The Power of One

No, this article isn’t about the 1992 movie starring Morgan Freeman. But if it were, I would tell everyone that the movie is worth watching! This article is about your actions and how adding one thing to your routine can improve your life.

The simplest way to look at The Power of One is through the example of push-ups. Let’s say you want to add an everyday habit of doing push-ups. Which I actually did this year. Don’t start the habit by doing 100 push-ups and expecting it to stick. Start the habit by just doing one push-up. One push-up is easy, almost everyone can do it. Then the next day add a second push-up, now you’re at two. After 100 days of adding one push-up a day then you will be at 100 push-ups. I’m not saying you won’t miss days or have setbacks. Getting to 100 push-ups is hard. But the habit of doing push-ups everyday will be instilled in you. Adding one push-up every time you go through your routine isn’t hard for your mind to overcome.

From the push-up example above, I think everyone now can understand what I mean from The Power of One. You start off doing one of something then incrementally add on more. This helps to instill a habit in your life. The Power of One is a useful tactic because it is a habit building formula.

I really believe this method can be applied to anything in your life. I’ve been using this method in my workouts for a while now adding on one squat, one push-up, and five sit-ups to my work out every day. I’m not perfect and some days I do miss workouts. Although by doing The Power of One method it helped instill the habit of exercise in my life.

Not only does The Power of One help with forming habits. It also helps to keep you motivated. Every time you add one to your number of reps; it pushes your overall number up. This will keep you motivated and make you feel accomplished. Daily you will be hitting a new, personal best. Which is really what you are striving for.

Applying to other parts of your life:

The Power of One isn’t just to develop a habit of exercising in your life. Although if this is your goal, I would recommend you try out this approach. You can use it for other habits you are looking to form in your life.

When I was looking to form a habit of writing in my life. I started by writing for 15 minutes then increased it by 5 minutes daily. This allowed me to work myself up to writing for one hour every morning. It now feels weird if I don’t write in the mornings. Even when I am pressed for time, I still sit down with my laptop and write a little. I think the drive to write in the mornings now comes from a place of habit. Which I have instilled in my life by using The Power of One approach.

I used this approach to implement a habit of meditation and journaling in my life as well. For meditation I began at 5 minutes and added 15 seconds daily. I continued using this approach until I reached 15 minutes. Now I mediate for 15 minutes after every work out. Now it seems that 15 minutes is not long enough!

For journaling I started out by just tracking my workouts out and my meditation progress. Which got me into the habit of picking up my journal daily. I expanded this process into writing down my goals. Eventually, I came up with a full journaling process and I have to make myself stop writing after three pages.

As you can see by doing things in small steps, it can make major changes in your life. Healthy habits don’t have to be added to your life in big doses. They can be small additions over a longer period of time.

Forming habits:

In The 5 AM Club by Robin Sharma, Sharma makes reference to the 66-day mark. Sharma signifies this as being the critical point for habit formation. After 66 days of completing a task, it forms a habit in your life. This number may be different for everyone, but it is a good point to strive for.

Keep in mind it doesn’t matter if you miss a day as long as pick it up again the next day. When you miss multiple days of your new habit, that is when you start to deviate from your plan. If you miss a day of doing push-ups, it’s no big deal. Although if you miss a week or two. It will be much harder to get back on track. At this point you may need to start from scratch, in your habit formation. A good rule is to only miss one day of your habit.

Miss one work out but don’t miss two. Miss one meditation session but don’t miss two. Miss one day of running but don’t miss two. I think you get my point!

Another way to look at habit formation is to look at raising a dog. I love dogs, so this is a good analogy for me. When you are raising a dog, what you are trying to do is instill habits in the dog’s life. To make your life easier and to make the dog’s life easier. Consistency is the key for this. If you are looking to house-train your dog but you don’t take the dog out at the same time daily. Then house training your dog will be very difficult. The dog will never know when they get to go outside to use the bathroom. So, they may pee in the house because they don’t have a proper schedule. Although if you take your dog out at the same times daily. Your dog will be on a schedule or in other words you will be forming a habit in their life. This, in turn, makes house training easier.

The same can be said for humans. If we schedule things in our lives, our bodies grow to expect things. If we go for a run every morning, we then become accustomed to running in the morning. It feels weird if we don’t do this! It may even throw off your whole day. Our habit takes over in the morning, and our body expects certain things.

This is a fairly short post this week. The Power of One is a simple concept but if implemented correctly can make major improvements in your life. The simple approach of small gains helps to instill habits. You are not looking for big changes in your life right away. You are looking for small improvements that lead to big changes overtime.

Since I’m writing this on a Sunday, and I have football on my mind. I’ll present you with a football analogy to end this topic. It doesn’t work to go for a touchdown on the first throw of the game. You need to make your way up the field using a series of throwing and running plays in order to reach the end zone. Have a good week everyone!

If you’re interested in hearing more from me subscribe to my blog or look me up on Instagram @the_52_book_challenge! Check back next week for my next blog post!

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