Can You Be 1% Better Today Than Yesterday?
Most of us have areas of our lives that we would like to change for the better. That could entail making more money, exercising more, having more free time, experiencing less stress, losing weight, starting that business we have always dreamed about, making more friends, or eating healthier. No matter what we want to achieve, there is a simple rule that works effectively: being one percent better today than we were yesterday.
Having lofty goals is wonderful. We should aim high because we are capable of so much more in our lives than we think. Whether our goal is to successfully run a marathon, create a multi-million dollar business, lose fifty pounds, or travel the world, we can indeed achieve it if we remember one simple rule: we need to take steps in that direction each day, even baby steps, and be at least one percent better than we were yesterday.
Have you ever been inspired to chase a dream, only to have that feeling of inspiration dissipate over the next few days? Well, you are not alone. So many people experience moments of inspiration and motivation and plan to make big changes in their lives, only to discover that the ‘pumped-up’ emotions they experienced slowly wither away over the next few days or weeks. They revert back to their old ways and get stuck in a state of inertia. All of us have experienced this at some point in our lives.
Why do so many people experience that initial burst of inspiration and motivation yet fail to achieve their goals? There are three main reasons for this:
- They set ambitious goals but lack a daily plan detailing how to go about it. Once the initial euphoric feeling of inspiration wears off, they look at the mountain they want to climb and get overwhelmed. Without a daily plan, they freeze with fear when they think about the lofty goal they want to achieve. Instead of taking small steps and moving forward, they over-analyze their goals (paralysis by analysis) and get scared. Suddenly, that 26.2 mile marathon seems too far, the fifty pound weight loss too daunting, or running that successful business too difficult.
- They look for shortcuts instead of taking the simple necessary steps. Human beings often want to ‘cheat’ and take the easiest path by cutting corners and hoping for the best instead of performing the simple tasks necessary each day. Instead of exercising for twenty minutes each morning in order to lose weight, they seek a magic pill or ‘special’ piece of gym equipment. Rather than sit down and write a few pages of that book they want to publish, they try to copy the work of other writers. They spend precious time looking for shortcuts which do not exist rather than getting down to doing the simple things that work. They buy all the latest self-improvement books rather than implementing what they already know.
- They stop doing the simple things that were bringing them closer to their goals. Instead of continuing their morning exercise routine which helped them lose three pounds, they get complacent and stop exercising. Or they experience a little success in their business and then stop doing the very things that got them to that point. Or they feel better after stopping drinking alcohol and, instead of perpetuating it, they go out and celebrate with a bottle of champagne. In other words, they get complacent and forget to perform the small tasks that brought them initial improvement. They stop swimming or treading water and that causes them to sink.
- They expect big results too quickly and get discouraged. Rather than taking small steps and making incremental improvements over time, too many people expect unrealistic results too prematurely. They forget that almost all success is the result of performing simple tasks over an extended period of time. It is tantamount to buying that magical lottery ticket and then getting disappointed when they do not win. That is not how life and success work. They fail to see that a steady drop of water can erode even the hardest rock.
So what is the answer to achieving success in anything? Small steps that lead to constant improvement. Forget trying to lose those fifty pounds in a month. Instead, take baby steps and strive to be one percent better than yesterday. Start by exercising for one minute today, then slowly increasing the exercise duration each day, say by fifteen seconds. Write one hundred words of that book today and increase that by one percent the next day. Meditate for five minutes (300 seconds) today and add a mere three seconds tomorrow.
Slow and steady is the way to go when it comes to achieving your goals. There are no secret shortcuts or magical pills. The magic lies in making small, incremental improvements over time. All you need to do is to be one percent better than yesterday. That’s it! A small, measly one percent! All of us can do that.
You may not see tangible results in the short run, but I guarantee you that you will see significant progress and results if you follow the one percent rule. One key point to remember is that, similar to placing your savings into a compounding interest bank account, the small successes will compound and lead to ever-increasing success levels. You will continuously build upon your previous success and the positive results will become exponentially more significant. The mistake that most people make is giving up early in the game when they do not detect tangible results.
Success is not a destination, it is an ongoing process. Successful people know that improving by a mere one percent each day leads to a 365% improvement over a year, and that is without any compounding! Just think about where you will be and the level of success you will attain if you simply improve by one percent each day. That is where the magic happens.
So, ask yourself this: how can you improve by one percent today?