Leadership gurus say to live the kind of life you’ve always dreamed about, you have to make massive changes. THAT’S JUST NOT TRUE. The best way to make personal improvement is to create small wins, or 1% marginal gains. Finding tiny improvement in several areas of your life will yield big results that lead to sustained change and science proves it.
The first time I heard about 1% incremental change was the story about Sir David Brailsford and the British Cycling Team. The team couldn’t produce a rider able to win the Tour De France in its entire history. Brailsford felt that by improving small areas by 1%, Team Sky could produce a British cycler who could win the Tour de France in 5 years. He was wrong. In only 2 ½ years Sir Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France in 2012 and British riders have won the completion 3 times in the last 4 years. They’ve also accumulated a total of 16 gold medals in the last 2 Olympics.
How Did They Do It?
They made 1% improvements in areas you would think of such as nutrition, aerodynamics of the bike, and comfort of the seat. But what’s incredible about this story is that Brailsford produced 1% gains in areas others didn’t think about. Through research they found a pillow that provided 1% better sleep and traveled with it. They discovered the correct sleeping posture which produced another 1% sleeping gain. Then, someone found a massage gel that worked 1% more effectively, and a sanitizer that was 1% better at killing bacteria and preventing sickness. When you take all of these 1% gains and add them up, they deliver maximized benefits.
The simple idea of marginal gains is this: by making small incremental changes in your life, you can benefit from huge gains over time. The people who have discovered this hidden truth and applied it, are some of the most successful people in the world. You can be too.
The reason most people fail at achieving their goals is because they aren’t able to be consistent over time. They start with big plans and giant goals but they give up way too soon. This is why health clubs are filled with people in January and empty in March.
I learned an incredible truth from Robin Sharma, “Intention is the mother of mastery.” What you do everyday is more important than what you do once a month or once a year. Over time, you experience huge benefits and the compound effect begins to reward you.
Take a look at what you do everyday. Your actions dictate what is most important to you. Sure, you may say that you want to get into shape but when it comes right down to it, the bed is more comfortable than the run and the unhealthy food tastes better than the salad. What you do today is simply your life in miniature. Change your daily decisions and you will change your life.
“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” –Jim Rohn
This is exactly why I have created a habit called, “Begin Well, End Well.” What you do the first 5 minutes of the day and the last 5 minutes of the day can create gigantic gains in your life when you stay consistent. Creating the kind of life you desire is a gradual process of improvement rather than knee-jerk, radical changes.