MICRO GAINS: 1% Better Everyday
January 1st, new year new me!
My resolution is to _____________________________.
There's a reason most New Year's resolutions fail. People set a goal without any idea how to achieve it and focus only on the outcome; not the changes that must take place to actually make it happen.
Instead of focusing on the end goal, focus on how you achieve it. Focus on all the little steps that add up to big successes.
This concept is inspired by the work of James Clear in his book Atomic Habits. The idea is that small improvements day by day add up, eventually, to actually achieving your big goals. Take a look at this chart from his book.
Much like compounding interest; success isn't noticed right away. It takes years of depositing a little money and a little interest into your account. Over time, these tiny changes amplify and build off of one another to add up to something huge.
Fitness and health goals are no different.
I want to lose 30 pounds by November 24th.
I want to deadlift 600 pounds by 2023.
Cool, nice S.M.A.R.T. goals. But how do you get there? What are the 1,000 little steps that must be taken to walk that mile?
Try boiling down these HUGE goals into their day-by-day steps so you can reach your goals.
Then, focus on the MICRO GAINS you can make every single day instead of always focusing on the end.
I Want to Lose Weight
Let's boil down this goal into smaller components. You must be in a caloric deficit. Cool, that's helpful... thanks internet. Okay, so what are some strategies to reduce caloric intake? Here are a few:
Reduce liquid calories
Cook at home more
Eat more filling, less calorically dense foods
Eat more lean protein
Okay... getting closer. Let's look at one of these components and break it down further.
Cooking at home more. This can be a great part of the SYSTEM that helps us achieve the GOAL. Here is a simple micro gain to focus on to support your long-term goal.
Go food shopping at the same store on the same day every week. This will become part of your routine and just something you do. By taking the time to go out and buy the health-promoting foods you like, you will make cooking at home simpler and more a part of your routine.
What's better? This habit will stick with you even after you've achieved your goal making your health and fitness goals in the future that much easier.
I Want to Build Muscle
Let's chop up this big goal into its smaller components. If we want to build muscle, we must train the muscles we want to grow. Muscles respond to repeated, progressive stimuli to encourage adaptations. In addition, we need to be supplying our bodies with the fuel to grow. Here are a few steps that add up to the full system of muscle building.
Adequate protein and carbohydrate intake
Ample recovery time
Let's focus on the strength training component. Let's say your goal is to get to the gym 4 times a week. Set yourself up for success by treating your workout like it is already a part of your routine. Here's an example of a simple micro gain I recently implemented in order to make sure I train every day at 6:00 am.
Pack your bags and set out your clothes the night before
For me, I train at 6:00 am, shower at the gym, and go right to work for the day. When I first tried going every morning, I would spend so long scrambling in the morning trying to get all my stuff together I would get to the gym at 6:45 am and work out for 20 minutes. I needed more time. So, I created more time with a simple routine change.
Every night at around 9:00 pm, when I am normally just chillin', I pack my shower bag with a change of clothes for work, I lay out my gym clothes for the following morning, and put my bags by the door.
I do this every night and it not only sets my intention to train the next morning before I even go to bed, but it makes it easier to get out the door. The first week, this was annoying. Now, I just do it.
Where else can you find MICRO GAINS in your day-to-day to achieve your goals?
Keep chopping up your BIG, HUGE goals into what you must do every day to make it happen.
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