When things are not going right for us, when we are in pain, or when we want to achieve something in our lives, so many of us look for the magic pill, the single solution, the ONE THING that is going to make everything all better and help us reach our goals.
It becomes so easy for all of us to overestimate the importance of that ONE thing, that single defining action or moment that is going to change everything.
It's also incredibly easy for us to underestimate the value of making better decisions on a daily basis, of taking baby steps.
After all, almost every habit that we have, good or bad, is the result of many small decisions over time.
And yet, how easily we forget this when we want to make a change.
So often we convince ourselves that change is only meaningful if there is some large, visible outcome associated with it.
We often put pressure on ourselves to make some earth-shattering single improvement that everyone will talk about.
Meanwhile, improving by just 1 percent isn't notable (and sometimes it isn't even noticeable). But it can be just as meaningful, especially in the long run.
What am I going on about?
I'm talking about the principle of ‘MARGINAL GAINS’ adopted by the highly successful British cycling team in the 2012 Olympics.
Make 1% change in ten things and you get 10% change overall.
This is why, when clients come to me I want to know EVERYTHING about them. I want to find the 10 changes they can make that will add up to helping them achieve what it is that they want to achieve. But these changes aren't massive. They are tiny little changes. So tiny in fact that they hardly notice them. But over time…they all add up.
For example, I may spend the time explaining pain to clients in order to change their view of what pain is (which can be a huge benefit to reducing the said pain!). I may also give an exercise to help release an area that is in spasm. I may also ask a client to increase the amount of water that they drink whilst reducing their caffeine and alcohol intake (each of which can help to reduce inflammation in the body). I might also suggest that they go to bed earlier, get out for a 5 minute walk on their lunch break at work, or turn off the notifications on their facebook account (all of which can help to reduce stress). I might also suggest that they change the shoes that they wear, stop carrying their bag on one side or get them to stand up more often when working at a computer.
Everyone is different. Which means it's important to spend the time working out where changes can be made in order to help. But again, many of these are not big changes. 1% improvement. That’s all we're looking for.
Yes it takes time, patience and commitment. No quick fixes here I'm afraid. And it's certainly not a sexy solution. It won't sell well.
But it works. Trust me, it works.