The entrepreneurial realm is an uncertain place where the landscape is constantly shifting, changing underneath our feet.
Only those who are able to stay ahead of the curve are able to win this game.
A large majority of people I know dislike change - they believe that change is unnecessary and so they do nothing to adapt to it.
In fact, lots of people ignore the change taking place in front of their eyes because they fear the outcome if they do embrace it.
Take a look at what's going on in the world today.
Facebook, one of the largest, most successful companies in the world, just changed their name to 'Meta.'
Mark Zuckerberg, the founder, did this in the hopes of pioneering the world's adoption of the 'metaverse.'
(Fun fact - Zuckerberg and I have the same birth date!)
Although there were talks about this, and it's still a trending subject, it will soon die down because the majority of our population is not ready to accept such a drastic change.
Entrepreneurs quickly learn that this type of closed mindset is not the way forward.
Entrepreneurs understand the importance of change, it's something that I had to quickly learn when I made the decision to make my own decisions.
A year or more ago, I finished my school life and decided that I'm done blindly following the status quo.
I decided that there's an entire world of possibilities and mysteries out there that await my exploration.
Till then, I had stayed in the lane that was paved for us by society, living my life day by day.
This hunger for more led me down a path of continuous self-improvement where I stumbled across the concept of improving by 1% daily.
Thanks to James Clear, author of one of my favorite books, 'Atomic Habits,' we can use the diagram above to explain the difference this seemingly small change can make.
See, consistency is a game that goes hand in hand with the compound effect, the most powerful principle in the world.
When we improve by 1% every single day, we're essentially getting better every single day.
We're improving on who we were the day before.
When this is applied for a year, we can see that by the end of the year, we're almost 38X better than who we were only 365 days ago.
On the other hand, when we get 1% worse every day, meaning slipping into bad habits, procrastination, etc, we're over 30X worse than who we were a year ago.
The question we're going to be answering today, is how do you master self-improvement and get 1% better every day?
Is this even possible?
In this article, we're going to learn about the art of continuous self-improvement.
Set small goals
To start with, we first need to identify who we are today.
What habits do we possess today, and how are they affecting our lives?
For example, one thing I've struggled with for a long, long time is my sleep.
It's common with people my age, however, for the past year (almost) I've tried to improve but made minimal progress.
Other parts of my life, however - my focus, my procrastination, my anxiety, have all improved drastically.
Take some time to think through this and make a list of everything you can come up with.
This will help us construct a list of small goals we want to achieve, things we want to work towards.
A lot of people decide to embark on the journey of self-improvement without fully understanding what they're actually improving on.
That's like waking up one day and deciding to walk out of your house with no destination, you're just going to be wandering.
On top of that, without any indication of where you're going, you can't accurately calculate your progress.
Therefore, when you set out to improve a specific aspect of your life, you're not going to understand how far you've come because you have no start or finish to compare yourself to.
Once we have a list of habits that you might want to work on, we need to now work on the small changes, the goals we're going to go after.
Going back to my example, let's say I wake up at 12pm every day.
I want this to go from 12 pm to 8am - a 4-hour difference.
We have two choices:
- Within 1 day, make the decision to wake up 4 hours earlier
- Work on this goal every day, improving only 1% daily
Whilst the first option sounds a lot better (who doesn't want to go from 0 to 1 instantly?) it's almost impossible to maintain this habit over time.
On the other hand, when we set a goal to improve our sleep by 1% every day, we're making small changes that will compound over the year(s).
See, going from waking up at 12pm to 8am, for example, not only improves my sleep, but it also improves my work style, my focus, health, and mood which also compound over the year(s).
We can refer to my article on setting smart goals here, however, we're going to discuss an alternative concept in the point following.
In the meantime, refer back to the areas in your life that you want to improve daily, and start setting small goals that you'd like to achieve.
Keep these goals safe because you'll want to come back and refer to them over your journey of self-improvement.
Recommended read: The easiest way to make good habits stick
Systemize your days
No matter what we look at in life, there are intrinsic systems and processes in place.
Systems and processes are the most important thing in any venture - business or personal.
Being well organized or systemized will always win over being a 'know it all.'
I plan on writing a stellar article that fully outlines the importance and benefits of systems and processes.
However, we're going to describe their application here today.
Your systems are the way in which you reach your goals.
For my previous example, sleeping earlier, my systems maybe these:
- How and when I finish my work
- How I use social media and limit the usage
- When I eat and have my 'me time'
- How I organize my room and prepare it for sleep
All of these things can be systemized to make reaching my goals a lot easier.
I've always said that we have a vision or a larger goal, and then we have smaller, 'SMART' goals that act as stepping stones up to that bigger goal.
