Generally, just a few things account for most of our progress. These basics have the greatest effect on our health, our wealth, our happiness, and our relationships. But if you’re looking for the shortcuts, the “tricks of the trade”, you’re not learning the trade. Get back to basics to polish up on your fundamentals.
How To Make Massive Improvement
(Hint: get a little better each day.)
“When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur. . . Not tomorrow, not the next day, but eventually a big gain is made. Don’t look for the big, quick improvement. Seek the small improvement one day at a time. That’s the only way it happens — and when it happens, it lasts.” ~ John Wooden
It generally isn’t possible to make a huge improvement overnight. Instead, you must apply yourself a little more, get a little better day after day. You have to get back to basics and focus on the small improvements you can make each day.
You can’t get up off the sofa and run a 5k race if you’ve been sedentary. But you can get up and put on your running shoes. Then you can get up, put on your running shoes, and walk out the door. And then get up, put on your running shoes, walk out the door, and walk to the end of the block. Each day, add a little more until you’re running a mile, then two, and so on.
You can’t lose 50 pounds in time for the reunion this weekend. You can toss out all the junk food. Then you can add healthier snacks. Next, create a weekly menu of healthy dishes which you enjoy. After that, add more fresh whole fruits and vegetables to your meals. Each day, make a small change. You’ll begin to see the pounds drop away.
Want to know how to make massive improvements? Get back to basics and get a little better each day through small, simple daily disciplines.
Back To Basics
“If you spend too much time learning the tricks of the trade, you may not learn the trade. If you’re working on finding a short cut, the easy way, you’re not working hard enough on the fundamentals. You may get away with it for a spell, but there is no substitute for the basics. And the first basic is good, old-fashioned hard work.” ~ John Wooden
Getting back to basics means paying attention to and perfecting the tiny details of your work and your life. As an employer or employee, as a parent, as a spouse, as a friend, as a citizen of the world.
Usually, one or two or a few things account for most of our progress. These basics have the greatest effect on our health, our wealth, our happiness, and our relationships. [Rohn] To start, focus on the fundamentals, your own fundamentals and the fundamentals of good health – eating, moving, sleeping.
Getting back to basics means getting back to your basics, those practices that are essential for your performance and your well-being. You will never master all the myriad details of your life. [Rohn] Why not choose those that have the potential to make the most difference?
Keep in mind that knowing the basics that are important to you is necessary but, by itself, knowing isn’t enough. You have to act. You have to do your own pushups. [Canfield]
Do Your Own Pushups
“As motivational philosopher Jim Rohn has so aptly put it, ‘You can’t hire someone else to do your push-ups for you.'” [Canfield]
Can you imagine hiring someone, a personal trainer, say, and having them do pushups in order to make you stronger? Silly, right? You can hire a trainer to encourage (read “make”) you do the pushups and then you’ll see improvement. But you have to do your own pushups.
You can read articles like this one, but reading is only the first step. To see improvement, you have to actually do some of the exercises, whatever that may be. You can’t pay someone else to improve your life. Sure, you can get suggestions, ideas, tips, and techniques, but in the end, you have to put them into practice. You have to do the work. You have to do your own pushups.
Your One Thing
With that in mind, what are the things you can start doing to improve the fundamentals? Remember, small improvements lead to massive changes. What can you start to do to improve the basics? Or what do you need to stop doing? Let’s look at the basic fundamentals of eating, moving, and sleeping.
- What’s the #1 thing you need to start doing to improve your sleep?
- What’s the #1 thing you need to start doing to improve your movement?
- What’s the #1 thing you need to start doing to improve your eating?
- What’s the #1 thing you need to stop doing to improve your sleep?
- What’s the #1 thing you need to stop doing to improve your movement?
- What’s the #1 thing you need to stop doing to improve your eating?
Or maybe you have other fundamentals that you want to focus on, perhaps to improve your work life, your home life, your financial health, or your relationships. In that case, pick one small thing you could start or stop doing to improve in your selected area.
100% Is Easier Than 98%
“We will all experience one pain or the other — the pain of discipline or the pain of regret — but the difference is that the pain of discipline weighs only ounces while the pain of regret weighs tons.” ~ Jim Rohn
Each day, you’ll face a decision. Will you do your one thing today or not? If it is a sufficiently small step, this may seem like a trivial decision. But over time, the results, favorable or unfavorable, are dramatic. [Christensen]
You will experience pain – either the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. [Rohn] But you can mitigate the pain of discipline by making the decision one time to do (or stop doing) your one thing, rather than seeing it as a decision you must make every day. It is easier to take your step 100 percent of the time than to do it 98 percent of the time. [Christensen] Decide what you want to do or to stop doing. Then decide you will do that thing every day. 100 percent of the time.
Becoming a Little Better Every Day
Work to make a little improvement each day. Anything of value takes time to achieve. You won’t feel like you’re making progress at first. Changes will be so subtle, they won’t be noticeable . . . at first. But over time, those seemingly insignificant steps taken consistently create a radical difference. [Hardy]
Each new positive step leads us closer to our desired destination. Every disciplined step weakens the grip of failure [Rohn] By getting back to basics and keeping our fundamentals in sight, we insure we’re taking these first steps in the right direction. We are taking them every day. And that is embracing your Excelerated Life™!
What small step have you been taking for a while?
What results have you seen?
Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
Excelerated Fundamentals™ — perfecting basic self-care practices — is one step in creating your Excelerated Life™, a life of flourishing and well-being, and a life of meaning, purpose, and service.
Canfield, Jack. The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Art to Where You Want to Be. New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2005.
Christensen, Clayton M. How Will You Measure Your Life? New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2012.
Hardy, Darren. The Compound Effect. Boston, MA: Da Capo Press, 2010.
Rohn, Jim. The Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle. Lake Dallas, TX: Jim Rohn International, 1991.
Wooden, John with Steve Jamison. Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court. New York: McGraw Hill, 1997.