We tolerate low-level living because the work necessary to pull ourselves up feels overwhelming and unachievable.
We don’t trust ourselves to make that big change.
The truth is, we shouldn’t trust ourselves.
Dramatic changes in lifestyle or mindset rarely stick.
It may seem counterintuitive, but to make big changes, focus instead on seemingly insignificant and unsexy incremental improvements in your daily habits.
Get one percent better every day.
If you can improve one percent daily, you’ll be 37 times better at the end of the year.
One percent is almost unnoticeable. Thirty-seven times better is life-changing.
Benjamin Franklin said, “Little strokes fell great oaks.” Make no mistake, big changes in your life are great oaks. We will always revert to what is easy and comfortable unless we build success habits as guide rails to our goals.
We cannot rely on willpower. Willpower is overvalued.
The following is a list of 37 simple ways you can get one percent better in 2019:
Having embraced creativity for the first time less than a decade ago, (at the age of 27), I can now say that nothing has contributed to my growth as a person and professional like making creativity a part of my everyday life.
This doesn’t mean you have to hit publish. Just allow your mind to explore without boundaries. It’s amazing what you might find inside your mind.
Be conscious of excuses, and instead of allowing yourself off the hook, take ownership and solve the problem, no matter how mundane.
Watch for wins in your life and business when you see one, double down on it. See how far the rabbit hole goes.
Try smiling, at everyone, your spouse, co-worker, and even complete strangers you shoulder past at the convenient store on way home from the office. Smile and be honest about it and watch what happens.
Jim Rome, the popular sports radio talk show host, is famous for his line, “Have a take and don’t suck.”
For the purposes of better one percent better, forget about the “don’t suck” part.
By “listen,” I mean focus on what other people are saying with compassion for their agenda. This doesn’t mean be quiet until it’s your turn to speak. Actually, listen. A whole world of people out there might know something you don’t.
I’m still getting a feel for the role mindfulness will play in my own life, but as of writing this article, I’ve used the app Headspace to engage in at least 10 minutes of mindfulness meditation for the last 10 days in a row.
The founder of Headspace refers to mindfulness meditation as the “softening” of the brain. So far, I can buy that and feel like I’m beginning to understand what it means (more to come on this in future articles).
Acknowledge your fear, for often, our outward expression of fear is anger. No wants to hang out with angry people.
James Altucher calls this “borrowing other people 10,000 hours,” about the 10,000-hour rule for mastery.
Since August, I’ve been reading (books, not including web articles) at least 5-7 hours a week.
The information download is as addictive as a crack hit without gum disease.
The thing happened. You didn’t want for it to happen. You didn’t mean for it to happen, but it did. There is nothing you can do to change that except move forward. Regret is cancer.
This one is hard. We all tell ourselves and each other little white lies all day long. Stop. You will hate this at first and then begin to love it. So hard though.
This one is pretty straightforward. For any number of reasons, you’re not working as hard as you can. Work harder, and see how it feels.
When you gossip, the person you’re gossiping to isn’t just thinking less about the person you’re gossiping about. Noodle on that.
Plus, gossiping is a terrible waste of energy.
What do you want? Be specific. This will help frame how you get it.
During the holiday season, my diet was out of character versus the rest of the year. Most notable is the massive amount of sugar I stuff in my face.
All the sugar lead to foggy brain. Your brain extracts energy from fat, not carbs (sugar).
How you fuel your machine determines how it will operate.
Mindfulness meditation, cold showers, and Deep Work also fall into the category of mental clarity.
See above and then EAT BETTER FOOD.
A couple of weeks ago at the end of a conversation with my best friend, I said, “Love you bro!” and I meant it.
Here’s the deal, lots of guys say that stuff to each other these days, except we never really mean it. It felt good because, in the sincerest way possible, I do love him.
Let other people love you and express love where meaningful and appropriate. This is especially true with your spouse. Just because they said “yes” doesn’t mean you never need to show affection again.
Love is the answer.
On everything, every time.
Impossible, but a tremendous mantra to live by for if you even get close, you’ll win, always.
Get your ass out of bed and get your day going. Period. Even if you are a night period.
From mental clarity to bowel movements, physical stamina to mood, proper hydration is necessary to improve just about anything and everything else in your life.
Drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water every day.
At best, phones create attention fragmentation, destroying any chance for deep, meaningful work.
At worst, they suck out your soul through your thumbs and eyeballs.
I don’t mean to become a writer (unless you want to be a writer. Then, by all means, become a writer). I mean, write. Get your thoughts out of your head. Whatever those thoughts may be. Admittedly, for anyone not drawn to writing, this is a very tough habit, but if you can persevere and lock it into your routine, you’ll be very happy you did.
Julia Cameron’s “Morning Pages” method is an excellent place if you need a solid framework.
Determine what is important. Do those things. Don’t do anything that isn’t on that list.
I am terrible at this one.
Break down the changes you like to make and the goals you’d like to hit this year into 90-day sprints. Too often, goals (and the tactics necessary to hit them) change rapidly.
90-days will allow you to adjust course. Additionally, you give yourself the opportunity for four big wins throughout the year instead of just one.
Which is fun.
The hustle life doesn’t work.
Plus, according to Cal Newport, you can only do 4-6 hours of deep meaningful work a day anyway. So work hard, then rest.
We think all day long. WRONG!
Go for a drive, a walk, take a long shower, or put on some classical music and kick back in your home office (whatever gets you there) and allow your brain to wander into places the mundane regularness of your everyday life does not allow it go.
Then see what happens.
I love beer.
But alcohol lowers blood sugar (as well as many other negative side effects), creating decreased brain function and poor sleep patterns.
But it’s so good.
Tough call on this one.
This is going to mean something different for all of you. For me, this is paying $100 for my gym membership, signing up for educational courses, and reading books (which cost money).
If it helps you improve mentally, physically, emotionally or spiritually then it’s worth the money.
If it will help you make more money, it’s worth considering but not necessarily a must.
There is an entire chapter in my book, Content Warfare, dedicated to the idea of giving without the expectation of reciprocation. In the case of Content Warfare, I was talking about marketing success.
But I’m pretty sure this concept also stands up in real life.
For a bunch of reasons I won’t get into in this article taking a cold shower (which means standing under freezing cold water for three minutes or longer) every morning is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
For a bunch of reasons I won’t get into in this article having regular (regular in frequency, you can perform the act however you and your partner see fit), sex with someone you care about is great for your mental and physical well-being.
If there is anything that Jordan Peterson taught us in this EPIC work, 12 Rules for Life (which is my number one book recommendation for 2023), it’s that meaning trumps happiness.
“Do what is meaningful, not what is expedient.”
Forget about where you fall in the hierarchy. Grow. Do awesome shit. Let your audience/customers figure it out.
Status is ego and per Ryan Holiday, “Ego is the Enemy.”
Open your mind to the idea that you don’t know everything and you don’t know much about most things.
Then go try something new.
Curiosity is something I’ve been trying to intentionally cultivate since 2019.
What I know right now is it’s most likely a core building block of long-term success.
Once again, according to Jordan Peterson (though I’m not sure if this is in his book or from a YouTube video), the two primary indicators of success in life and business are intelligence and the ability to delay gratification.
So few people (myself included) do this as often as they should. If you are genuine and thoughtful in your ask, people will want to help you.
Please don’t take from this article that I do all these things. This is an aspiration list. And again, the point is to get one percent better every day.
Some of these you might already be crushing. Great. Pick one or two that you struggle with and may add value to your life and focus on them.
Small incremental improvements for the win.
Yours in insurance,
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