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  • Writer's pictureLeon de Leeuw

The 1% rule to turn your life around

It wouldn’t be strange to state that people want to reach their New Year resolution goals in general, just not enough to start working towards them now. Rather, they wait for New Year’s to make the step. If people wait for that point, do they really want it? Does the start of the new year help, as a sort of psychological blank slate?

What would then be the reason people don’t typically live up to their resolutions? It takes a lot to really stop smoking or to start working out daily. It’s not easy to keep going as soon as you fit into your favorite jeans again.

Some people need adversity or a life-changing event to change a bad habit and then start a good one. A doctor warning you to stop smoking now. The end of a long relationship. A friend you trusted whom disappoints you. But typically, New Year’s day doesn’t cut it to end bad habits and start good ones. The holidays are a joyful period but in a few days it’s back to work and the grey weather of January gets your mood down. This contrasts against the holidays, you we were surrounded by loved ones.

So instead of highlighting New Year’s as the day of change, let’s make it today instead. After all, whether you are starting now or on New Year’s, you’ll have to face the bland January 2nd and at least you can now get a head start. Whereas you would otherwise get to the gym having a headache of the champagne. You’d then be far more likely to give up on your gym goal right away.

So start now. Make your habit so structured that it becomes non-negotiable. You don’t get that donut or the pack of cigarettes. Whatever it takes. Think of breathing. That’s something you really want even though you never think of it. If you wanted to reach your goal as much as you wanted to breathe air deep into your lungs, what would you be doing at this point? Wouldn’t you have your running shoes on?

Be hard on yourself. You can still practice love of self while being tough. In fact, you can be hard on yourself just out of practicing the love of self. It wouldn’t be unlikely that you’re performing at only some 30% of your capacity. First, make a goal you can actually reach. Then set course for 1% improvement per day. This makes for a 180 degree shift in your life. You can’t lift as heavy as you’d like on your first day in the gym, you won’t lose 10 pounds in a day. So reach the 1%. Make the 1% a division of good activities. You can pick them up as you go through the day. Your main goal will fit in as well as other things. As long as, by the end of the day, you’ve made your 1%.

In just half a year, you can turn your life around. You’ll start looking for things to improve. Your room will be cleaner than ever. Your car will be shining and your hair will be neat. You’ll wear polished shoes and your jeans that you now fit. You’ll have one drink and then switch to something without alcohol if that’s your goal. You’ll introduce yourself to new people to overcome your shyness. You’ll be the person you deserve to be – just by improving 1% every day. It doesn’t happen by setting goals like most people do – “100% in one month or it doesn’t work and I give up.” You should feel relieved having to improve just 1% a day. It will feel like keeping a ship moving in the right direction. You just need to steer a few degrees left and right, it will not even take much effort anymore.

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