I am always looking for ways to motivate. When there are days that I don’t feel like doing something, I need a little push from within. Recently I read a book about habits; how to break bad habits and how to make good habits. While I didn’t learn a lot from the book, I was reminded just how important habits are to our overall health and well being.
Upon reflection of my own personal habits, I wonder how many times it takes to get good at something and how long my desire will be to make that something a habit. As I recall the early days of going to the gym to workout, I can remember the fun I would have just being around new people. While that fun is always present, it became habitual. I then had to find another avenue of motivation when going to the gym and that quickly became noticeable in my mental state. I felt so much better mentally after a workout. While this is my main purpose of working out, it too became habitual. Over time I wanted to take the next step in my working out and had a big desire to help motivate others; so now, after a year and a half I now work at the gym (3rd Degree Training) that I attend as a motivator. So what is next?
My motivation now has to come within. I have to continually improve on my form, my speed (when warranted) and my strength. I now need to work on all of the finer details of my workout “routine”. Breathing better, stretching better and moving more efficiently. It’s crazy but I will not allow my workout to be a ritual. It must remain a habit, a habit of self-improvement everyday that I go. So, how can I quantify that?
The power of 1%.
I believe that each time we do something in a habitual nature, we become 1% better than the first time we did it. So, think back to the first day on your first job. Day 1, you learned probably the first 1% of what you could do 100 days later. You found the washrooms, you settled your desk, you know where the tools are, etc. Then comes 100 days later and it becomes quite apparent (barring any unusual job situation) that you are 100% better than the first day you started. I guess it makes sense that most jobs have a 3 month probationary period. That would be just around the 60-100% mark.
Looping back to my workout habit, I know that I was 100% better than the first time I showed up and could barely do a push-up from my knees. Now, here I am about my 200 workout mark, I am quite confident that I am 200% better than that day. I can “easily” do push-ups from my toes. It is the power of 1%.
So, as you embark on a new habit that you truly want to make good on. Remember the power of 1%. Everytime you perform your habit, you get better by 1% than the first day you did it. It may see like a small step at first and huge in scope, but each performance you put in, you are in fact getting better at what you set out to do… 1% at a time.