You’ve probably finished setting your business goals for 2022, but what about your personal goals?
Sometimes business leaders skip those–so many things to worry about with revenue targets, product development, and hiring goals. But, don’t put all your focus on your employees and your business. Focus on yourself. Make your goal to improve by one percent.
That seems ridiculously low and not even worth writing down, but trust me, that one percent can make a huge difference.
What one percent has done for others
This fall, I heard a talk by Michael A. Dunn, where he detailed the story of Sir Dave Brailsford, who took the mediocre British cycling team straight to the top. Sir Brailsford based his concept on “the aggregation of marginal gains.”
That is, instead of trying to make one big thing better, you break down everything and aim for one percent improvement. Brailsford said:
“The whole principle came from the idea that if you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improved it by 1 percent, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together.”
It made a massive difference for British Bicyclists. They increased their skills and won the Tour de France six times, saw massive success in the past four Olympics, and at the Tokyo Olympics, the UK Team walked away with more gold medals in cycling than everybody else.
How you can implement one percent goals in your life
James Clear, the author of the New York Time’s Best Seller, Atomic Habits, calls this “continuous improvement.”
He gives three steps for mastering this goal-setting.
- Do more of what already works
- Avoid tiny losses
- Measure backward
That seems simple enough! Here are some examples of how that can work for you.
Doing more of what already works means not dropping current things because they are boring. Flossing, Clear says, is something we know works, but boy is it not exciting or flashy. If you’re not doing it regularly now, start with one tooth or once a week. Don’t give up on administrative tasks just because they aren’t exciting. If you get behind in your billing, your financial life falls apart.
“improvement is not about doing more things right, but about doing fewer things wrong,” says Clear. When you’re thinking about making your life better, don’t just choose things to do one percent more. Think of things to do one percent less. How much time do you waste? Start by wasting one percent less time. Then keep it going.
Measuring backward is starting where you are instead of picking an end goal. Here are Clear’s examples:
- Weight Loss: Measure your calorie intake. Did you eat 3,500 calories per day last week? Focus on averaging 3,400 per day this week.
- Strength Training: Oh, you squatted 250 pounds for 5 sets of 5 reps last week? Give 255 pounds a try this week.
- Relationships: How many new people did you meet last week? Zero? Focus on introducing yourself to one new person this week.
- Entrepreneurship: You only landed two clients last week while your average is five? It sounds like you should be focused on making more sales calls this week.
See how that works? Just start where you are and improve from there.
Making one percent changes for your own goals can make a tremendous impact on your life and your business–and it’s not overwhelming!