The Fit Life – 2019.23 – 1% Improvements

If you’re like me, you shy away from setting massive goals. This shyness can come from a magnitude of reasons ranging from lack of time, to being scared of failure, to lack of support, to being overwhelmed with the process. These reasons and many others can hold us back from going after what we want, how we see our life, and who we ultimately want to be.

But the problem doesn’t lie in those reasons, it lies in the fact that we all think that massive success requires massive action. 

Now, let’s say you set a goal and are really excited about the day that you achieve it. You take massive action and want to be the fittest you have ever been on your 40th birthday. Your dreams are big and you set yourself on a path of success. You are a few months away from your birthday in September and are truly excited about celebrating this defining moment. 

But then summer hits and your social calendar is jammed with events every weekend. At first you challenge yourself to be 100% perfect through these weekends in order to stay on track and not let it de-rail your progress. But then your best friend gets you going and you “fall off the rails” that one Saturday afternoon. You can’t believe it. From there it spirals into a bad week and a bad month. This was the biggest personal goal you have set for yourself in a long time. And you just failed… That’s it – I’m a failure. I might as well give up now.

Your mindset starts to shift and you give up. You have this vision that massive success requires massive action and no failure. And you believe you can’t achieve your goals now…

But what if MASSIVE SUCCESS doesn’t require MASSIVE ACTION?

What if you just got “back on the rails” and pushed through each day making better choices?

Take the life changing events that happened to the British Cycling Team, after hiring a new Performance Director, for example. Up until this date in 2003, the team had nothing but mediocre results. Since 1908, they had only won one gold medal in the Olympics and their results in the Tour de France were even worse with zero wins. They even began to lose their sponsors…

What was this new Performance Director going to do different than previous coaches to change their path? It was his commitment to a strategy that he referred to as “the aggregation of marginal gains” – finding small wins in every possible area of biking.  He would dive into understanding every possible factor that goes into riding a bike, improve those factors by just 1% and when you pull all of those together you would see a significant improvement in success. And so they got to work.

They started off with the more obvious areas that you might expect a cycling team to improve:

  • –> More comfortable bike seats
  • –> Heated shorts to maintain ideal temperature
  • –> Wore sensors to gain valuable feedback on workout performance
  • –> Wore lighter more aerodynamic suits

But they didn’t stop there… They made small improvements in areas you would never think of:

  • –> Tested massage Gels for fastest recovery
  • –> Improved hand washing to reduce sickness
  • –> Personalized pillow and mattress for best sleep
  • –> And… Painted the inside of their team truck white so they could better see any dust that could degrade the performance of their bikes

These 1% improvements in very unrelated areas all pooled together and the results came crashing in. This team went from less than mediocre into world champions with small changes. That’s it. Nothing extravagant or massive.  Small improvements that accumulated to remarkable results.

How do these small improvements add up to such amazing results? And how can we make these 1% differences in our own lives to achieve remarkable results and have the confidence to go after massive goals even with slip ups?

Improving by 1% usually isn’t really noticeable and definitely not notable. And brings us sometimes to overestimating the importance of big events and not realizing the importance of these small changes that can make a big difference in our lives if repeated over and over again.

But what if you got 1% better every day for a year at one particular thing? Or what if you got 1% worse every day? If you were making that daily decision, the 1% either better or worse may not seem like a game changer, but add those daily decisions up over the course of the year and the bad decision person vs the good decision person will look vastly different.  

So, what is the bottom line about small improvements?

  • –> small choices that seem insignificant can define who you are once they are compounded
  • –> there can be a big gap between those who make good decisions every day to those who don’t
  • –> it’s ok to make a bad decision once, just don’t let it compound – “never miss twice”
  • –> mistakes will happen, just get back on track

So the next time you set a massive goal, don’t forget to take a look at the little daily things you can do to make a big difference. Get back up if you fall off track. The significant things in our lives aren’t stand alone events. They are the sum of all the choices you make. Make those choices 1% better and you will see remarkable results.

What can you do to make a 1% improvement today?

Increase your sleep by 5 min per day over a two week period to gain an extra hour

Add an extra one cup of greens to your day

Add 10 minutes of mobility work to your workout

There are many more small tweaks you can make to your routine to build up the habits required for sustained success in your fitness and health. If you are interested in changing your habits and in turn changing your life, email me and we can get started on a yearly plan to Living the Fit Life.


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