April 14, 2016

Those who want to achieve something but are put off by the size of the task are all too common. Instead of viewing the task in its entirety, they should be looking at making a number of small but effective changes. Each change might make the difference of one percent, but each one percent adds to the others to make a big impact.

You might want to lose weight, let’s say 20kg. It sounds like a lot, and if you constantly think about 20kg, you might miss the 200g loss that occurs. It’s only one percent and doesn’t seem like much so you dismiss it. What would happen instead if you paid attention and celebrated a little – just a one percent celebration? You might give yourself a pat on the back, or let the angel in your head say “Well done!”

This positive reinforcement leads to another good day or two of eating and exercise, and – surprise – you lose another one percent. Instead of having lost 200g, you’ve now lost nearly half a kilo. Do this for a couple of weeks and each one percent adds on to those that came before it and your weight loss is starting to look a bit more significant.

You may have planned to go to the gym but wake up to the sound of rain. Of course it would be easier to stay in bed, but the one percent mentality means that every workout counts, so up you get and go to the gym. Occasionally you’ll see results in strength or speed or energy that morning, but mostly you barely notice any difference from day to day: it’s the one percent that adds to itself and over time yields the results you want.

In our busy lives it’s hard to find time to just relax. Apply the one percent principle here, too. Of course most people claim to have too little time, but calculate the time taken in your week with all the things you have to do and you’ll find that you do have some time.

What if you took just one percent of your ‘free’ time and dedicated it to relaxation? A week has 168 hours. Let’s say you take 56 hours for sleep, 40 for work, 7 for travel and 20 for meal preparation and eating.

That leaves 45 hours, or 2700 minutes per week where you have choices of how to utilise your time.

Take one percent, or 27 minutes, per week for relaxation of your choice: a bath, reading, a massage, lying in the grass watching the sky… Whatever you find relaxing. The short period of time each week may be enough to bring your stress levels to more manageable levels.

Now what happens if you combine the above? Each one percent improvement in your eating, your exercise and your relaxation works with the rest to help you move more quickly toward the results you want.