I’ve read several books like The Compound Effect and The Slight Edge that talk about making small steady improvements for yourself. They recommend that you take small actions daily that are doable. It’s a mindset strategy that I’m really committed to because I relate more with the idea of taking small steps…essentially getting 1% better every day.
One question I often hear is, “How do you know you’re getting 1% better every day?” Well…you don’t necessarily, because it’s a tough thing to measure. I think of it more as a faith, or belief, that I’m getting better every day because I’m making an intentional effort and taking deliberate actions to work on myself.
That’s not to say there aren’t days when I have setbacks or weeks when I’m in a funk. But, what I ask myself is whether or not, in the grand scheme of things, I’m being intentional with my personal development and taking steps towards becoming the best version of myself.
So, what does this look like? Here are things I do most days to help myself get 1% better every day. Keep in mind that I’m coming at this from my personal perspective simply to give you ideas…but you may have other things to add to the list that are important to you or that fill your cup.
It’s important to take your health and fitness seriously even on the days you don’t feel like it. I aim to move every day and push myself with exercise as much as possible. This is why I take Krav Maga…because it gets me out of my comfort zone and fuels my fitness.
Other times, I add in special workouts to help me prepare for events I am going to be a part of. For example, I played in a charity softball game in my hometown. To prepare my legs for the game, I added hill running to my exercise routine. No, I didn’t want to do it, but I also didn’t want to seriously hurt myself while playing the game.
2. Eat Well Most of the Time
My goal is to have a good diet most of the time. That doesn’t mean everything I eat is going to be the best option, but I do my best. This also carries over when I go to social events. Usually, I try to make sacrifices when I’m eating out and opt for something that is healthier.
Recently, I went to a fundraising golf event where they served a dinner banquet at the end. There was a lot of delicious pasta being served. However, I decided to eat the chicken dish and salad instead of the pasta. This was a situation where I was able to make a sacrifice and eat the better option. It wasn’t the healthiest thing I could’ve eaten, but it was the better choice between the two things, and it felt good. Keep in mind these small decisions stack on top of each other and compound over time.
3. Consume Good Intellectual Content
The content you consume plays a huge role in personal development. You can invest in content that lifts you up and teaches you something…or in news or social media that drags you down. Stop mindlessly scrolling and letting outside sources influence you. Instead, be intentional with the content you consume.
I consume a lot of personal development related content in the form of books, podcasts, videos, etc. Right now, I’m going through the Optimize.me course which ends up being about three hours of video content that I consume each week. That sounds like a lot of time to spend on personal development…because it is.
The Optimize course means I have to cut down on other things so I don’t get behind on the program. It’s worth it to me because it’s good content that is helping me reach my overall mission of becoming the best version of myself that I can be.
What content can you consume that will do the same for you? If you don’t think you have enough time, you’ll need to make sacrifices and cut things out of your schedule that aren’t serving you in order to make room for content that does.
4. Establish a Morning and a Night Routine
I’ve had a solid morning routine for several years. Lately, I’ve been working at installing a night routine as well to help me sleep better and end the day well. You have A LOT more control over the way you start and end your day than you do in the middle (called the bookend strategy). For me, being intentional with how I begin and end the day empowers me and has a big impact on how I handle the day.
5. Stack Habits
One thing that really helps with working on being 1% better every day is to install tiny, easy habits into your existing routine. Tiny habits can sprout into much bigger ones. Start by anchoring it to a behavior you already do.
For example, maybe you can do 5 push-ups after you brush your teeth. You’ve already got the habit of brushing your teeth, so that can prompt you to do another small habit. Or maybe you can read a page of a book every time you put on your PJ’s before bed. Think along those terms to install small habits that can help you on your mission to be a little better every day.
What are you already doing every day out of habit or routine?
What can you add to this that will help you?
Think small, because remember, we’re talking about tiny actions, daily, that compound over time.
Each morning as part of my routine, I spend five to ten minutes in meditation. Usually, I use the InsightTimer app and listen to a guided meditation. It might not seem like very much time to spend on meditation, but over the course of the week, month, year…it really adds up.
Thank of meditation as a workout for your mind. A mental fitness routine.
Getting your thoughts out on paper first thing in the morning or throughout the day helps clear your mind. It is also a good practice to help you work through problems, flesh out ideas, or reflect on your life.
On my Morning Routine Cards, there’s a small section where I can write out a few words or a sentence of what’s on my mind. I also leave space so at night I can write out how I think the day went. It’s really beneficial to reflect on the day and make notes.
To wrap this up…the idea of getting 1% better every day is more of a concept. You want to create the best version of yourself, so you take daily action on the activities and habits that you believe will get you there. This is more of a belief, and taking daily action, to stay on track.
Remember, action fuels momentum, and momentum fuels action.
- Adopt the belief that you can do things that will help you get 1% better every day.
- Come up with tiny habits you can install and attach them to existing habits.
- Be intentional with your time, effort and attitude.
- Create a morning routine and a night routine to help you start and end your day well.