Atomic Habits Part 2

Habits are the topic of todays post. We’ve been working through a book called Atomic Habits by James Clear, which is a great read and helps clarify how to create great habits that serve you well, and break the ones that are holding you back from who you want to become.

The section we would like to go over today focuses on the 1% rule. Simply put, 1% change each day will add up over the course of time. 1% is all you need to make a new habit stick. If you relax and give yourself permission to only improve a little each day, then you will begin to see big strides towards your goal. To give you an example, we want to talk about the British cycling team.

In 2002, Sir Dave Brailsford became the head of British Cycling. At that point in time, British cycling had only won a single gold medal in its 76 year history. Brailsford knew that the task of making this team a winning staple in the olympic community was no easy feat, but he was up for the challenge. He believed that if they improved each area of their training by 1% each day, the aggregate of this plan would produce incredible results. Brailsford and his coaches on the team began by making incremental adjustment. A few examples are as follows:

  1. They redesigned the bike seats to make them more comfortable.
  2. They rubbed alcohol on the tires in order to provide a better grip.
  3. They asked riders to wear electrically heated overshorts to maintain ideal muscle temperature while riding.
  4. The team was supplied with biofeedback sensors to monitor how each athlete responded to a particular workout.
  5. The team tested various fabrics in a wind tunnel and had their outdoor riders switch to indoor racing suits.
  6. The team was taught proper hand washing techniques in order to prevent sickness among the players.
  7. They trailer that held their bikes was painted white in order to see any dust that can potentially interfere with the gear.

The list goes on and on, but the important thing to note is the success of this philosophy. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the British Cycling team won 7 out of 10 gold medals available in track cycling, and then did the same at the London Olympics four years later. The team has also won three of the last four Tour de France events.

Building habits is important, but even more important is understanding that change does not happen overnight. If you are trying to achieve a goal, learn something new, or form a better habit, you need to understand that it is going to take time. Figure out what you want to change in your life and establish an incremental plan to get there. Recognize that it is just going to take some time and then start kicking butt! In the following blog posts related to habit formation, we’re going to provide you a very specific framework you can use to build those positive habits incrementally, and shed the ones that aren’t helping you become the best version of yourself!