Extreme Growth Happens by Getting 1% Better Every Day: 5 Steps to Better Goal Setting

3 min read
Oct 28, 2022 1:39:22 PM

Who else is a big fan of James Clear’s philosophy on getting 1% better each day? 

If you’re not familiar, here’s the gist: “habits are the ‘compound interest of self-improvement.’ If you can get just one percent better at something each day, by the end of a year … you will be 37 times better.”

It sounds simple, and yet it can be hard to set meaningful, but manageable goals that you can stick to daily for the method to work. 

Here are the steps you can talk to help you on your journey to becoming 1% better every day.

Let’s say your goal is to be more intentional about developing the members of your team.

First: Make note of what you want 

You have to know your end goal to know the steps it will take to get there. Start by simply writing that goal down. A study reported by the Huffington Post stated that you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals and dreams, simply by writing them down on a regular basis. 

Second: Take stock of how things are going 

How do you currently spend your time? Do you have daily habits that reflect the goal you’re working towards? Maybe you’re doing all the right things. Maybe something’s missing. 

On the same page where you wrote down (or typed) your goal, make two columns: what you currently spend time doing and the small habits that you want to add into your routine to reach your goal. You want a full picture of how your time is spent, so you can find out where to make room for your new habits and patterns.

As you jot down what you actually spend your time doing each day, include things like scrolling social media, driving your kids to school, and even household chores. Just visualizing how much time you spend on each of these activities can help you later determine what could be rearranged or minimized to make room for something better.

As you think through what you want to add to your routine to get 1% better each day, write down anything that comes to mind.

For our example of more intentional leadership, it might be things like:

  • Ask my team members how I can support their growth goals in our 1:1 meetings each week
  • Help my team members build personalized development plans
  • Send articles or podcasts to my team members that directly align with their goals
  • Offer more growth opportunities and feedback

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Third: Reconstruct your routine based on what you’ve learned

Now that you’ve assessed how you spend your time and how you wish you spent your time, let’s reconstruct our routine to remove what’s good to invest in what’s best.

On your goals document, look back at the “what you currently spend your time doing” column and bucket each item into 3 categories:

  • Necessary and important - these are things it’s important to keep doing
  • Necessary but not important - these are tasks you can delegate to others (can your teammate do some of the monthly reporting to free you up? Could your spouse help with some house chores occasionally?)
  • Nice to have - these are things you enjoy but can cut back on or remove altogether

This exercise helps you truly prioritize your day and shows you where you have room to add in something new. Remember, what you’re adding may only be 5 minutes a day or 4 times a week. The beauty of 1% better is that your small efforts will lead to large, lasting impacts.

Fourth: Break your learnings into action items

Once you see what you can delegate or remove and determine what habits you’re going to add in, write down the steps you need to take to make those things happen.

Do you need to have a conversation with a coworker to delegate a few things? How are you going to start your 1% better activities?

Write down those steps of intentionality so you see the plan you’re choosing and can reference it when you feel overwhelmed by your goal down the road.

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Fifth: Put those steps on the calendar 

Finally, while the excitement of your plan is fresh on your mind, schedule these activities on your calendar so you actually do them. Or even better, do them now.

You’re more likely to do the things you have planned on your calendar, so block off that time.

In a faced-paced world, adding anything new can feel daunting. Taking a quick assessment of your current activities and adding in small goals can help you feel more in control of your time and your growth. 

Good luck! Let us know how this process works for you.

Hungry for more? Check out our other goal-setting resources here.

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