I’ve been a little down on myself lately.
I’m known as a “fit” girl. I’m the girl in the gym 4-5 days lifting heavy weights and pushing myself in quick-paced metcons. I’m meal prepping and tracking macros and promoting strength training for women. I coach this stuff and I coach it well.
Except I feel the least in shape I’ve felt in a long time.
I’ll admit it: I’ve gained a few pounds. Not many – not even double digits – but enough that I’ve noticed and I don’t like it. I try to give myself grace. I remind myself that the last eighteen-plus months have been wild. There was a global pandemic. I started grad school. Moved across the country. Spent much of January and February inside my apartment while Los Angeles surged in COVID cases once more. Had to learn a new city, find my new places, when the restrictions were lifted and we were free to move about. I even had a health scare.
But I’m also self-aware enough to know I didn’t prioritize my health and moving my body, two things that are paramount to who I am. I’m an enneagram 3, a generator in human design, and a triple fire (Aries sun, Aries moon, Sagittarius rising) if you believe in astrology. I, by design, have a lot of energy and that energy needs to get out. I quite literally need to wring out all the energy I can by bedtime in order to sleep well.
I have not been sleeping well.
Too much pent-up energy.
With all the change and the general melancholy of a pandemic that seems to never quite end, I found myself sitting on the couch more. Reaching for less nutritious food more often. Eating really well during the week only to have a free for all come the weekend.
In February, I started going to cycle classes on a regular basis. I love cycle classes, but my body thrives with heavy weights, metcons, and barre classes. As much as I love carbs and as much as I encourage my clients to eat them, my body doesn’t respond well to them. I know what works for me and I wasn’t doing it. I wasn’t lifting weights or doing barre and dinner had become one big plate of carbs and not the more nutritional ones.
Truth be told, I got pretty down on myself, especially as the scale started to edge up ever so slowly. I’d worked hard to lose almost 100lbs and get in the best shape of my life and it was all fluttering away.
I threw a pity party, but I also knew the truth: if I wanted something to change, I needed to do something to change it.
It’s human nature to go ALL IN. That’s why fad diets that promise big results are so popular. People join WW or go keto or sign up for 75 Hard (don’t get me started on that one…) because they’re promised MAJOR results FAST.
But then their 75 days end or they go on vacation or they just get tired of feeling restricted and they “fall off the wagon” as the saying goes.
The key is to make small, incremental changes.
To get 1% better each day.
I read Atomic Habits earlier this year where this concept was introduced. If you work to be 1% better today than you were yesterday, by year’s end you are nearly 37% better than where you started. But if you choose not to try to be 1% better each day, you decline nearly down to zero.
I want to be 37% ahead.
I made the decision to be 1% better each day in pursuit of getting back into the habits that serve me best. Rather than rid my fridge of all things junk food and/or high in carbs, commit to drinking a gallon of water each day, and signing up for six workouts a week all at once, I found a place where I could improve 1%.
It started with water. I had been drinking at least 100oz a day pre-move to Los Angeles. My intake had decreased to less than half of that. I wasn’t drinking soft drinks and sugar-filled juices, I just wasn’t drinking anything aside from coffee and a couple glasses of water. So my first way to get 1% better each day was to increase my water intake. I drank a little more water each day, but I also made small changes to my environment to help me drink more water. I bought a Brita filter and an insulated water bottle and later, a half-gallon water bottle.
Within the week, my water intake had almost doubled and has remained steady. So I focused my 1% better each day on the next thing: I started to track my food. I didn’t adjust my food intake, I just got an idea for what I was eating which was eye opening. From there, I started to make adjustments by reaching for more nutrient-dense foods and making better choices. Eventually, my 1% better turned into finding a gym where I can lift heavy, getting back into teaching barre, and most recently, I hired a nutrition coach for a few months.
It’s only been a few weeks of working towards this 1% better each day goal with my health, but I’m already starting to feel more like myself. And my goodness, does it feel good to have my hands on a barbell again. To teach barre classes again. My 1% better is shifting to sleep now, with me trying to go to bed just a few minutes earlier each night.
Small, incremental, sustainable changes.
The 1% better principle can be applied anywhere in life. I’m using it with my business as well, finding ways to get 1% better at being an entrepreneur each day. I’m not steering a ship so much as building it right now, but the ship gets a little further along each day.
I’m owning that I want to change and/or re-establish habits and committing to keeping those habits in the long term. I’m committed to getting 1% better.
How can you get 1% better today?