The 1% Rule and Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail?


New Year’s Resolutions fail most of the time. It’s the end of October as I update this post, how have you done?

We try to accomplish tremendous feats. But all we need is to change one thing, one percent, for every day of the year.

Oh, the agony!  All the work that goes into self-reflection, facing past failures, and deciding to make a change.  Only to experience the awkwardness of a failed attempt at making progress.

Entrepreneurs say they fail 91% of the time!

The Slow Demise of a Failed Dream


Things go splendid on day one, day two, and day five. You missed days 3 and 4, but things got hectic. But the weekend arrives and you need a break.

So for days six and seven, you push snooze — a few times.

Day eleven arrives, and you are feeling guilty. Day 30; you forgot you ever made a new year’s resolution.

What is wrong with me?


I hear this often:  What is wrong with me?  Nothing.

What is wrong is the system you are using for progress

If you are trying to change behaviors head-on, you will run into your habits.  And habits are resilient!

I learned a trick from a great friend and colleague of mine. He learned it from Jerry Seinfeld.

It’s the 1% rule.

We don’t destroy our habits at full speed.  We slip in and start a revolution with a 1% action every single day. (And if you miss a day, it’s relatively easy to get back into the 1%!)

Seinfeld told troubled comics to write a joke every day.  He said most of them would fail. But by writing one every day at the end of the year, you have 365 jokes.

One or two is bound to work.

Leaders and the 1% Rule


As leaders, we often need something new, something big, or something bold to help us cut through the obstacles and lead our teams to success.

When your brain is programmed to behave a certain way based on habits you have cherished and nurtured for some time, slipping in a 1% change will mostly go unnoticed by the ego police.

It can be simple things.

  • One call a day.
  • One invite for coffee a day.
  • Ten minutes of meditation a day.
  • 250 words written on the project a day
  • Four interviews a week

The point is if you can make a simple change in the direction of the goal you have set, and you do it repeatedly for 365 days, something will move!

Often it opens doors you would never have expected because you functioned with the habit instead of the possibilities.

Think Big, Start at 1%


So pull up those bootstraps and dream huge dreams.

Plan one week of activity using the one percent rule. What tiny habit could I act on without feeling much pain or discomfort?

Do that very thing, nothing more or less, for seven days in a row and watch what happens.  Steve Jobs said it. ” Bend the Universe.”

Keep It Simple and Watch it Grow


Don’t make this difficult. Keep it accessible for yourself and others.

Your one percent rule of change could be:

  • one less coffee
  • one more call
  • five minutes with no phone
  • one hour of analysis
  • one chapter read a day
  • one compliment to a team member
  • write the story….(your story!)

Adopt a 1% Rule Buddy

Find someone on your team to be accountable every day for thirty days.

Every single day you shoot them a text and say, DONE or NOT DONE.  No excuses. Just the facts.

Tomorrow, do it again.  Get ready, my dear reader, things are about to change.








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