The Simple, Proven Method For Long-Term Consistent Results
“You need a mentor!” — Tends to be the most popular response to the question of how to improve results.
Nowadays it has become common for self-proclaimed “gurus”, of all sorts, to preach as the ultimate solution for every problem their potential clients have as the acquiring of a mentor. Usually themselves. Usually, for unreasonable amounts of money.
While I have no problem with someone investing in improving themselves, as I do so myself, I have a big issue with promises to fix deeply urgent problems for people, with ease and in no time, when they clearly know that it is not possible. Especially if they top it off with a course in which the $ value ends with a 7.
As someone who sells information and advice, what I’ve found is that the biggest change and the biggest results will come from the ability to put in consistent action with the most relevant habits to reach said goal, and then the willingness to regularly sit down with the work that has been put out and understand what can be improved.
Essentially, prioritization + consistency + slow improvements over time.
While information and mentors can help you fill the gaps of where to be consistent and on what to improve with much more ease, they cannot replace the hours of work that have to be put in.
Whether we’re talking business, relationships, or fitness, you can have all the best information, the perfect plan, and the best mentors by your side, however, if you don’t allow for enough time to pass while you put the correct actions in, day after day, then you won’t see results.
As Warren Buffet put it:
“No matter how great the talent or efforts, some things just take time. You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.”
While I may have been too harsh previously, I’m by no means disregarding the importance of information.
After all, if you have the best strategy then you’ll be maximizing the time and effort you put in, consequentially, achieving better results in less time, and with the ever-growing library of free knowledge online, it is all, for the most part, within your reach right away.
With that in mind, the problem isn’t anymore figuring out the “secrets” to reach your goal, since, for the most part, they don’t exist, but instead to figure out which of the information is relevant, how to be consistent with it, and equally important, how to keep improving upon it.
This is how…
The 1% Rule
If you’ve been reading my articles for a while you’ve heard me mention “Kaizen”, and if you haven’t, it is the Japanese word for improvement. More specifically, “slow improvements over-time”, an idea that has been used to drastically improve long-term results with seemingly insignificant changes in the short term.
It’s the concept that was used, over the course of 5 years, to take the British cycling team from one of the worst to winning 60 percent of the gold medals. In between 2003 and 2008, their new coach Dave Brailsford focused not on burning everyone out to win medals ASAP, but instead, focus on slightly improving everything he could, from the rider's posture to how they cleaned their shoes, improvements that while on the short-term went unnoticed, eventually were responsible for the collective immense performance increase of the whole team.
Small changes lead to big results.
If that example leaves some questions about the effectiveness of this method, then we can easily illustrate it using everyone’s favorite school subject: MATH
The sweet numbers never lie, and as such, let’s use them to prove our point.
In typical math exercise ridiculousness, let’s imagine our subject, John, has bought a beehive to make him honey. John forgot supermarkets exist, and now, has to deal with bee stings every time he goes to his garden.
Despite this, let’s imagine the beehive produces 1 pot of honey every day, and for every extra new bee, the production increases by 1%…
If this hypothetical math problem was to ask us what the production increase would be on day 365, 1 year after, which option would you select?
- A) 365%
- B) 820%
- C) 3778%
- D) 36500%
While most people would be tempted to go for 365%, in reality, results are much more drastic.
By implementing a 1% daily improvement and compounding it on the previous gain made, after 365 days you would have improved the production by 3778%.
Almost 38 times as better than when you started.
If we are talking about John’s beehive, with the amount of honey he would be producing, it wouldn’t be long until he’d be having to fight bears off his backyard.
For us, this shows us a powerful lesson that we can start applying right away, one that in the future will bring us the results we want.
The Power Of Small Changes
For how appealing the potential of short-term rewards may seem, there are always 2 problems attached to it that most people won’t make clear for you.
#1 — The work required isn’t sustainable: Meaning, you may even be able to get to an incredible achievement by putting in a ridiculous amount of hours, however, you most likely won’t be able to maintain those results due to the unsustainability of such amount of work
#2 — Most people will fail in the short-term: No matter the goal we are trying to reach, but especially high-difficulty ones, there will be a period of learning. A period when we are still figuring out all of the elements surrounding our goal, which until we get the hang off, no visible results will appear.
Due to the presence of these problems in most of our important pursuits, it becomes, in my opinion, of absolutely high-importance to implement John’s approach to our own goals.
To stop trying to go for huge leaps with every step we take, and instead, focus on taking slightly better steps every day.
Every step, a better step.
The big problem can then be represented in a single question, one that most similar advice to this seems to avoid, however, the only question that matters to reap the benefits of this approach.
“How The Fuck Do You Slightly Improve Every Day?”
While books could and have been written on the topic, I’ll do my best to keep it simple, after all, if all the theory has been memorized but never put into practice, results will never appear.
As such, to keep it as simple and to the point as possible, this is my answer to the question:
Plan your week and then review it, making small improvements for the next.
You don’t need fancy apps, secret methods, or even a $1997 course to share this with you. For whatever goal you are trying to get to, it is all about understanding which are the priority habits to reach it, and then, planning them into your week, making sure that it is done in a way that continually pushes you to slightly improve.
During the week, you track whether or not you did the planned habits, and then, at the end of the week, you use the information you tracked to help you in improving for next week.
If you fail to be consistent with a habit, understand what made you fail and if you can fix it. Quite often the best solution is to slow it down, make it easier for you, and then, get consistent with this easier version before you improve upon it.
If you are being consistent but not seeing results analyze if enough time has passed, and if so, research which better habits you could implement to give you the desired results.
Of course, the devil is in the details, meaning that for all of the elements mentioned (and not mentioned) you will have to learn the best methods, the ones that work for you, and how to implement them., however, if I’m being as honest as possible, on an elevated view of achieving goals, that is pretty much it.
This is a process I committed myself to more than 3 years ago, which for how simple it may sound, allowed me to completely change the direction of my life. It was slow, I didn’t notice results for months, and at points, I truly felt like going for the short-term approach.
Funnily enough, only when I started shifting my focus from the end goal to the tasks in front of me, the processes to get me there, did I start putting much better work forward, which in turn allowed me to start seeing the results I wanted.
So if you take anything out of this article, let it be this:
No matter how tall the mountain in front of you, there will always be a bigger one to come after, and for how beautiful the view from the top may seem, it is one that we can only appreciate shortly. Most of our time will be spent on the daily walk towards it, on the overcoming of obstacles, on getting to know ourselves, and hopefully, on learning to love this process, one that cannot be avoided and must be respected, for, in this case, the quality of our steps will dictate the quality of the top of the mountain that awaits us.
The better the climb, the better the view.
Thank you for reading.