Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Improvement Can Be Quick Or It Can Last: Which Do You Want?

There is a philosophy in life that talks about how self-improvement is a game of small gains. Part of the reason that we fail when trying to make things better is that we go for big changes. And when they don't work out we get depressed and wonder why we bother. Regression to the mean follows, and nothing gets better. The saying goes as follows: "Do 100 things one percent better". Do that, and the benefits are clear.
Image from WikiMedia Commons
This is a useful philosophy, in no small part because it is versatile and applicable across an entire life. You can make your work performance better by this approach of small gains. You can keep your home cleaner by just doing little bits, often. You can improve personal relationships, academic performance and anything else you can name. You just need to not try to do it all at once.
Whatever it is you are looking to improve, take this attitude and see how big a difference just one percent can make.
Image from WikiMedia Commons

Diet: Instead of going from burgers and pizza to naked green salads every day, look at how you prepare food. There is a wide range of cooking oil selections; pick one that is healthier. Drink cold water instead of sodas when you are thirsty. Small differences can build up.
Personal Life: We all tell ourselves from time to time that we need to be more patient, more positive or more outgoing. However, to change everything at once is just about impossible. Our personalities are what they are, and a total makeover is probably not even what we need. Instead, think about how you approach situations. Change how you look at things. Real, lasting change is gradual.
Image from PixaBay
Work: There is pretty much no job we do these days that doesn't involve targets. We need to make this many calls, close this many cases, make this many things. As well as mandated targets, we all have our own. While 100% would be ideal, it's sometimes not possible. Look to simply improve by 1% at a time, and you'll find that your improvement comes easier and really lasts.
Image from Wikipedia
Physical Fitness: One of the worst places that you can try to hit 100% is in the gym. Throwing yourself into a routine and trying to go too far, too fast is something we are all guilty of, to start with. There's a bravado element to it, and an impatience too. Starting steadily and building up day on day, you'll give yourself a platform for continued improvement. It's more efficient, it lasts and injury is much less likely.

There is a mindset that says "I want it all, and I want it now". Numerous song lyrics have followed those exact words, and the mindset is understandable. However, although not as catchy from a motto point of view, "I want it eventually and I want it realistically" works better. "Eventually" always comes around sooner than you would think, if you give it the chance to. You just need a bit of patience.

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