You can be 37 times better by November 2022.
In Atomic Habits James Clear explains, with the power of compounding, that being 1% better every day is equal to being 37 times better over a year.
It is easy to ignore the small decisions, micro changes, and little habit changes, because we love to have the Big Bang impact of instant gratification. The Rocky film montages encourage a belief in short term herculean efforts of change. Movies ignore the real time elapsed, and instead, they condense the work into a 3 minute, motivational clip backed by an inspiring soundtrack.
The first time I heard of the 1% better concept was a podcast with David Brailsford's. David applied this concept to supercharge the UK Olympic cycling team between 2003 to 2008. During this time the UK went from having only one gold medal in cycling since 1908 to win 60% of all cycling medals in Beijing. David also successfully managed the Sky cycling team which enabled UK riders to win not one but 5 Tour de France yellow jerseys with different riders. Brailsford's catch cry was to be 1% better at everything, even the most obscure detail.
Yet, 1% seems like such a small margin to improve. Almost too small to make a difference. In practice, it is moving 1000 steps on day one and then 1010 on day 2. On day 365 it's moving 37,409 steps.
The three questions to ask yourself to apply the 1% concept are:
1. What do I need to improve 1% each day to reach X (your goal)?
2. Is breaking the steps down in this way achievable? if not, what do I change?
3. What will stop me from using this incremental approach?
One objection to this approach is that the change takes too long. But, how many times have you given up on a goal because the lifestyle changes required on day 1 were just too big?
In relation to our wellbeing or changing habits, the power of small incremental change is significant. In fact, it is liberating. The need for large, Big Bang changes is reduced and, in turn, the pressure of change.
If the UK could go from cycling defeat to cycling dominance in 5 years being 1% better each day, what could you do in 1 year or 5 years of small sustainable daily changes?
Written by Director, Jack De Leeuw