The importance of a 1 percent improvement in habits.


Habits are a double-­edged sword. They can work for you or
against you, which is why understanding the details is essential.

~ James Clear ~

The quality of our life depends on the quality of our habits. Same habits always ends up with the same result. A slight change in your habit can give a marvelous outcome.

So what is a habit? “A tiny repetitive action that you perform daily so, it can become the part of your identity”. Let me explain this phenomenon with an amazing example.

British Cycling Team Success:

The fate of British Cycling suddenly changed in 2003. They never had a win since 1908. Their performance was so bad that the top manufacturers in Europe refused to sell bikes to them because they are afraid that this will hit their sales negatively. The organization hired Dave Brailsford as a new coach of the team to put them on a new trajectory. Brailsford always uses the strategy he referred to as “The aggregation of marginal gain.”

Marginal Gain:

Brailsford said, “The whole principle came from the idea that if you broke down everything you, could think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improve it by 1percent, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together.

They began by making small adjustments in the team and bikes. They redesigned the seats to increase comfort and rub alcohol on the tires for better road grip. They changed the suits which are lighter and more aerodynamic. They identify every week area and started making 1 percent improvements in them. He hired a masseuse and surgeon and started taking care of the medical fitness of the team. He changed the mattress and pillow so that the riders can get a good night’s sleep. Along with other hundreds of small changes, the results came faster than expected.

Outstanding Results:

In 2008, just after five years Brailsford lookover, they won the Olympic Games in Beijing. They won 60% of gold medals. Four years later in London, they raised the bar by winning 9 Olympic records and 7 world records. That same year, Bradley Wiggins became the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France. The next year, his teammate Chris Froome won the race, and he would go on to win again in 2015, 2016, and 2017, giving the British team five Tour de France victories in six years. From 2007 to 2017 they won 178 world championships and 66 Olympics gold medals.


But how? How a loser team transformed into world champions? How small improvements made by Brailsford accumulate into remarkable results? How we can apply this phenomenon to our own life?

Too often, we convince ourselves that massive success requires massive actions. We persuade ourselves to take earth-shaking action that the world will talk about. Whereas 1 percent is not that notable or noticeable, but it far more important in a long run. These tiny improvements make outstanding results over time.

Simple Math:

Here is simple math for this. If we can get 1 percent better for each day for one year. You will get up 37 times better by the end of the year. Reversely, if we get 1% worse daily for one year, we will decline near to ZERO.

Figure: The effect of small habits compound over time.

Habits are the compound interest of self-­improvement

The same way money money multiplies through compound effect, habit multiples as you repeat them.

This article is the abstraction of chapter 1 from the book “Atomic Habits” by James Clear.



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