#13 The 1% Improvement Rule ⋆ TechPixies

#13 The 1% Improvement Rule

This is the final part of a 4 part series on habits.

In the first part, we spoke about bad habits, how they hold you back from success and gave you a tool to help you start breaking them.

In the second part, we discussed the 2 KISS Rules for getting new habits to stick: the 2 minute rule and the don’t skip twice rule.

Then in our latest installment, we talked about the habit of words and 3 worst things that women tell themselves every day.

As we wrap habits up, I want to introduce you to something that blew my mind.

A few years ago, I was at a business event – that same event was where I heard about the concept of the growth mindset – and I learned about the concept of 1% improvement.

The reason why most people fail at their new habits is that they are generally trying to make a dramatic change BUT here’s the deal…

Dramatic changes are hard and overwhelming.

Remember the 2 minute KISS Rule? If you want to start running – you don’t start by running an hour a day – you start by running 2 minutes a day.

And if we keep the second KISS Rule… never skip twice… then let’s say you decide you are going to run 5 days a week (that still gives you a couple skip days – just don’t skip twice!).

But now… let’s add the 1% improvement rule. If you decide that you are going to start by running 2 minutes a day and then push yourself to increase your time by 1% each time you run and you do it for a a year, in week 52, you’ll be running 26 minutes.

The 1% improvement rule applies to everything – money, weight, tech skills. It is about small improvements over time that lead to big results.

I was lucky to have heard about the 1% improvement rule (also called The Aggregation of Marginal Gains – James Clear) early on when building TechPixies. Almost immediately, I adapted this principle to our core curriculum. I have made it my goal and mission to improve the curriculum each and every time we delivered it – for both our face to face and our online curriculum. Over time, this has become one of the strengths of the programme and it is a principle that I am fully committed to.

One thing I’ve found in applying this principle is that in the early days, it is often easy to make leaps and bounds in improvement. It is only as time goes on that it gets harder and harder to improve. That is when you start to improve the things people can’t see. James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits explains what this looked like for the British Cycling team.

Take the running example above – it may be that once you get up to running 26 minutes a day, you don’t actually need to run longer. At this point, you start to run faster. You introduce 10×1 minute sprints or 8×2 minute sprints. Within the same amount of time, you can start to make speed improvements.

I’d love to know what kinds of things you’d like to make 1% improvements on? Tell us on Facebook.


This is the final part of a four part series we have released about habits. If you’d like to start changing a bad habit you’ve had for a while, then download our FREE HABIT BREAKER WORKSHEET which will help identify the habit you want to change as well as work out your habit loop and track your progress towards breaking it.

We’d love it if you’d join us for an online discussion too! I’m LIVE on Facebook at 12pm on Tuesdays.