100% is easier than 98%

by | Mar 1, 2023 | Change |


Recently, I went to the doctor about a growing pain in my shoulder. I was given a number of exercises to do to help it heal. ‘Just remember,’ she said as I walked out the door, ‘you need to do these exercises at least 4 times a week for 6 weeks for them to help.’

That was nearly 3 weeks ago.

The first few days I tried to remember to do them in the evening. I regularly forgot. So I switched to trying in the morning every other day. I successfully remembered the first morning, but then no more. Lunch time didn’t work either – I just wanted to eat. Eventually I found success in doing them every morning, immediately after posting my blog. Rather than focusing on 4 days, I now do every day – 100% and it’s part of my morning routine. I don’t need to think if I did it yesterday, it’s just something I do every morning.

It reminds me of the Clayton Christensen quote:

It’s easier to hold your principles 100 percent of the time than it is to hold them 98 percent of the time

This idea of fully committing can help with larger change projects too. If we, or the team we are working with, need to regularly ask ‘is today a day we are implementing the new process or the old one?’ they will become tired. Decision fatigue sets in. Motivation requires simplicity. If we agree on a decision, then the decision is made and we don’t need to revisit every time. This helps with implementing the change we seek. It is not a daily decision as much as it is a new identity or ‘this is the way we do things around here.’

Photo by Patrick Robert Doyle


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