Christmas comes around, and you’re thinking about your New Year’s resolutions and how you can improve yourself.

You’ve created a list of all that you want to achieve and you spend the first few days trying to achieve every goal you’ve short-listed.

But in a few days, you start skipping tasks.

It’s raining outside, so you can’t make it to the gym.

You want to catch the latest movie, so you skip that cooking class you signed up for.

Pretty soon, your goals to improve yourself become next year’s goals and you spend the rest of the year trying to catch up with your goals or feeling inadequate and frustrated because people online make it look so easy.

So, let’s get down to the burning question.

Why do we mostly fail when it comes to setting goals or trying to improve ourselves?

The answer is simple.

We try to do too much too fast.

In order to become successful at our goals, we must be consistent. This is the answer to actually achieving our goals.

But how?

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The 1% Rule to help you improve yourself a little bit each day:

James Alcutcher came up with this theory and states:

Habits don’t change in a day. But 1% a day makes every habit work. Every.

The reason is: they work if you do a little each day. If you relax and give yourself permission to only improve a little each day, then a good habit works.

James altucher

Instead of trying to change your life drastically in one day, make tiny improvements every single day.

Those little tasks you do each day add up which result in the Compound effect.

When I wanted to become a better Illustrator, I started an Instagram Page and posted my work daily on it. It helped me stay consistent. And I have managed to improve vastly in the last 4 years.

All this can be attributed to spending 1-3 hours daily drawing for 4 years.

You may not notice the change immediately. But if you compare yourself to where you were 3-6 months ago, you’ll definitely see your progress.

Use this to fuel yourself to work even harder.

Those 1-3 hours daily may seem like very little, but they have a compound effect and the result shows after a while.

How to improve yourself every day?

It is human nature to want to see a big outcome after a small action.

For instance, if you go to the gym for the first time and work out for a solid two hours, you’ll become disappointed when you see the weighing scale and notice no weight loss.

So, start small.

If your goal is to become fit, ask yourself how you can move the needle. Choose 1 task that will get you closer to your goal.

If that task is to stay within your calorie limit, focus on doing it just for 1 week.

If you’re successful, start doing a 30-minute walk every day in the second week.

Keep adding activities to your fitness routine till you are satisfied with it.

Start small and work your way up

When I wanted to become healthy and fit, I realized I needed to eat at home more and order take-out less.

So, for 2 days a week, I cooked my own meals.

It was hard at the beginning, but I slowly started enjoying the process and it became easier with time.

Within a few months, I started cooking almost daily. Now, I only order take-out once a week or once in 2 weeks.

My body feels better. I no longer feel lethargic or heavy after meals. And I have begun to enjoy the wide variety of food that I can cook at home.

It has also helped me become more mindful of which foods give me more energy and which result in bloating or intestinal issues.

All in all, eating has become a more enriching experience and I am glad that I started cooking at home.

You don’t need to work that hard – just be consistent

The idea behind this rule is not to do a lot. But to do a little bit each day and be consistent.

That’s it.

You want to start journalling? Write in your journal for 5 minutes every day till it becomes a habit. Slowly, increase the time you journal, till you are satisfied with the result.

You want to practise playing the piano? Download a piano app and practise everyday for 5-10 minutes. Slowly increase the time to 30 minutes or an hour as you form the habit.

You want to learn a new language? Get the duolingo app and practise daily for 10 minutes while you commute to work or are waiting in the checkout line.

The best way to stick to a habit is to form a habit around a permanent one.

For instance, I cannot go a day without a hot beverage in the morning. So, when I wanted to start a habit of planning my business day before working, I sat down with my morning coffee or chai and wrote it all down.

Pairing a new habit with an old one is the best way to make the new one stick!

How to improve yourself in life?

Before you start writing down big, audacious, hairy goals, ask yourself why the goal matters to you. Identify with the why.

This will propel you to move closer to your goal every day. Here’s my step-by-step process:

1. Identify your goal for the year

This can be a personal goal related to any field in your life – relationships, work, family, business, personal, productivity… anything.

Once you identify your goal, write it down.

It becomes powerful. Put it in a place that you will see every day. For me, it’s my Notes app.

2. Break down that goal into actions/tasks you will follow every day

The goal will become overwhelming if you just let it sit there and do nothing about it.

You need to break it down.

If your goal is learn how to draw, you can break down your goal into several tasks:

  • Watch an online class on drawing every week
  • Practise anatomy every Monday
  • Post work on Behance/Instagram every Tuesday
  • Freehand drawing on Wednesday
  • Look up tutorials to practise on Thursday

And so on.

This makes the goal very easy to achieve because you have all the steps you need to follow in order to become better.

3. Follow through with it

This is the most difficult but important step – remaining consistent.

If you focus on doing just 1 thing every day, you will get better and improve yourself. There is no chance at failing because you’re moving the needle every single day.

If you improve yourself by 1% every day, you will eventually master your goal – no questions asked.

And although the rewards show slowly, they are extremely worth it and will play a significant role in your life.

Final thoughts:

There are going to be obstacles. And some days, you may not even feel like following through, it’s okay.

These happen.

But don’t give up. Make up for your lost progress on the second day and try to get back on track.

Here are a few more posts you may enjoy reading!

Angela is a 29 year old Illustrator and Blogger living with her 2 adorable labradors in Bangalore, India. When she's not writing her heart out or drawing, you'll find her sipping chai and reading non-fiction books.

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