About six months ago I heard a talk at church about how the British cycling team was turned around from its 110-year streak of utter failure to what it is now. In the past two decades since implementing the philosophy of “1% better,” British cyclists have won the Tour de France six times. During the past four Olympic Games, Great Britain has been the most successful country across all cycling disciplines. In the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, the UK won more gold medals in cycling than any other country.
They did this by make small 1% improvements resulting in “the aggregation of marginal gains.” Not only did they make small, continual changes to their equipment and training, but as they went along, they found unexpected areas that needed adjustment, such as nutrition and maintenance. Over time, these tiny improvements added up, providing amazing results.
Now, this talk was not about cycling, per se, but about bettering ourselves. According to James Clear, author of “Atomic Habits,” if you apply the 1% principle each day to a habit or action you are trying to improve, “by the end of a year … you will be 37 times better.”
The “1% better” principle is a mathematical version of baby steps, but I think it also is a more deliberate approach. Further, I think it applies not only to the temporal/physical but also emotional and spiritual aspects of our lives.
Just a little better each day will get us to where/what/how we want to be.
I find that this principle applies to homesteading as much as it does to everything else. I am having to embrace the concept of “1% better” in regard to my homesteading efforts. As the effects of my treatment for Lyme disease are holding me back more and more as time goes on, I find I have even less physical ability to function. The past few months has been more like a drip-drip-drip of the accomplishment faucet, instead of a gushing faucet.
So, my pep talk to myself today is: I can do 1% every week on the homestead and in the end, that will be enough to accomplish what needs to be done.
So, the fact that “all” I accomplished this week to make the homestead better was to fertilize the apple trees and boysenberry bushes, plant the new boysenberry plants in their permanent pots, clean the old litter from the chicken coop and put down fresh bedding, lay the last of the cardboard in the Three Sisters Garden area, transplant a few of the seedlings that haven’t died, and plant the Kabocha pumpkin seeds in peat pots?
It is enough.