Here it is. 2020. We are a week into the new year and most people are struggling through new year resolutions. I’m not. Namely because I don’t truly have a resolution. I have an anti-resolution. I’m no longer going to lean hard into making big strides because those big strides open up the risk of failure. Not just failure of the main objective, but the self shame and frustration that accompanies failure. Instead I’ve adopted the 1% mentality.

I recently received James Clear’s Atomic Habits and am going to dig into it starting this weekend. I’ve been following James Clear on Twitter ever since our pastor mentioned his work in a series last year. This tweet stood out to me because it applies mathematical principles to making small steps. This idea that I try to be 1% better than I was the day before seems like a much more digestible daily goal than what I was doing to myself before.

How have I applied it so far?

Every day I find one small way to be better than the day before. I made a list in my ‘Reminders’ app on my phone of all sorts of small tasks that have been outstanding for a while. When I come across another task I quickly jot it down in that list. Then every day I attack at least one of them. Yesterday I finished painting the garage ceiling. Today I’ll take down the neighborhood’s Christmas decorations and store them. I also did 1 minute of planks in the living room before the family came downstairs (OK modified planks because my core isn’t ready to support my chonk yet).

It applies to my nutrition as well. At each meal I ask myself how I can make this just a little bit better for me, knowing what I know about PCOS. Last night we had a pineapple fried rice and chicken recipe (courtesy of Pioneer Woman, whose recipes are always amazing). I added a side of steamed broccoli, even though the rice itself was full of peas and pimentos.

This new “baby steps” mindset is helping me find the joy in each day because I don’t feel like I’m either punishing myself for falling off the wagon or punishing myself by staying on the wagon. I’m just living and being very mindful of trying to make good choices.

This new “baby steps” mindset is helping me find the joy in each day because I don’t feel like I’m either punishing myself for falling off the wagon or punishing myself by staying on the wagon.

That’s not to say that I haven’t struggled lately. Bubs just got back to preschool yesterday. For my deeply introverted soul, that means I’ve had nonstop close contact with a sweet child that doesn’t stop talking. I’m not even kidding either. He talks until the moment he falls asleep. So on Monday I fell back on an old coping mechanism: McDonald’s gravy biscuits. As soon as I ate it I knew I wasn’t in the same place as I was before. When I used to rely on these disgusting wheat bricks I would lick the container to get the last of that fake gravy. This time it just tasted like fast food breakfast. Meh. But the worst is what happened later that day. I am not sure entirely how related the biscuit was to the afternoon, but I got so grumpy and developed a tension headache. 

Lesson learned. 1% better every day.