1% better - doing something small is better than doing nothing at all

1% Better: Small Is Better than Nothing at All

As my family and I prep for our 3rd cross-country move in two years (yikes), we’ve been putting an emphasis on doing incrementally impactful work each day.

We’ve decided on this because we know, from much experience, how horrible it is to wait until the last minute to get everything done.

If we arrive on move-out day with nothing packed. We’ll be burdened with loads of laundry, and trinkets all over the floor, there’s no *easy* way to recover from that.

This time around, I’ve really learned to embrace what I refer to as the “1% Prescription”.

What is the 1% prescription?

I’m what you might call a classic example of a try-to-do-way-too-much individual. Like, all the time.

It’s caused me to miss out on a lot of great things in my life because I’ve always pushed myself to realize every idea I conceive as immediately as possible.

As you can imagine, this hasn’t resulted in me accomplishing as much as I perceived I would.

No, quite the opposite.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been shown (very clearly) the error of my ways. I started dedicating myself to this notion of doing 1% better at something highly impactful, every day for a month.

1% better doesn’t sound like much. It really isn’t. But that’s the beauty of the principle.

I can can do the smallest thing better today, and continue on that path over time, I at least know I’ll stick with it.

If I try to do 12 things at a 10% better per day rate, I might only make it 2 days before I quit. I’d ultimately revert back to 0%, and it would be a wasted effort.

Alternatively, a 1% daily boost equates to consistent growth each day. This totals up to a 30% positive tilt in results after only one month.

How does the 1% better improvement process work?

For example, if I make it my goal to start exercising:

  1. Start from a place of honesty → “I am exercising 0 times per day or 0 times per week”
  2. Determine your end goal → “I will lose 50 pounds and then complete a half marathon”
  3. Lay out the plan to get there → “I want to exercise 4 times per week, and take a long walk the other 3 days”
  4. Identify what 1% growth looks like → “For this goal, 1% better looks like performing the baseline requirements to reach my goal, plus one extra rep at the gym or 2 extra minutes walking”
  5. Start taking those actions THAT VERY DAY → “I’m going to start now so I show myself that I’m committed and don’t make exceptions”


Look, I’m not naive. I understand that this is easier said than done.

But let’s come back to my experience with moving currently. I made a goal to be completely packed and prepped for the move next Saturday morning.

In order to reach that goal, I need to at least make one trip down to the garage per day. 1% better for me looks like adding an extra box each day to the load. It looks like transferring our insurance to a new address.

If you take anything away from these thoughts, let it be this:

Doing something small beats doing nothing at all.

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