As human beings we learn every day, all day long. We do this act subconsciously and unconsciously, and that’s simply because learning is a part of life. And so are habits. We are constantly processing cues from our environment and following deeply ingrained habitual routines – some desirable and others not so much.
But what if you were to make a conscious effort to unlearn certain behaviours that you have subconsciously created into habits? For example, how many of us parents have worries about how much time we allow our children to spend unproductively on screens, yet we have no idea how to control our own addiction to mindlessly scrolling on Instagram?
What if you were able to be more deliberate about the incorporation of new healthy habits into your daily life? What if you were able to understand more about how to match your actions to the outcomes you desire? Would this knowledge lead to positive change?
Evolution requires growth and growth requires learning. Motivation is driven by your desired outcomes and this is tightly knitted into your belief system and lifestyle. That being said, have you ever paused to consider:
Why your body needs to be strong and healthy?
How to optimize your brain to function at its best?
How to manage digital distractions?
How to feel more organized and on top of things?
How to feel less stressed?
How to build or break habits?
How to make choices that are conducive to your desired lifestyle?
These are not common questions that most would go on an introspective quest for! I beg to ask, would answering any of these questions lead you to embarking on a healthier lifestyle? And how would this healthier lifestyle benefit you and your children?
As an expert in coaching individuals to approach learning from a holistic perspective, the end result is always to strive to thrive rather than to simply survive. Yet so many of us as parents feel like we are stuck in survival mode. It can be challenging when we are caught up in the day-to-day grind, taking care of our children, our homes, our jobs, and coupled with the fact that we are still facing global and racial pandemics. Many of the parents I’ve spoken to have no energy to even begin to think about what it would take to start the process of creating positive changes to their lifestyle. Which is why one of the most common questions I get from parents is, “Where do I begin?”
My answer: Begin with The 1% Rule!
The 1% Rule is choosing one area to focus on and aiming to improve in that specific area by only 1%. Basically, it is narrowing your focus and then taking baby steps to get there. Knowing that your intention is to only improve by 1% significantly reduces self-imposed pressure and makes it easier for you to successfully accomplish even a tiny increase that can then serve as a catalyst for further improvement, and ideally the incorporation of a newly ingrained healthy habit. It’s a common misconception that you should wait for the motivation to come in order to take action, but the 1% rule allows you to take a tiny sliver of action that can help to jump start your motivation and, in turn, create momentum.
I first discovered this concept from the book The Ripple Effect by Dr. Greg Wells. Dr. Wells states that “a 1% change may not seem like much, but it takes you, step by step, farther along the path to optimal health and reaching your potential.” It’s really like casting a vote towards the type of person you would like to become. And by aiming to improve by just 1%, you are much more likely to commit to some positive changes. It is these positive changes that can help you to feel more energetic, focused, and better able to cope with the many stressors that life brings.
If you are looking to make some positive changes, here are some ideas of how you can improve by 1% in the area that you would like to start focusing on:
- Try turning off all screens 15 minutes before going to bed. The blue light emitted from television, computer or phone screens can decrease the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Aim to increase this time by 5 minutes each week until you get to no screens for 30 or 60 minutes before bed.
- Try taking a nice warm bath to relax you before going to bed. Carve out time for a short 10 minute bath and then try to increase the time by an additional 5 minutes each week.
- Read a book in bed. Again, carving out the time is key. Start with a few minutes and work your way up a few minutes each time – this always makes me knock out!
Nutrition and Hydration
- Cut up some fruits and veggies and have them easily accessible for snacking during the week. Each week try to introduce 1 extra fruit or veggie into your meal.
- Plan out your meals for the next day to increase your chances of making healthier choices. Work towards planning out a whole week’s worth of meals.
- Put an alarm on your phone to remind you to drink an extra glass of water throughout the day and work your way up to your goal of 2-3L per day.
- Get your workout clothes ready the night before.
- Add an extra 5 minutes to your usual route when you go for a walk.
- Try a virtual fitness/yoga class and just do it for a few minutes. The next day, try to stick with it for a few minutes longer than the day before.
- Try a guided meditation app and start with 3 minutes, gradually working your way up to 5 or 10 minutes.
- Write down 3 things you are grateful for and work your way up to 5 things.
- Send a text message to a friend or family member that you enjoy talking to and plan to call them the next time.
While it can be tempting to want to make several changes all at once, I highly recommend starting with one area because, unfortunately, if you try to focus on everything, you’ll often end up accomplishing nothing. It can very quickly become overwhelming.
So how will you aim to be 1% better tomorrow? Remember, every single step you take helps you on your journey to becoming a better version of you!
Want to learn more? Stay tuned for upcoming workshops where we will work together to get you learning to not only survive, but to thrive!