Three simple ideas about how you get 1% better every day

Skyscrapers were built floor after floor, not all at once. Photo by Samson on Unsplash.

Have you ever wondered why you can’t reach your goals?

Me too.

I lacked the understanding that results compound over time. Life is a series of games. You want to play as many as you can. The more games, the more opportunities, friends, and experiences. To play more of them, you have to get better at playing.

Use these three easy and superb ideas to get 1% better every day.

In a year, you won’t believe how far you’ve got.

There is no mind without a body

You can’t separate your meat suit from your central processing unit. They’re one in terms of your experience.

If you want to be an athlete, you have to fix your thinking.

If you want to be a thinker to have to fix your shape.

Sure, they’re examples of great people who only cared about one of these.

You’re not them. You want to maximize your chances for improvement.

How?

By developing yourself and balancing body and mind, they exist in harmony, giving you what’s needed to survive.

Starting with the body is powerful. There is a high chance you’ve been overusing your brain with constant overthinking. Incorporating exercises for the body will help you develop the crucial discipline for mind training.

When I got sober and got free time, I needed something to do. Bizarre ideas came to me, and I decided to start juggling and walking every day.

Juggling was fun for a month. Later it became a chore to do. I did it anyway because it was an additional movement. While I was juggling, there was no room for thinking about what had happened two weeks ago. I was entirely focused on the balls (;)).

Walking is another story. Thoughts were flowing through me. Sometimes I got lost in them but moving through space brought me back. In addition, it was relaxing. My brain could find order in shattered pieces of information.

With time I could juggle better and walk for longer. There was an improvement.

This is crucial.

Results compound over time. Most people resign before seeing the effects. Later they’re unhappy that effort gave them nothing. You have to stick to something to see if it works.

Think of diet.

You can’t expect to lose fat in a day. Your body doesn’t work like that. You have to continue for a month to see the first results.

Juggling and walking are examples of low entry point activities. You can start anytime.

Both give you minimal health benefits in the short run but compound to give you great ones over time. You only need to continue.

The additional advantage is disciplining yourself. Starting small makes exercising easy, and therefore you can build a habit out of it without getting tired.

After a month of regular exercise, you believe you may be persistent at something.

Get up every day and exercise.

Start small and simple.

Increase the training volume when you’re ready.

Going for a walk is exercising. Hiking is one too.

Want to feel better, more energized, happier, calmer, and more confident? Find what you like and double down on that. Doing some physical activity is better than doing none. You know what to do.

Experience what’s there as clearly as possible

Punctuate your day with awareness of everything around you. Let the moment be as it is as if there is no problem.

Meditate.

You don’t meditate to become a better meditator. The end goal of your practice should be to clearly see the world. Formal practice is how it’s easier to notice raw data coming to your senses. Practice catching the same thing during daily activities.

Clearing up your mind from the clutter of constant thinking brings you as close to reality as possible.

You can stop identifying with your thoughts. You gain a deep understanding of the fact you’re not them. You’re more. You’re the space where every sensation, thought, and feeling appears. Everything is just an item in consciousness. Everything is just an item in You.

You’re your experience, and everything is an experience for you. This perspective allows noticing how greatly our interpretations affect how we see the world. Try to separate the experience from your ideas about it, your opinions, and your interpretations. Let it be how it is, without resisting, without judging.

This is hard. So much is happening all the time. You feel lost or sad. You just got home from work. You got robbed. How can you let yourself experience all that without resisting?

The big help for me was realizing that what I usually resist already happened.

We have high inflation here in Poland. This results in increasing interest rates. That affects the mortgage installment. People complain, focusing on the injustice of this situation. They got into debt, and many of them have problems paying it off. This is understandable, but is it helpful for them?

Will banks forget about debt because people are complaining?

No.

Complaining won’t help because increases have already happened. We already have to pay more.

I was one of the complainers. It got me nowhere, but I experienced some stress and fear. What if I won’t be able to pay up? I resisted the past, and that made my present worse.

I can’t change the past; why bother?

I can change my actions now, and they affect my future.

What if you can decide to accept the reality and then act?

Stoics made it even easier. Focus only on the things under your control. You can’t control the past; you can’t control interest rates. What can you control?

Yourself. You can earn more. You can find another source of income. You can limit your expenses. You can invest what you have. You can learn a valuable skill.

Seeing things clearly doesn’t mean you have to surrender to them. If there is any action you can take, you’ll have your chance. What good does it make to drow yourself in sorrows?

None.

Meditation gives you a choice. Will you focus on downsides, or will you look for the silver linings? Start your practice and give yourself a fighting chance.

Love takes many shapes

Loving yourself is a must.

You can love yourself in many ways. Love yourself by taking breaks during work. Love yourself by planning your time to know what you’ll do next.

Love yourself by being attentive to your needs. Those important ones happen to show up when you work too much, drink too much, or feel lonely.

You are one step from knowing what to do most of the time. Let yourself make that step and find out what is that you need.

Any form of self-reflection will benefit you. You can try journaling. You can try Seneca’s bedtime meditation. You can go with a gratitude journal. Whatever you choose.

Keep in mind that writing things down clears up your mind.

Love yourself by taking care of your energy levels. Rest when you feel the need to. Get up to take action when you hear the call from life. The idea is not to be always in a peak productive state or always lazy, lying in bed. You need balance. You need to switch between those states with mastery you can get only with practice.

Sometimes you’ll manifest love by doing what you don’t want to do. You’re human. You’ll find many excuses for not doing the right thing at the moment. You can be tired. You can be sad. Self-love is not about pitting yourself and letting you escape life. Self-love is about embracing life and enjoying it.

If you always go easy on yourself, you don’t love yourself. You hate yourself. You need the challenge. You need to be exhausted sometimes. You need to suffer to transform because transformation happens through suffering. It’s the ultimate currency of importance.

You pay with pain.

Yet, you can’t go all the way down like this. Your job is to find something that justifies suffering. Finding that thing is self-love, allowing yourself to look is self-love, and listening to yourself when you find it is self-love.

Self-love means listening to yourself. And yes, you need others to tell you when you plan something stupid, and yes, you should take that into account. You have to confront yourself with reality.

This is hard. How can you know if people are right and you’re wrong? You try, next time, you know. Make fixable mistakes and learn from them, so when the important things come, you’ll know what to do or at least where to start.

Things of importance are expensive

Everything worth living for has a cost.

Want to become the best version of yourself?

You have to go through the transformation, and you pay with suffering. Some parts of you have to die to allow for change. You may be attached to them. Letting go of the things you love is the price.

To get the process started, you have to put effort regularly over a long period. Doing something once is not enough.

Do you want to be a programmer?

Sit down and start programming every day for a month, and you’ll taste it.

Do you want to be trustworthy?

Reflect on your actions every day. Did you lie? Did you promise something to never deliver?

Your only job is to know what you should do and do it. Before you know anything, you need faith and effort. Start with disciplining your body, continue with the mind, and end with love.

Then you’ll know what to do. Then you’ll get better every day.

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Ryszard Śpiewak

Ryszard Śpiewak

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