The 1% Philosophy

Jun 29, 2015 by Reen Rose


Are you an ‘all or nothing’ kind of person? I had never given that question much thought until recently. I was listening to nutrition and fitness expert Mark Macdonald and he asked how many people were ‘all in’ or ‘all out’ in their approach to life. It surprised me to see so many people raise their hands and of course got me to thinking.

The ‘all or nothing’ approach which I call the 100% philosophy means that when you make a decision to do something, you throw yourself in 100%. For example, if you decide to do yoga you go to classes at least 5 times a week, or if you change your eating patterns for a healthier lifestyle, you completely abandon any unhealthy choices.

These people are passionate about what they do until one day they wake up and decide that they don’t feel like going to yoga and really want a piece of chocolate cake. Instead of just missing one class and indulging in a few extra calories they feel that as they have strayed off their path it is no longer worth trying to follow it. All yoga and healthy eating strategies are quickly and completely forgotten.

It seems to me that ‘all or nothing’ followers are perfectionists. If they can’t do something unerringly then they might as well not do it at all; to them straying off the path amounts to failure.

I am definitely not a perfectionist. That doesn’t mean I am lazy or don’t try to attain goals, but I don’t feel driven to be perfect in order to follow a path or learn new patterns. I am quite content to do what I can and fall short of perfect. I don’t lose a moment of sleep over it.

That statement may horrify you and although my 1% philosophy may strike you as being a poor second choice, I urge perfectionists to join me. The biggest advantage as I see it for this philosophy is that one misstep only takes me a small way off my path. I certainly don’t worry about it because the detour isn’t enough for me to lose my way and decide not to continue.

I like to think of this approach as tweaking my life rather than changing it completely. Do one little thing every day that will move you in the direction you want to go. Choose to eat more balanced meals, clean up the cupboard that has been driving you crazy, or go out for a walk. Don’t think every choice has to be 100 percent; 1 percent is a viable option.

What small step can you take today to get you where you want to be tomorrow, next month, or next year? Take a small step every day and you will be amazed how far you can travel.