The 1% Rule

What’s better, wait for a perfect day to begin exercising/writing/reading or commence no matter howsoever small.

What most people do is they want to begin with a ‘big bang’

So, we make new year resolutions, make a commitment to self or to a spouse or someone we know to reduce weight or to start reading or begin writing.

However, what happens after a week or a few weeks?

We give up!

Overburdening oneself with too much expectation leads to broken promises. 

And that’s why most new year resolutions about exercising are dead by the second week itself.

The reading habit get drowned under the huge pile of new exciting web-series and excessive tv and social media usage.

The new diet plan or dieting loses its sheen after you binge eat one day as the refrigerator is still stuffed with everything you should be avoiding.

So, is there a solution?

James Clear in his book, Atomic Habits, focusses on something called 1% rule.

Whenever you think of starting a new habit, don’t set lofty goals, instead try to gain small victories and stay on course.

Want to exercise, just promise to wear your sports shoes at least. 

Won’t it be easy to just put on the sports shoes, go out and come back, nothing else.

However, every time, we wear those sports shoes, we are telling our mind and ourselves, what we want and what our brain needs to do. 

The neural circuit of this habit is getting stronger as we repeat more of it.

And as we perform it repeatedly; a little walk, followed by a little jog, stretching ourselves further, little by little, we are making this habit even stronger.

Want to read, just put a book on your bedside.

Vow to at least turn a few pages every day, don’t read, just turn pages.

And then begin with a paragraph, then a page and move onto other loftier targets of a chapter later on, instead of deciding to read for half an hour and browsing social media for 29 minutes or worse still doze off.

Want to write, just decide to keep a pen and a notebook nearby.

Write a line or few, move onto a paragraph later and gradually go even further.

We can condition ourselves, our mind and body to gradually fall into specific routines by following a natural way to learn new routines and habits.

A lion won’t eat us up, if we don’t jog or read and write, so there is no pressure to perform and learn the new task immediately, like it would have been if we were still living in the jungles.

We need to understand and use our body rhythm to fall into new rituals and make them automatic instead of forcing ourselves to follow them.

And remember, every time we follow that routine, our neural circuit responsible for performing that activity is becoming stronger, making it easier for us to repeat it next time.

And if on a really bad day, when you can’t do it at all, just do something to continue the routine.

Can’t jog, just walk for a few minutes, can’t read for an hour, read at least a page, can’t write 10 pages, write at least a line.

Every repetition of ours is also establishing our character, the kind of person we envision ourselves to be,  the one, who sticks to routines even during adverse circumstances.

One page read daily will translate into 2-3 books over a year and writing just half a page can make you an author in 365 days.

Walking for 5 minutes every day, will bring about amazing health benefits when seen from the context of an annual cycle.

1% improvement everyday will lead to 37% gain over a period of one year,

So, start small and go big!

8 thoughts on “The 1% Rule

  1. A very thought provoking article. I agree.. Lion wont eat us up if we dont do the task thoroughly.. its important to habituate our mind to atleast start the activities with baby steps.

    Liked by 1 person

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