By Jackie White
What happens to someone when they push themselves just a little bit harder? I don’t mean changing your entire world in the pursuit of a dream or goal. What I mean is what if you just did 1% better every day?
Certainly doesn’t sound like that would be that earth-shattering, right? The truth is, you will likely not notice in the everyday short-term effects of you pushing yourself 1% more. It’s itsy bitsy. But, here is the amazing magic of 1% better each day, you will find yourself 37 times better by the time you are done! Ta-dah! I felt that needed a little fanfare!
Huh, what’s the math on that stat? I am no math wiz, but here is what James Clear explains in his book Atomic Habits:
1% better per day simply means to get a little better each day. 1% better each day, compounded over a year (365 days), is 3800% better each year. 1% worse each day, compounded over a year (365 days), means you lose 97% of your value each year.
Here’s another way to look at this. In the game of life, continuous improvement is what is going to move the needle, but also avoiding tiny losses is important too. What that means is that doing fewer things wrong is actually more important than doing more things right. Here is what I mean:
Eat fewer unhealthy options
Couch surf less often
Watch less tv
Waste less time
A Real-Life Couch Potato Example
Here is a real-life example for you to think about: Let’s say you wanted to run a 5K and yet your butt hasn’t left the couch in years, how do you go from a non-runner to someone running a whole 3.1 miles? What if you have seriously never ever run at all? Well. let me introduce myself, it’s Jackie, the girl who could never run the 12-minute mile in gym class. I mean seriously if you ever saw me running, there would have to be some sort of wild animal chasing me, because Gurl, it was not going to happen! However, at age 45 I ran my first 5K! I ran the whole damn thing, slow as can be, but I did it. How. you might ask? I used the app Couch to 5K and it challenged me just a little bit more every day and low and behold in 9 weeks I went from a chip-eating couchslug to the owner of a big gold medal badge that says I am a runner who completed a 5K! That’s big stuff, people!
It’s the small and tiny habits that take you down the road less traveled. It could be quite literally down the road, as in my 5K example, or it could be just doing a little bit more than average at work each and every day. It can be replacing a cookie with an apple every day or choosing to be less negative every day, just a little bit. You can flood your life with amazing feats of living by just going the extra mile, not all in one big bite, but in tiny choices, you can make daily.
When you look at it like that it doesn’t seem that painful. You now know the secret to pulling ahead of the crowd or beating your own personal best in whatever arena you want to improve. Tiny habits, small choices, and doing fewer things wrong are your ticket to achieving all those things in life that maybe before you only dreamed of!
Go for the 1% and Shine On!
Jackie White has been writing about life and its ups and downs for many years. With a degree in Industrial Psychology and a life-long student of personal development she is intrigued by how each individual chooses to live their life. Jackie feels strongly that truly living your best life is imperative to attaining peace and fulfillment. SoulShine was borne of her desire to inspire and teach others to live their best life. This is her mission and her dream.