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1% is better than 0% Thumbnail

1% is better than 0%

“I don’t have the time.” “I don’t have the resources.” “I’m so far behind, and I’ll never catch up.”

I hear these excuses (and many others) all the time, and each excuse arrives at the same destination……nowhere.

I say this with great empathy. When you stand at the starting line and can’t see the finish line, it’s discouraging. But what’s even more discouraging is when you find inspiration to start your journey, devote a lot of time, physical effort, and emotional energy, and after a day, week, or month, you still can’t see the finish line. Trust me, I know the feeling - uncomfortable, small, and not enough. I also know where to find safety. Where? Well, safety lives here:

“I don’t have the time.” “I don’t have the resources.” “I’m so far behind, and I’ll never catch up.”

It’s a vicious cycle…..initial enthusiasm, turns into to discouragement, which ultimately yields zero results.

If this is you, it may be time for a new approach. Instead of going all out only to find yourself at 0% progress, shorten the finish line, and make a 1% move in the direction of your goals a daily practice.

While it’s obvious that doing 1% more every day is better than 0%, what’s not obvious is how a small daily practice can turn into massive gains over time!

“Most people overestimate what they can do in a year, and underestimate what they can do in a decade.”

– Bill Gates

1% daily gain in the stock market 

Let’s say you commit to saving and investing one cent ($.01) every day and the stock market goes up just 1% every day. How much do you have after one year?


Excited? Probably not. $36.78 can buy one month of Netflix and one night of takeout food. Even though you only contributed $3.65, the $36.78 feels like very little progress.

But let’s say you keep going - $.01 saved and invested in the stock market, the market goes up 1% every day, and you do this for 10 years. How much do you have at the end of year 10?


Now are you excited? You should be! $5,929,448,572,069,430 can buy all of Netflix, Amazon, Apple, the Dallas Cowboys, the New York Yankees, all of the world’s real estate, and still have over five quadrillion dollars left over. OK, I get it, this is an unrealistic example, but I hope you get the point. $.01 and 1% every day gets you dinner and a movie after 1 year, but the entire world after 10 years.

Let’s look at some real-world examples of small habits producing big results!

Saving $20 per day

What if you could save and invest $20 per day ($600 per month) in the stock market? Well, assuming a 9% compound annual return, you would have $7,505 after one year. But after 10 years, you would have $115,000. And after 30 years, $1.1 million! Just $20 a day can make you a millionaire in 30 years. Feels like a long way from now, but 30 years from now you will be very happy with present day you for making this a daily practice.

Writing 100 words a day

Can you write 100 words a day? How long would that take you? Writing 100 words will probably take you less than 20 minutes, and you would have 1/3 of a page written when it’s all said and done. Nothing life changing, right? Well, 100 words a day is 36,500 words in a year, and 365,000 after 10 years. If the average book has 50,000 words, you will have authored seven books 10 years from now!

Reading 10 pages a day

Reading 10 pages a day will result in 3,650 pages over the course of a year. That’s 10 books in one year, and 100 books in 10 years! How many books did you read last year?

Running 1 mile a day

Running 1 mile a day will result in 365 miles over the course of the year. Assuming one-mile = 100 calories burned, in one year you will burn an extra 36,500 calories. That’s 10 extra pounds of fat burned off in one year!

Cutting 100 calories a day

Avoiding just one snack can easily save you 100 calories a day and 36,500 calories over a year. Like running one mile, that’s an extra 10 pounds of fat burned off in one year!  

If you feel stuck on a goal, stop obsessing about the outcome, and focus on the action you can take today. Your small actions today will turn into daily habits, and daily habits produce massive long-term results!