This is a co-written post by FULLforLife and guest writer Torri Meidell, the creator of To Love and To Learn, an inspirational blog that helps women find the happy medium between self-growth and nurturing their family.
Can anyone else relate to the feeling of absolute overwhelm?
I distinctly remember one afternoon, soon after I had my second child, when both of my kids had miraculously gone down for a nap at the same time. I had a good hour and a half stretch (hopefully) to complete my to-do list. I recall looking around, trying to decide what to do first.
Should I run a load of laundry? Oh yeah, there was already laundry in the dryer that needed to be folded... maybe I should do that.
Oh wait, there's a bunch of stuff sitting in front of the dryer that I keep tripping over. I should move that before anything else!
Then I remembered that I needed to figure out dinner, and maybe I should take the chicken out of the freezer to defrost before starting on any other project.
On the way there, I noticed a stack of mail that I desperately needed to sort through and my mind began to spin.
Long story short, after 10 minutes, my brain was fried and all I had done was desperately look around at what needs to be fixed, done and figured out. I was 100% overwhelmed, and as a result, had no idea where to begin.
What's holding you back from making headway?
Maybe you're nervous about starting a new exercise program because your end goal seems desperately far away. Or you've delayed making better nutritional choices because you feel like you just don't have the time, so you stick with what you're comfortable with. Or maybe you're like me, desperately trying to stay afloat with the day-to-day, so much so that any further progress or self-improvement seems laughably out of reach at the moment.
Seasons of life
What I've come to realize is that life ebbs and flows. I am in the trenches of motherhood at the moment, and it's been hard for my type-A, super-driven personality to learn to let certain expectations go. I no longer have the time I once did to routinely exercise for an hour or have the energy or mental focus to commit to a side hustle idea that I've been toying around with.
It's taken me a long time to learn when to really put the pedal to the metal, and when to coast for a while to recharge my batteries. After all, both are progress, even if one is much slower than the other.
Atomic habits and the 1% rule
Last month, I read the book Atomic Habits by James Clear (you can read a few more of my generalized thoughts on it HERE). In this book, James shares a TON of life-changing tidbits - and I don't use that term lightly.
One recommendation that really stuck with me was his idea of "The 1% Rule." In the book, he uses the example of a cycling team that hadn't won a competition in decades UNTIL a new coach came in with a radically different strategy. Instead of focusing solely on workouts and recruiting the best raw talent, he focused on making everything (and I mean everything) just 1% better. He researched which clothing provided the least wind resistance, which tire width and tread provided the most speed, how to improve everybody's cycling times by just 1%, etc., etc.
With all these little 1% changes put together, the team slowly transformed into one of the best in the world.
The power of tiny gains
Sometimes we're tempted to set the bar too high and focus on HUGE changes. If the adjustments we make are too drastic, we might see a lot of progress initially, but as time goes on, we tend to get burned out and regress to where we were before, if not worse. Why? Because, generally speaking, enormous changes to our daily routine aren't sustainable.
So, what is sustainable? Gradual improvements that are introduced over time. By focusing on being just 1% better than we were yesterday, we're able to achieve small wins and gain momentum.
Here's a graphic I love from the book Atomic Habits, which is also found on James Clear's website.
Simply focus on getting 1% better every day.
James Clear proposes that if you are able to better yourself by just 1% each day, over the course of a year you'll be 37.78% better than you were at the start. I don't know about you, but a 37% improvement sounds pretty darn good to me!
So, rather than setting HUGE goals or having an all-or-nothing mentality, focus on tiny improvements and remind yourself that gradual change leads to lasting results.
And you know what?
It'll be pretty exciting to see how those small changes add up over time.
Let's follow the 1% road to success - together!
P.S. What are some areas that YOU can focus on and make small, incremental 1% improvements starting today?!