With most of my discussions about Goal Setting and achieving your life goals, I thought it might be important to address the concept of personal productivity. This information will very likely end up in my next book which will be centered on time management and productivity. However, I will provide you a little peak under the tent to some of that information as I am certain you will find it valuable as you are working on your goals. This title is Part One as this will be a series of 3 blogs discussing levels of productivity and why knowing and understanding this concept is so important to achieving your goals.
So, for today, we are going to discuss a concept I learned about 20 years ago, I call it “The 1% Rule”. The concept was popularized in the book titled “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson. In his book, Jeff discusses the concept of productivity from an incremental improvement perspective. We are talking about improvements that are so minimal, it is barely noticeable, at least initially. However, over time the compounding effect of daily effort applied, results in dramatic changes in whatever endeavor you are embarking on.
Jeff uses examples like the concept of taking a penny and doubling it every day, in 30 days that penny would have compounded to over $10,000,000! There are some other examples he uses that demonstrate this unique philosophy as well. As a matter of fact, Albert Einstein, a notable genius and certainly one of the smartest men in this century, acknowledge compounding interest as the eighth wonder of the world.
Now the concept of compounding interest is not our topic today, at least not from an investing perspective. Today we want to delve into the idea of how the effects of compounding daily efforts over an extended period. generate phenomenal longer term results. And we are talking about really small incremental improvements over a long time, however in just a year’s time, you could have improved by over 350%.
Let me explain it this way. Have you ever watched grass grow? Likely probably not, why? Because it would take forever, right? Exactly, but if you plant the seeds and water the lawn and make sure it gets what it needs, in just a few short weeks you have some grass. Then, within a few months, you have a fully-grown lawn that now needs to be mowed every week. Seeing the benefits of just 1% per day improvements is much like watching grass grow, initially, it seems like it is taking forever, but then it takes off now there is little you can do to stop it.
Ok, let’s make it a more practical example, let’s say for the sake of argument, you have a goal of losing weight. And let’s say you wanted to lose some weight, well you could easily set a goal of ½ pound per day. During 30 days, you would have lost 15 pounds, which is generally quite healthy for most anyone.
Now, let’s say you continued to do this for next 90 days, but instead, it’s a little harder, so we focus on merely ¼ pound per day. That would lead to an additional loss of 22 pounds. So, after 4 months you would be down 37 pounds, and for most people that would be great. Now, let’s say for the remaining 8 months, you could focus on just losing 1/10th of a pound per day for the remaining 240 days of the year. That would be an additional 24 pounds, over 8 months, for a total loss of over 60 pounds! Now for just about anyone needing to “lose some weight”, this is more than sufficient and in a year, you look exceptionally different!
Now would you be able to focus on losing 1/10th of a pound per day, or how about ¼, or even a half a pound a day? No, that would be such a small amount that you would barely even notice it, so inconsequential, you could barely measure it, but look at the results over a year. The key with the 1% Rule is that it doesn’t require significant life altering changes. It just requires some commitment and dedication to your goal and to take one step every day towards that goal. It could be as simple at making one more good decision to eat better, or exercise for a few more minute, or with a bit more intensity. The necessary improvements, are not hard, what is hard is coming up with the commitment to follow through. Each day you don’t contribute that 1% more in effort, is a day that you lose momentum and slide backwards, having to start over, losing that compounding benefit.
So, in practice my concept of 1% per day comes down to this. If you just do one more action per day that you know will take you towards your goal, this should equate to 1%. That application of one more productive task towards your goal moves you closer and then compounds on the previous days’ worth of accumulating activity. Assuming you only do this on the weekdays for a work or business application, that would be an incremental 250% over the course of 1 single year. Imagine where your business or where you would be at your job, if in a year, you had made a 250% improvement in yourself? And, if it was for every day of the year, you would see a 365% improvement! Does that make sense?
So hopefully, you can see how the 1% Rule can have such an impact in your life, just small tiny improvements daily over an extended period of time will produce amazing improvements in your life. There are 3 key things you must be certain of, to ensure that you get the most benefit of the 1% Rule. They are: 1st and foremost, you must be clear on what your # 1 Break-Thru Goal is for the year, this way you can ensure your actions are directly in line with your most important goal. The 2nd key item is to make the commitment to yourself to start, as well as see it through to the end. Without this commitment, you will waiver when you don’t see immediate results, get frustrated, and give up, right before you really get to see any progress.
Finally, the 3rd key is to ensure that you make one new additional step towards that goal each day. Doing the same thing for 365 days will not have the same impact, it may offer some results, but not a 365% improvement, like I am suggesting. Remember, you must make at least a 1% improvement each previous day to get the benefit. That is a simple as, not having that cheat meal, or 5 more minutes of cardio, or…well you get the idea, it just must be incremental to get the real compounded benefit and in a year, your world will have changed dramatically.