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Education

Little Changes make a Big Difference

Little Changes make a Big Difference

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I recently purchased a car after going 18 months without one. I took public transportation, I am proud CTA card carrier, and on the few occasions I needed a car I rented one. I found it a great experience and I saved money. I also did a lot more reading, not work related, and even a bit of meditation while riding the EL. But I moved from one job to another and although I could take public transportation the time to commute was double the driving time.  It was time for a car. However when the weather gets bad I will definitely put the car in the garage and become a rider rather than the driver.

In searching for a new car I found I had a few things that were not negotiable. I need four wheel drive due to the amount of winter and snow driving I do. Safety and reliability were also big concerns for me. I wanted the best possible mileage but that came after the other points. So the search began.  When I finally made my decision I got all the key elements and the best possible mileage, within my price range, but it really wasn’t the mileage I wanted. I thought I could get better than 30 mpg on the highway even with four wheel drive and all the safety elements, but the best I could do was about 27. I did a bit more research and found that driver behavior is a key element to improving gas mileage. If I follow the “best mileage” guidelines, which are very minimal changes in my driving behavior, I actually get about 33 mpg on the highway.

That got me thinking about what other little behavioral changes could I make that might improve other elements of my life. What did I want to improve, health, career, family? Could I take my kids to the library and read one book to them, even once a month, to create a new generation of readers? Could I turn off the TV for an hour a night and play a game with everyone in the house to help all of us get along better? Could I walk up and down the stairs rather than take the elevator, or park a bit farther away from the door, to improve my own health? Could I ask the other members of my household to help me plan the meals for the week to encourage them to try new foods? Could I do a task at work in a slightly different way to give myself more time or more visibility? I am talking about little steps, nothing too big.

Think about what you want to achieve, better gas mileage or better health or better relationships or a better job, and identify the small steps that move you in that direction. Once you take the small steps the bigger steps are easier and you have some experience in moving.