Over the past few weeks, I’ve been reading Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Onesby James Clear. The premise of the book encourages readers to seek to make improvements – micro improvements – as part of their daily lives.
Clear opens the book with the following, “It is so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis. Too often, we convince ourselves that massive success requires massive action. Whether it is losing weight, building a business, writing a book, winning a championship, or achieving any other goal, we put pressure on ourselves to make some earth- shattering improvement that everyone will talk about.”
He goes on to explain that a simple one percent improvement – one percent every day – though indecipherable in the moment, over time, makes a notable difference. As a math lover myself, I was particularly intrigued with his calculation of the quantitative difference a one percent improvement every day over one year makes – the daily tiny improvement leads to an overall improvement of 37 times! Conversely, getting worse by one percent each day takes your decline down to nearly zero. As Clear says, “What starts as a small win or a minor setback accumulates into something much more.”
Not sure where to start? Located in my hometown, Kansas City, is the headquarters of GPS technology company, Garmin International (Olathe, Kansas). I learned recently that one of its internal corporate mottos is “Beat Yesterday.” It’s meaning: Make today even better than yesterday. I love this concept! It really crystalizes, in a hopeful and forward looking way, James Clear’s approach to building good habits – which are the compound interest of self-improvement. So, how about selecting just one area to focus on today – to focus on for this year – and branch out from there? Consider improvements in relationship building, personal health, career satisfaction, language and communication skills, etc.
So, where will you begin? For me, I will continue to expand, enhance and deepen my connections to others around the globe. Let’s get after it – one percent at a time – together.