Fri. Aug. 17, 2012 by Janet Thomson, MSc

The world has watched the London 2012 Olympics in amazement; much of the talk in the UK is “What will be the legacy?” After years of planning and with challenging financial times still prevalent, we don’t want it to be over without leaving us a parting gift. If I offered you a gift: the choice of one penny which would double every day for 31 days, or 1 million right now, which would you choose?

The most valuable “Olympic-Size” gift for every person on earth

Perhaps the ultimate gift I could offer would be a change of attitude. With the focus on physical excellence how fitting that an Olympic legacy might include some aspect of emotional excellence. If we can watch and admire so many athletes dedicate endless hours to training physically, let’s also acknowledge their mental and emotional achievements that have had to be sustained over many years, in order for them to achieve their goal.

Currently there is a hunger for instant fame – celebrity – success. Many young people see “celebrities” created by reality shows appearing in magazines dressed in designer clothes and think they have “made it”. Wanting instant results is perhaps a sad indictment of our current culture.

The ultimate “take home” message – especially for our children

So what parting gift have the athletes left us? Mo Farrah achieved an astonishing double gold; in his interview spoke specifically to young people when he said “with hard work and dedication you CAN achieve whatever you want”. Now that’s what I call a role model.

The good news is that few of us have Olympic Gold as our goal; most of us want to achieve better physical or emotional health, to change our job or relationships. We don’t need to get up at 5 a.m. and put in eight hours of hard physical training to achieve it, or to remove ourselves from family and friends for months on end as part of a strict regime; we just need to make some small but key changes, and repeat them over time, and our dreams can come true.

Let’s get back to the great money question

If you took the one penny doubling each day that I offered, by day two you would have 2p, by day 3, 4p on day 4 – 8p. After one week you would have just 64p. By the end of week 2, you would have £81.92p – part way into the third week, (well over halfway into the 31 days), you would accumulate a grand total of £655.36. Not quite the £1 million you could have had, but if you wait, allowing the initial 1p repeating its act of doubling each day, by day 28 you would have just over £1 million, day 29 over £2.5 million, day 30 £5 million and on day 31, the last day, you would have £10 million. This is the value of compound interest.

If you imagine every thought you have has the same potential to double its worth when repeated daily, would you be a little more careful what you think? If each negative thought repeated daily doubled in value, how much harm could that seemingly tiny thought do over time? How much healthier would your mindset be if you generated a few positive thoughts, specifically directed at making tiny changes in your behaviour.

Now – is the time – to ask an important question

When it comes to our health 31 days is a very short time, yet it is enough to make a real and definite change that can bring real and lasting results. If you were asked what would you like your legacy to be – what would you say? What choices do you need to start making so that you achieve your own gold medal?


About the author: Janet Thomson is a best-selling author and television expert. She originally trained as a nutritionist and exercise physiologist before turning her attention to helping people change their minds as well as their bodies using a range of psychological techniques and therapies. She now runs her own private practice in the Midlands and North London and presents a one day workshop across the U.K. For more information about her latest book, “THINK MORE EAT LESS”, a range of accredited courses for other therapists plus much more – visit: