Thursday, December 30, 2010

The 1% Solution




New York is still not quite out of the snow. Lots of bad press about it.

I am surprised by the number of abandoned and plowed in cars. it seems that part of the snow strategy is to hope for warm weather (and it is a bit warmer so should melt).

Surprise - I read a book. The 1% Solution - How to make your next 30 Days the Best Ever by Tom Connellan.

The book is written storybook style which I hate. But I still thought the book was excellent and made some great points.

The thesis of the book is to just try to do things 1% better. Seems easy and logical.

There was a good section on motivation and inspiration. Life follows the same laws as physics. It is all about momentum. So to succeed, you need to start things moving. The best way to get inspired is to accomplish something. And the best way to accomplish something is to take action. So build systems in to support starting to take action. Starting leads to momentum that often leads to accomplishment. It is a self reinforcing loop.

The book dumped on New Years Resolutions citing statistics like 88% of the resolutions are never kept and one in four people cannot even keep a resolution for a week. I, of course, love any time for setting goals so still intend to set them.

The valid point 1% makes is failing at resolutions can start a downward spiral and a loss of self esteem. And willpower is limited. This is a point Chip and Dan Heath make in their book Switch.

This is where 1% comes in. Partly this is in setting realistic goals. 1% is realistic. And the book suggests only working on one area for 30 days. This still means in a year, you will have improved on 12 areas which is impressive.

What make a self help book good in my opinion (and I must need lots of help to read so many of them) is if it inspires change. And I notice since reading it, I have run 5.05 miles instead of 5. And I am going to try to run 5K in 21:47. And sleep 19 1/2 minutes longer. Perhaps smile 1% more.

Some quotes from the book:

"too many people don't have 30 years experience, they have 1 year repeated 30 times" (so make this year different)

"What sets apart the top 1% is they cycle throughout the day between periods of concentrated effort and planned recovery"

"There is no point in doing well what you should not be doing at all"

"You start by doing something - however small - and once you accomplish that, your motivation goes up. And then you get more done. And then your motivation goes up..."

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