“The elevator to success is broken. You’ll have to use the stairs…one step at a time” – Jo Gerrard
The Japanese have a name for the strategy that relies on tiny, continuing improvements to create change. It’s called “Kaisen”.
And with all the people I have worked with both as a coach and a pilates instructor, I have noticed that the people who take daily baby steps towards their goals have a better chance of actually achieving their goals. In fact most of the successful people I’ve met, don’t kill themselves accomplishing tons every day. They take small bite sized actions consistently.
This might sound counter-intuitive. Most of us think jumping in with both feet means great big actions. But the truth is, rarely is anything in life ‘one big action’. It’s usually a string of small accomplishments that leads to the big accomplishment.
For example, running a marathon. Unless you’re a top athlete, you will need to train for this goal. Having run one myself, I can tell you the training included a lot of short runs before the long runs.
Ask any writer how they wrote their book or script? They will likely tell you that they started with an outline and then plugged away at it daily.
In fact, look at yourself as a child learning anything…reading, piano, tennis…you weren’t thrown onto the tennis court expecting to win a match! You likely practiced hitting balls off the wall, then volleyed with another person, etc.
Just to prove my point even further:
Dave Brailsford was the GM and Performance Director for Team Sky (Britain’s professional cycling team). They had never won a Tour de France until Dave Brailsford took over and implemented his “aggregation of marginal gains” strategy (taking small actions every day). He figured if they followed this daily practice, they would win it in five years.
They won it in two.
And here’s what it is: aim for improving 1% every day.
For example, think about your body weight. You don’t lose or gain 50 lbs over night. You make daily distinctions to either improve your health, or inhibit it. The weight is either gradually shed, or gained.
This is true for any goal you want to achieve.
But, when we are in a rut or frustrated with our current life, we want instant change and even faster results. However, to create lasting change and achieve big goals we have to break it down to doable, small steps. 1% is more than enough. Do the math…if you improve 1% a day…then at the end of the year you will have improved 365%!
Now for me, my 1% is based on a certain amount of time I work on a project. Again, I make it easy to succeed (I warned you, you’ll hear that a lot in this book.) so I set the goal to work on my project 15 minutes a day. That’s it. That’s how this book got written. I sat and wrote with the intention of writing for only 15 minutes. Now obviously, if I went over and wrote for a few hours, that was great! But, if I had said I had to write at least an hour a day? I can assure you it would still be ‘in progress’ waiting to be completed. By working on it for only 15 minutes a day, I actually expanded the manuscript at least 1% a day.
So, where can you improve your life by 1% today?
Look at your goals, and decide today what a 1% improvement would look like. What can you do TODAY to get 1% closer to your goal? What baby steps, if taken consistently, will get you the results you want? Then tomorrow, ask yourself the same question. Every day, decide and do whatever that 1% improvement is.
And of course, if you need support with this, get in touch and we’ll work on this together.