think, back then – and this has been many, many years ago, I probably paid $300 for it.

That was a lot of money back then, especially for a blender. But I kept that blender forever and I ended up giving it to someone when I moved and ended up buying a new one and since then, I’ve bought my daughter one, I’ve bought friends one. It’s just that kitchen appliance that I cannot imagine my life without.

And I’m very much a seasonal eater, which means when it’s cold outside, I am eating a lot of warm foods. And so, with my Vitamix, I can make lots of soups. I can do purees; I can do anything basically in the Vitamix. And then, when it’s hot outside and I’m in my smoothie season, I can make the most delicious smoothies.

And, in fact, even though it’s winter right now, I’m on a smoothie kick. My dad, when he was sick and I was back home, I started making him a smoothie every single day that had protein. I threw in spinach, kale, a little bit of coconut oil. What else did I put in there? I think I put some chia seeds. And then I did a mixture of three different types of mushrooms that are medicinal mushrooms, you guys, not hallucinogenic mushrooms. But Lion’s Mane, Turkey Tail, and then the Stamets.

So, I did a teaspoon of those three powders. It’s really good for the immune system and your cognitive function. And so, I was making those smoothies for him every day and I was having one and I felt so incredible. So, since I’ve been back home, I’ve been doing a smoothie every single day, even though there’s snow on the ground just because they feel good in my body.

And that’s because I have the Vitamix. Now, of course, you can do this in any blender. But the Vitamix is so bulletproof and it just makes the best, creamiest smoothies because of how it blends it so well. But again, you can do so many other things with the Vitamix.

You can do ice cream in there, soups, gosh, who knows? It comes with a recipe book when you buy one. But yeah, if you do not have a Vitamix in your kitchen, it is time for an upgrade, my friend. And you are welcome in advance.

So, head over to frenchkisslife.com/vitamix to learn about this incredible kitchen machine. Have a great week, everyone.

If you enjoyed this episode and you want to dive even deeper into the French Kiss Lifestyle, let’s start with a makeover; a mindset makeover. You can download my free training, The Three Mindset Makeovers Every Woman Needs, by visiting frenchkisslife.com/mindset. Because, after all, mindset is the new black.

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