Small Changes, Big Impact

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Following a recommendation, last week l signed up to James Clear’s weekly 3-2-1 email. It contains 3 ideas from James, 2 quotes from others and 1 question for you. James Clear is an author and speaker focused on habits, decision-making, and continuous improvement. 

This led me to start reading his New York Times bestselling book, Atomic Habits. The book starts off explaining a strategy that was implemented in British Cycling referred to as “the aggregation of marginal gains.” Taking the British Cycling team from mediocrity to world champions. Essentially, it’s the notion that if you focus on little habits, a 1% improvement on everything you do, these marginal gains add up and multiply as you repeat them. 

Although goals are important for setting direction, it’s your “system”, the processes you follow, which lead to results. What really struck me is that “winners and losers have the same goals” in sporting events for example. The differentiator quite probably being their “system of continuous small improvements”. 

Although only one chapter in, this read has got me reflecting on what marginal gains I could implement that would help me from a work perspective. In the style of James Clear I thought I’d share 3 with you, leave you with 2 quotes from others and end with a question for you! 

My initial ideas for marginal gains:

  • Stop non-essential emails getting into my (and the teams’) inbox. (Sanebox has just been recommended to me, will explore this!) 
  • Write at least one sentence a day in reflective journal. 
  • Ditch looking at my phone in bed, only reach for a book or be with my thoughts.

 

Quotes from others:

“Success is never due to one thing, but failure can be.

Sleeping well won’t make you successful, but not sleeping enough will hold you back. Hard work is rarely enough without good strategy, but even the best strategy is useless without hard work.

Many things are necessary, but not sufficient for success.”

- James Clear, Author

“Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”

- Laura Buchanan, Author 

 

My question for you:

What would be an example of a marginal gain which would, over time, have a positive impact for you (personally or professionally)? 

(If you’re open to sharing your answer with others please leave it in the comments box, I hope this will help others to reflect and explore ideas.) 

 

*Originally posted on LinkedIn