These systems are the processes we follow that enable us to efficiently reach our goals.
In an article by James Clear, he mentioned how 'goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress.'
Therefore, to make the progress we're aiming for that helps us reach that 1% metric, we must focus on building the right systems and processes to get there.
To do so, think back to the goals you've set and try to deconstruct those goals.
What are the different steps, the different ingredients needed to make those goals happen?
I believe that the best explanation for this is described in my article about building an A-Team to run your marketing agency.
It describes how each player on that team is responsible for a different part of the larger system.
It describes how without one of those pieces in place, your business may stay stagnant.
I urge you to read that article to understand this concept of systems better.
Planning is always the easy part.
Preparing to do something is always the easy part.
To become a pro boxer, it's easy to tell yourself that you're going to go to the gym every day and work out.
It's easy and effortless to sit down and write out a game plan for a business venture.
It's easy to ideate a new invention.
The hard part is always the execution - when the rubber hits the road.
People don't have trouble getting started, people have trouble staying consistent and finishing.
We don't need to worry about finishing in this case because this is a continuous journey of self-improvement.
However, we do need to worry about the consistency part.
I've started multiple businesses and the reason many have failed is not that they were bad ideas.
The reason they failed is not that I lacked the skillset to go through with it.
It's not because I lacked the knowledge to grow a business.
Simply put, it's because I lacked consistency. I lacked the ability to get up after every crushing defeat with the same level of passion and give it another go.
I lacked the ability to take another hit after I was just knocked down.
Consistency comes down to a few things, however, I believe that your WHY is the most important.
Your WHY will always be the most important thing because no matter what you do you'll inevitably fail.
When we fail, we give up - unless we have something strong, something meaningful that overpowers our desire for comfort.
When you have a powerful WHY, a strong reason for doing what you're doing, you'll be able to consistently take hits and bounce back.
If you want to improve by 1% every day, you need a good enough reason behind it.
What will improving by 1% daily do for you, for the people around you, or the world as a whole?
If I improve by 1% daily, I can give my family the life they deserve.
I can retire my mum after decades of hard work and pain.
I can bring my family together again, give them the freedom to do whatever their hearts yearn for.
Among other things, my WHY is seeing my family happy - they're the most precious thing to me.
The more powerful your WHY is, the more likely you are to get back up after being defeated.
When you feel like you don't want to get up because your bed is incredibly comforting, your WHY will force you out because you have a WHY to fulfill.
As soon as you wake up to the moment you go to sleep, your WHY will drive your decisions.
You may have heard Warren Buffet say "it takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it."
This applies here too.
It can take a long time to build the consistency and momentum needed to start seeing the compounding results kick in.
However, before you know it, you can be back at square one.
That's why your WHY is so important.
It will help you face adversity and stay consistent, fulfilling your potential.
You're doing great!
In your pursuit of self-improvement, you're going to face times where you feel like you need to amp up what you're doing.
It might feel like reaching the level you want to reach takes a lot of work and effort - and it does, it's not going to be easy.
However, humans are great at overcomplicating things because it's how we've been taught to do things.
We're all programmed to believe that doing great things takes hard work, but the reality is that it takes more smart work than hard.
To build a great business, you don't need to be better than your competitors, you just need to work smarter.
You don't need to spend 16+ hours per day working, you can build a 7, 8, or even 9 figure business working 8 hours per day.
What's important is maximizing those hours spent.
That's what we learned to do in this article.
We learned to set the right goals and improve by 1% daily.
We've managed to build the systems and processes necessary to make those goals easier to reach.
And we've outlined how we'll manage to consistently follow these systems no matter what happens.
It's an extremely simple process - just follow it, and you'll start to improve by 1% per day.
Keeping track of this is crucial, it's what this final step is all about.
You want to make it part of your system to add reflect on each day at the end of the day.
Measure your success.
Outline what you managed to achieve, and see if it were any better than the day before.
This will help you physically see whether you're making progress or not.
If not, think about why that's the cases, what can you do differently to ensure you are making progress?
If you are on track, good - keep doing what you're doing.
Do this in a notepad that you can keep track of - overtime, you'll be able to flick through the pages and see how you've improved over time.
At the start, the first few days, and even months, there will be almost no recognizable progress being made.
After 7 days, you would have improved by only 1.07X.
After 30 days, you would have improved by 1.35X.
However, 90 days later, you would have improved by 2.45X.
180 days later, you would have improved by 6X.
Can you see how this compound effect works?
It doesn't need anything complicated - just simple, small goals, consistently followed by the right systems.
That's how you master self-improvement & get 1% better every day.
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