The power of 1% : How making small changes over time can help you achieve maximum results

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Have you ever thought about what it would look like to improve your productivity, fitness, business, or skill by 1%. 

Do you realize how much value you could get out of that?

That's what the 360 Man Project is all about, continuous improvement.

Applying 1% changes over time in certain areas of your life can pack more bang for your buck than trying anything else.


The Principle of Marginal Gains

In 2002, the cycling world changed. Sir Dave Brailsford became head of British Cycling.

Just to get some perspective. British Cycling hadn't won a gold medal in 76 years. Sir Dave was destined to put an end to that streak.

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At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, his squad won seven out of 10 gold medals available in track cycling, and they matched the achievement at the London Olympics four years later. Sir Dave now leads Britain’s first ever professional cycling team, which has won three of the last four Tour de France events.

How, you ask. He had one simple principle. He wagered that if the team broke down everything they could think of that goes into competing on a bike, and then improved each element by 1%, they would achieve a sizable increase in performance.

Clearly, his gamble paid off.


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%, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together
— Principle of marginal gains explained by Dave Brailsford (2012)

What does this mean for us?

What if we applied the same principle to our life?

What if we took our life and broke it down into four of the largest impact areas and split that into separate components?

  1. Faith
  2. Family
  3. Finance
  4. Fitness

What would it look like to improve our Faith, Family, Finances, or Fitness just 1%.

When we look at it as a small percentage it doesn't seem so impossible does it?

We always hear the term balance. 

"All you have to do is try and live a balanced life, everything in moderation, don't overdo it, etc..."

There is no such thing as balanced. We have way too much going on in our lives, but there are things that will allow you to get the most bang for your buck. Working on these areas will overlap into all other aspects of your life.

Let's take a look at an example of how we can do this.


Fitness

Do you know what the top 10 New Year's Resolutions are?

Guess what is number one?

Yep, losing weight and getting fit. Here are the stat's if you want to see them.

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Don't act surprised.

It's almost everyone's resolution, but only around 8% of people actually stick to it.

What is the reason that most people do not complete their resolutions?

Because they complicate the crud out of everything. They try to change their whole entire life in twelve days days.

It just doesn't work.

I know, because it used to be me.

I used to make no time for this area of my life, and it showed. I lacked energy, focus, drive, and ambition. I was 30 pounds overweight, and always wanted to be in shape.

I would read magazine articles or internet articles about getting in shape. I watched movies where I saw guys in peak physical condition and wanted to look like them. I had at one point even told myself that there was no way to do that.

I thought that they could only look like that because they were in the gym all day and because they were paying trainers to feed them and workout with them all day.

They didn't have real jobs. 

The people in the gyms who looked great and were in excellent shape, well, those people were just crazy and had no life.

I was wrong.

I made a graph of how I used to spend my time  and compared it to how I now use my time. This was after making just a 1% improvement in a few areas of my life.


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As you can see, I used to spend little to no time on fitness at all. Most of my time was spent working or sleeping. There was family time and other stuff which was mostly eating out and spending money.

  • I did nothing to improve my health and wellness.
  • I did nothing in the area of finance, so I had no idea about money or how to use it
  • I spent a lot of time doing things that weren't adding value whatsoever.

I know that there are a lot of you who do the same.


Before


The Process

I wanted to add some more family time, fitness time and room for my finances.

I solved the fitness and family time simultaneously. I engineered my morning.

I started waking up at 4:30 am.

This helped me to get a workout, a shower and breakfast in, all before my family was awake. It also allowed me to spend some time in prayer, reading or working on this website.


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I realized that I didn't need a lot of sleep. I just needed quality sleep.

Waking up early helped me solve several problems:

  1. I have time to exercise
  2. I have time to read and pray, and work on other projects
  3. I feel better and more energized
  4. Most people at work are just waking up, I have been up for 4 hours and am way more productive. I get more done in 4 hours than most people get done their whole day.
  5. When it is time for bed at night, I crash. I am whooped. This allows me to get way better sleep. I only sleep 5-6 hours a night, but it is QUALITY.
  6. All of my time after work is spent with my family. I have worked out, and have time to work on other projects.
  7. I am able to track where my money is going better, because I plan it out in the morning.
  8. I am able to make a to do list and get most of it done before even going into work.

The one percent improvement, for me, was changing the way that I used 24 hours in a day.

The results were astounding, but it took time, not much happened over night. However, 8 weeks later I took a picture of myself and was blown away.

Then I kept at it, and after six months I took another picture.

Now it is a way of life, where the goal is to continue to improve by just 1% a day.


After

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This is not a gimmick, this is the real deal.

It is exactly what you can do if you stick to a plan, and make small improvements over time.

It is not something that will just happen over night though. There is no magic pill, or diet to get you to achieve your goal. If there is, then don't believe it.

For you 1% improvement might be something simple:

  • Waking up 15 minutes earlier every day
  • Drinking one less Mountain dew a day
  • Starting a workout plan
  • Walking once a day for 15 minutes
  • Eating one less fast food meal per day
  • Eating out for dinner one less time a week
  • Saving $5 , instead of getting your morning coffee.

I know that you have a list of things that you have always wanted to do, some lifetime goals. Whatever it is, think about how to just make a small, simple change to get you closer to your target.

If you want to start your own journey towards improving yourself by just 1%, I challenge you to start by learning about the 360 Man Fitness Program.

It will help you to start doing something, and the best part is that it's FREE.

Let me know in the comments what you are doing today to improve.

- Stephen