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Can You Improve Your ROL by 1% Each Day?

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Would you like to achieve a 37X change in your life by this time next year?

According to productivity expert James Clear -- and a little bit of math -- that's how big of an impact just a 1% daily improvement can make over time. 

Of course, the reverse is also true: take too many small steps back from your goals and you're going to find yourself back at the bottom of the hill. 

Let's talk about the potential power of 1% improvement and three simple steps to help you achieve more and improve your Return on Life. 

1. Reassess your annual goals. 

If you're maintaining any kind of progress on the goals or resolutions you set at the beginning of the year, you're already way ahead. Most people abandon new goals after a few weeks. Feeling that you want to keep improving suggests you've set targets that are meaningful enough for you to keep going. 

On the other hand, if you don't feel the same drive that you felt when you chose a particular goal, maybe that goal wasn't right for you in the first place. Or, perhaps your priorities have shifted and you want to start improving in a different area. Refocus on a goal that you're personally invested in, and you'll have a much better chance of making continuous improvements. 

2. Do 1% more of what's already working. 

The most effective path to improvement is to complete small, actionable tasks that build and maintain forward momentum. That could mean jogging X miles every morning as you build towards running a marathon or saving X dollars from every paycheck as you pad your savings account for a home purchase. 

If you have effective steps in place, ask yourself, “How can I improve that step by 1%?” 

Could you increase your runs by 1% every day?

Lift weights that are 1% heavier?

Increase your savings by 1%?

Raise your daily reading goal by 1%?

Work 1% harder on the presentation you have to give at your next board meeting?

Spend 1% more of your free time with your spouse or kids? Volunteering? Mentoring? 

You probably won't notice the effects of these small increases in the moment. But that's the magic of compounding: every time you raise the bar, you're automatically raising the bar for tomorrow as well. And as those daily wins keep racking up, so will your progress towards your ultimate goal. 

3. Avoid small setbacks. 

What's the harm in skipping a morning bike ride if you didn't sleep well the night before?

Why not buy an extra takeout meal this week if you really don't feel like cooking something healthy?

Every time you compromise on your action items, you don't just fall a little bit further behind. You also create a permission structure that makes it easier for you to take another step backwards the next time you're challenged. 

To prevent these kinds of small setbacks, look for ways to simplify and automate your daily routine. Focus on a single exercise during your daily workout instead of trying to hit every muscle group. Use time blocking or other scheduling techniques to move efficiently from one task to the next. Automate savings and investment deposits in your banking app. Set your Spanish flash cards on the breakfast bar so you can't miss them while you're having coffee. 

Sometimes revisiting all that you have already accomplished can be a powerful motivator. As you prep your new personal improvement plan, consider making an appointment to review your Life-Centered Financial Plan. Your $Lifeline is already full of significant accomplishments, and we’re excited to help you pass many more milestones in the future. 

Between industry news and personal experience.