The 1% Solution to Reach Your Goals in 2017

by Darin. W. Stokke, DC

Progress usually takes one of two routes: dynamic sudden changes or incremental improvements over a period of time. Being as most of us are impatient, we tend to desire the dynamic sudden changes that happen all at once like winning the lottery and becoming wealthy over-night. However, most sustainable change occurs in small incremental progressions. This is where the 1% solution comes in to play.

With health, it’s easy to find sales pitches on TV, on the radio or in an ad someplace promising a quick and easy cure to a problem. There seems to be a pill for every ill that will work quickly and help you live happily ever after if we are to believe the commercials. But real health and progress simply doesn’t work that way. Likewise look at the weight-loss ads and the plethora of books on dieting that promise the next best thing for the quickest results. Again, healthy sustainable weight reduction simply doesn’t work that way. In fact, take most things in life and you begin to see a pattern that sustainable progress in most anything of value including reaching a desired goal takes time.

I remember the day I decided to set a goal of running a marathon some years ago. At the time my longest runs were in the 3 mile range and 26.2 miles seemed almost unimaginable. But I looked at the fact that others had somehow accomplished running that distance and became convinced it had to be possible. A month and a half later I was somehow much less convinced that it was possible to run that far as I barely found the strength to complete just 6 miles. I wondered how anyone could do more than 6 miles with the way I felt that day. However, I had already doubled from my starting point. In another couple months I found myself completing 13 miles and realizing I was nearing the half way point to my goal of 26.2 miles but it still seemed almost impossible. By month 5 I finally broke the 20 mile mark on my longest run and it was at that point I became confident it would happen. A few weeks later, I reached my goal and finished my first complete marathon. Anyone that has trained for and completed a marathon can appreciate the struggle of training and the small incremental progress that’s necessary to reach the final goal. Most of us grow impatient in the training and sometimes push the process harder than we should and inevitably suffer small, or even big, injuries along the way that slow the process down even further. The reason I share this story as we head into the New Year is to relate that while a goal may seem miles away and almost impossible for us to reach, it can be done with a patient and steady approach.

The 1% solution is a simple plan of striving for a small 1% improvement each day in whatever goal you have. It’s similar to answering the question of how a person can possibly eat an elephant?…one bite at a time, of course. If we concentrate only on the vast distance we have in reaching our goal, we will likely become overwhelmed and more easily give up. But if we focus on the small 1% steps we can take today and work to improve or progress 1% each day, it becomes much less daunting and much more possible. The most common cause of failure in reaching our goals comes from giving up when we become discouraged. When we fall off our diet, don’t lose weight as quickly as we hoped, aren’t saving money as fast as we wanted because an emergency came up, or we aren’t getting past a sticking point quick enough, we often get discouraged and simply give up and lose all the progress that was made up to that point. When we instead focus on the 1% we can do today and not get caught up in tomorrow or allow ourselves to get discouraged by our past, any goal becomes possible. Within 30 days of practicing 1% improvement it’s feasible to imagine we are 30% closer to reaching our goal. The key to remember is that anything that is sustainable and of great value often takes time and patience. Be patient and remain confident in your abilities. Most of us give up before we even set down that road to try. Don’t give up. A journey of 1000 miles begins with just one step. Focus on that one step today. When tomorrow comes, focus on that next step. That’s how the 1% solution works and how we all can reach our goals in 2017!

Dr. Stokke is a Chiropractic Physician at Lifestyles Chiropractic located on Lindbergh Avenue just off Daniels, near Norman Love Confections. You may reach him by calling 239-334-9355 or by visiting

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