Look for the 1% Improvement

September 22, 2015

Categories: Change

I was feeling frustrated the other day with my lack of improvement in CrossFit. Maybe you can relate. Have you ever worked on something, and didn’t feel like you were getting any better? This can be aggravating. I felt like I was putting in a lot of time and effort, but I didn’t feel like I was getting much of a return on my investment.

Something my coach said made a lot of sense to me. He encouraged me to look for the 1% improvement. He said it’s natural to want to see massive improvements all the time, but that expectation isn’t realistic. If I’m only going to be happy if I see huge improvements all the time, I was setting myself up for disappointment.

Instead, he said to celebrate the small, incremental improvements. Was I able to do one or two more reps than before? Could I lift one or two more pounds than before? Was my form getting just a little bit better than before? Etc. Tiny improvements over a long period of time add up to big changes in the long run.

The key is in the 1%.

Discussion: Are you frustrated because you aren’t seeing huge improvements in a particular area of your life? What would it look like to change your focus and look for the 1% improvement?


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  1. Jen September 26, 2015 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    As I was getting home from my box today, I was contemplating what you’d written here. You’re writing about something very real, something tangible, like progress in working out. I’ve been at a stand still for a couple of weeks now, I put in the work but I don’t see even the 1% improvement, which is fine for me. Because I remember where I came from and that helps a lot.

    My frustrations come from other parts of my life and I think it’s more difficult to see improvements, even small ones when it comes to my work for example. There are too many components that I have no say over to be able to do improvements on my own. Without too many details, part of my job requires elements that you have to practice and practice in order to see improvements. And it’s not practice that you can do without a real person. But then you have people around you that also wants to practice or someone that doesn’t know how capable you are and won’t let you practice. That makes me frustrated. But I’ll try to apply the 1% rule to my work and see if it leads to an improvement or not. One can always try.

  2. […] Look for the small improvement. Sometimes we get discouraged because we are looking for a huge improvement, and we don’t see it. But it’s unrealistic to expect a massive improvement right away—that just isn’t how skill development usually works. Instead, look for and celebrate the small improvements. […]

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