I am a big believer in small improvements.
Big improvements are a fantasy. They rarely happen.
- You don’t wake up one day and magically fall in love — you work on yourself instead.
- You don’t magically win the lottery and become a millionaire — you invest tiny amounts of money over time into real assets.
- You don’t instantly become a good writer after publishing one blog post — you publish 100+ blog posts online and find your voice and an audience.
- You don’t lose 100 KGs in 14 days — you change your diet, eat more plant-based food, start walking, then you level-up and go to the gym to do a workout.
- You don’t start a money-making business overnight — you start a tiny business and work on it for a few hours after your day job. Over time, you find the problem you’re going to solve, build an audience, and eventually charge your first customer money.
Here’s the mathematics behind the formula that I found on Twitter (not sure who created the idea — message me if you know).
The concept is simple. You can do nothing and be in the same place in a year’s time. Or you can be 1.01% better each day. The secret isn’t to be exact with calculating your results or working out how much effort you put in.
1.01% better each day is a mindset.
You build the habit
The mindset of 1.01% better each day is helpful, but without a habit it’s just self-help masturbation.
Your results come from what you do consistently. Habits automate the tasks that lead to results. Your habits act like a mental trigger. When a dog sees a bone it instinctively chases it.
When your mind has formed a habit it instinctively knows it’s time to do the work. A habit destroys the need for willpower. Let’s be honest for a second: who the heck feels like doing work?
If you do, you might be related to an Instagram startup hustler. If you’re a basic bitch like me, you rarely feel like working. That’s why you need habits to defeat yourself.
Habits save you from yourself.
Grow your habit by 1.01% each day
Okay, you’ve got the habit. *Does Borat voice* “High-five!”
Now you build on the habit by utilizing the 1.01% better per day mindset. That may sound unclear. Let’s make it dead simple with a question:
What tiny improvement can you make towards your goal today?
It’s all in the language. The key is to use words that won’t overwhelm you, which is why I chose the word tiny. You can do tiny. You probably can’t stomach huge right now, given everything going on in the world. I feel you sister. I love tiny. Tiny helped me make $300K as a writer. Tiny can do extraordinary things for you too.
The next best action is adequate. The mistake I made when growing my writing habit was I tried to overthink the next step. I was drunk on huge actions, rather than committed to “any action.” Any action is good.
Taking action helps you uncover the next step.
My favorite next action is a conversation. I learn so much from conversations with other people, and more often than not, they lead me to the next step. If you don’t know what action to take next, schedule a few Zoom calls. Choose people to talk with who already have achieved what you’re trying to achieve — or are close.
Your results compound
“Compound interest is the 8th wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it; he who doesn’t, pays it.” — Elbert Einstein
The compounding effect doesn’t solely apply to investing and your money. You can compound your results with the 1.01% better per day mindset too.
The start of the journey towards a goal is painfully slow. It almost looks like you’re not making any progress at all. Then, after a few months, your goal gets easier. The bad news: it took me years, not months.
When I had a goal to write my dreams into reality through blogging, nothing happened in months. It took me years. I posted dumb blog post after dumb blog post. I was a 4 AM early rising asshole. Thankfully, I kept writing.
The results remained low for a long time. The reason my results were poor was because I hadn’t mastered the skill of writing. If I could actually write in the beginning, then my growth trajectory would have been faster. Unfortunately, I didn’t pay attention in English class. I dicked around and threw paper planes at the teacher. She’s the one laughing now.
There came a point where everything changed. The results crept up on me. My writing went from being read by nobody to getting shared with a wider audience. It wasn’t because of the content. It was because of the consistent effort I was putting into the habit of writing.
Many fellow writers now describe my results as extraordinary. I’m embarrassed when they say that because I don’t think they are. I think I’m nothing more than consistent, thanks to the 1.01% mindset.
How you measure your day, motivates you for tomorrow
When the goal of your effort is tiny, it’s straightforward to hit your target.
The 1.01% better mindset makes you feel good about your work. It feels achievable as a measurement of your output in a day, so you keep intuitively doing it. It’s hard to hate a simple concept that works.
At the end of each day, before I go to bed, I ask myself: “Was my work 1.01% better than yesterday?” The answer is yes.
As long as I learned one thing, I am 1.01% better than yesterday.
Why couldn’t you measure your day like this? You can be 1.01% better today and measure your results with a back-of-the-envelope calculation.
Ditch the big boy thinking. Throwaway transformations, the desire to get-rich-quick, fast results, growth hacking and thinking of your life as being created by a handful of events. Your life isn’t created by a handful of events.
Your life is created by the tiny actions you take each day that go unnoticed by the people around you.
Make your daily activities into a system using the power of habit. Think about your effort in terms of 1.01% better each day.
Tiny effort can take your life to extraordinary places.