Subtract Your Resolutions and Seek the 2% Improvement

A kinder way to make change, have it stick and be happier in the process.

2% happier with a hat on because it is brutally cold out!

How are those New Years Resolutions going? If you’re like most people that set grand goals for change in 2017 you may be feeling a little less resolute than you had hoped. Before you go ahead and revert back to your old ways I have another suggestion for you.

Seek the 2% Improvement.

This concept was introduced to me a few weeks ago and it has opened up a much happier & kinder way for me to make continued progress. The premise is very simple — you look to do 2% better, enjoy life 2% more, make 2% progress.

A good trigger that you need to seek the 2% improvement is anytime you complain, heavy sigh, roll your eyes to the point you’re worried they might get stuck, lose your mind with your kids, get annoyed with your work or reach for a glass of wine.

You might be thinking: 2% is not a huge move how is this going to change anything?

The act of looking for ANY improvement is going to change your state of mind from feeling stuck to one with options and freedom.

When you look for the 2% improvement you’re taking ownership for your role and experience and that feels empowering.

You’ll likely have a much greater impact than 2% improvement. We have a habit of thinking that a situation is harder to positively impact than it truly is. As you pursue the 2% improvement you’re likely to find an even greater improvement in the process.

2% is enough progress to create momentum. If you commit to doing 2% of an hour long workout that’s 1 minute and 12 seconds. I’d bet that after you’ve gotten the gear on to do said hourlong workout and you start the warm-up you’ll keep going. That’s the power of forward progress — it creates momentum that keeps you going.

2% Improvements In Place of Top Resolutions

  1. Lose weight — What would be a 2% improvement to your next meal? Adding a green salad to the side that you eat first would be a 2% improvement or skipping the whipped cream on the ice cream sundae (the ice creams the star of that show anyway!). If you’re already healthier seek 2% improvement from where you are today.
  2. Be Happier — What would make you 2% happier right now?
    Literally, right now. Ask yourself that question. It might look like turning up the volume on the movie so you’re not straining to hear it, or grabbing your favorite blanket so you’re not feeling chilled, perhaps a fire in the fireplace would make you happy or sending a text to a friend.
  3. Better Finances— What would make your finances 2% better?
    Money comes in and money goes out so think about the next time you’re going to spend money and consider how you could make that 2% better. Maybe it’s picking the BYOB place for dinner out or maybe it’s grocery shopping for the next couple of days instead of predicting what you’ll want four days from now.
  4. More excitement — What would make TODAY 2% more exciting?
    This is my favorite one because it’s easy to add excitement. You smile. 2% more excitement looks like adding a smile to a situation. Other ways to add excitement is to pair up a favorite thing to the everyday stuff you do. Listen to a favorite book, a podcast, a song while doing the routine things like doing the dishes, getting dressed, putting away the groceries.
  5. More time with family & friends — What would 2% more look like? 
    2% more means putting your phone down. It means when you’re with family & friends you are MORE with them.

My 2% improvements have looked like this: refilling the glass of water when I take the last sip, dressing for the weather instead of complaining about it (see picture above), throwing out the uncomfortable undergarments, using the best smelling conditioner I have in the house, putting on a podcast while folding what feels like the 13th load of laundry, putting on lotion after I wash my hands, grabbing my favorite blanket from the other room before settling in with a new book, only using my favorite pens.

So my question for you is what would be your 2% improvement in this moment? You have all the days in front of you. Subtract the idea that you have to make this process hard on you and seek the joy.