Updated: Nov 19, 2022
The Tour-de-France is for champion bicyclists. For about a century, British riders were not placing, no victories and no metals. It got so rough, that some prodigious bike brands wouldn't sell them bikes for fear that their brand would diminish, a kind of "tainted by association" issue.
Countless resources and cutting-edge research came to the team over the century of no victories. Coach after coach tried everything. Then in 2003, Sir David Brailsford became coach and implemented “the aggregation of marginal gains.*" This means working to create small improvements in every aspect. When it came to bicycling, Brailsford decided to break down every aspect of what it took to be a great bicyclist and make it measurable.
The key was just to improve the weakest aspect by one percent.
With each British bicyclist focusing on just improve their weakness by one percent, the greater whole became stronger. The focus was honed and the results were magnifying.
Since implementing Brailsford's 1 percent plan, they were able to win the Tour-de-France six times since 2003.
The power came when the bicyclists choose to focus on improving each aspect of bicycling by just 1 percent more. Just one thing.
What is one thing that you can do to support what you are trying to accomplish?
When working on oneself, a person can get hyper fixated on what is wrong or unagreeable. It is easy to get discouraged and it is easy to overgeneralize that one is a complete failure.
The negative thoughts start creeping in. The evidence before you can be overwhelming. Maybe you really are just an awful person.
Without knowing you, I would say, that you are not, you are in incredible person passing through challenges that are requiring more of you than you wish they were. Not being able to find the solution means your normal. And once you have found the solution that means your life can now pivot out of the challenge and hopefully learn from it.
Choosing to Diminish:
There are things that will diminish your life. What do I mean when I say diminish? They will take from you instead of add to you. Here are few common ones to look out for:
What do you use to cope with your failures, boredom, or discomfort?
You need to understand that the moment you want to flee, fight, or freeze out of something that you are seeking to cope.
Common Ways One Copes:
What You Can Do Instead:
Stop what you are doing: Take a break
Evaluate. Seek to objectively understand what is causing you to freeze, fight, or flee.
Ask yourself to clarify your current feelings: Are you in real danger? Is there any evidence that you are not a good person? Are you able to see what is really going on in this situation?
Work through and commit to trying again when you're ready to proceed. Or choose to step away and not return to the situation or conversation.
How can you tell you are avoiding something?
The moment that you start putting other things before the thing that needs to get done,
This could be a conversation that you need to have, a commitment you need to keep, or a deadline you need to reach.
The best way to combat this feeling is to understand what it is that you’re afraid of going wrong, and then seek to mitigate the risk of that happening. Address the fear and just start. I guarantee that it is not as bad as you think it is going to be.
What is the difference between stressful procrastination and procrastination?
To some procrastination works because they want to think about the topic or project and give themselves time to formulate - this is strategic procrastination.
Pro's To Strategic Planning (aka procrastinating)
Time to think
Executed it with clarity
Was able to finish by the deadline
IMPORANT: The key is to make sure you think and resolve what needs to be done so you can act in a timely manner that results in successfully completing the task by the deadline.
However stressful procrastination is a different issue. Stress is a beast. It can take over your health, your sanity, and disrupt your peace.
Signs of Stress-filled Procrastination:
Lacking time which leads to overwhelm.
Under equipped/ Under trained.
Take the time to breathe, seek experienced support, and be honest with yourself and whoever is involved. With honesty, it is important to go to the person you have made the commitment to and openly state that you will not have it done in time. And ask what you they would have you do.
If no one is involved in this procrastination and there is no real consequence, take time to evaluate what happened and how come you choose to not commit to the deadline. What were your excuses?
Consider what your word means to you.
One Percent Better:
The small things you do impact your life steadily over the course of your life. How you fill and add to your life matters because the little things you do daily become the wave you ride in the future.
The analogy of the stalactite comes to mind. When a stalactite is dripping down onto a stalagmite, the steady drip, drip, drip of water adds to the stalagmite daily. Over time they form together and become one. The power of the daily and consistent drops means there is power in the daily drops you bring to your life.
Like the power of one percent, the same thing is true with one drop.
What To Add To Improve Your Life Today:
Add Light: Add light by seeking to love yourself and others, build your spirituality, and practice an attitude of gratitude.
Add Learning: Ask yourself what builds and inspires your life? Decide now to add things that make you stronger.
Add Goals: Choose to plan and intentionally live your life. Goals are easy to start when you know where you want to go and who you want to be. Start small and build from there.
Add Joy: There are special things all around you that are meant just for you. Life is happening for you, not to you. Ask God to show you the ways He seeks to bless your life and you will find the joy that is all yours.
Add Connection: The foundation of life is in relationships, we are human beings, designed for connection. Seek to cultivate a connection with yourself and others.
Keep it simple, be consistent:
It is the simple, small, and consistent things that are going to make the biggest impacts in your life. You will find that a little bit of something each day will either build or diminish you.
There is power in just doing one thing today to build your life, to shift the dialog, or to make a choice that will support the life you are building.
What is one thing you can do to today to build towards that major goal you want to reach?
*See James Clear, “This Coach Improved Every Tiny Thing by 1 Percent and Here’s What Happened,” jamesclear.com/marginal-gains.