One Percent Better

By MEGAN BOMBA, USA FIELD HOCKEY CONTENT DEVELOPMENT INTERN | Feb. 20, 2020, 2:54 p.m. (ET)

With the off-season starting up and 2020 only in its second month, the thought of goals and growth is at the forefront of most minds. 


As we look forward to the progress we hope to make, sometimes the finish line seems out of reach. Are we really going to be able to lift that much more? Are we going to be able to cut down our times by that many seconds? Is our endurance going to carry us that much further in sprints? Self-doubt can set in as we realize that each of these is not going to be an easy task. 


When we start feeling this way, it can inhibit our productivity. Instead of pushing ourselves to meet those goals, we step back and stay stagnant, safe. 


What if all it takes is a change in the way we approach our hefty goals? 


As the famous saying goes, you have to take it one step at a time. That same idea translates nicely to training. 


As we strive for our goals, we tend to get discouraged along the way when we do not see results. When we aren’t making the time we have in our heads or we are fatigued from few reps at a low weight, we feel like we’re failing. The truth of the matter is that progress is still happening even if it is small. 


This is where the one step at a time idea comes in. What if we simply worked to be one percent better each day? That means one second faster, one rep stronger or one skill improved each day. Over time, like off-season training, those gains will add up and help us reach our goals.  


This offers us a new way of thinking. Instead of putting too much pressure on ourselves during training, we know that we only have to be one percent better by the end of the day. One percent sounds easy, right? It turns a lofty goal into a series of small wins that keep us motivated to continue fighting. 


Creating small habits is another way of being one percent better. Forming positive habits for training is always a good thing. Sometimes, we find it hard to get started. We only look to the result we want and don’t want to put in the work that’s required. 


When taking it one step at a time, the first step should be small and manageable. It may be something familiar to you, and the idea is that eventually it will become routine. Adding to the original habit with the next small steps will continue the process, and you’ll be on your way to meeting your goals. Again, the important part is getting one percent better and managing progress in a simple way. 


While it is easy to make excuses for why we aren’t progressing or why we can’t make it to the gym, breaking goals down into smaller pieces takes away the excuses. No longer can we say "never" or "can’t" without knowing that if we take it step-by-step that it is far from impossible. 


As you start your off-season training, see how you can segment your goals into smaller steps. Figure out how you can be one percent better each day.