I was listening to a Tim Ferriss podcast recently while I driving home from Asheville, NC. I don’t remember who he was interviewing but they talked about a concept that really resonated with me and I wanted to share it with you.
The concept was that of pursuing 1% improvement. What if you could improve yourself by 1% every month? Where would you be in 1 year? How would your life be different in 5 years or 10 years? 1% improvement seems very manageable, like something you could work towards in just minutes each day.
Though I wasn’t actively working towards a specific 1% improvement, its this “baby step” approach that I used to help me achieve massive weight loss. I knew I couldn’t do everything all at once. I had tried that before. I would quickly become overwhelmed and feel like a failure and give up. I took an incremental approach to my weight loss and it made all the difference. I’d work to adopt one small change, practice it, master it, become comfortable with it and then move on to something else. Over time it resulted in a complete, radical transformation.
It was late September when I first heard this concept and I decided I’d do an experiment, taking it quite literally. I decided to pursue a 1% improvement in my body composition each month for 3 months. Every morning when waking up I’d write down the one or two things I was going to do that day to push towards that goal. Some days it was a workout. Other days it was a commitment to avoid specific trigger foods that were challenging me (nuts is a big one for me!). I am determined to reduce my body fat by 1% each month in October, November and December.
What if you decided to improve your mindset by 1% each month. Let’s say that this month you decide to work on eliminating all negative self talk. Each day when you wake up you write down 1 thing you love about yourself. Every time negative thoughts come into your head you replace them with the days one positive affirmation. Think about how much improved you’d better and happier you’d feel after one month!
What if you decided to improve your health by 1% this month. To do that, maybe you opt to cut out artificial sweeteners. Every morning you take a minute to think about why its important to you and how you’re going to go about it. I recently did this and I was surprised at what a positive difference it made in my cravings and hunger. Until I removed the artificial (and natural) sweeteners, I didn’t realize how much they were increasing my hunger and cravings! When I stopped putting stevia in my coffee and drinking naturally sweetened diet sodas my sugar cravings virtually disappeared. There’s no question that this improved both my health and my physique.
Sure, 1% is a little arbitrary and requires some estimation, but the bottom line is this: when you constantly strive for very small, manageable improvements, the effect is exponential. A year or two from now you’ll hardly recognize the healthier, happier you!