THE BLOG
01/21/2015 04:29 pm ET Updated Mar 23, 2015

The One Thing You Need to Do Now to Reach Your Goals, No Matter How Ambitious

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Do you feel stuck? Do you know where you want to be personally and professionally, and the steps to get there? Do you know you have what it takes? Yet do the days, months, and years keep rolling by, and you're no closer to the life you should be living?

If you're nodding your head right now, you are in good company. Most North Americans feel bogged down -- if not eternally trying to dig themselves out of debt, then trying yet another diet to shift the extra weight that only seems to increase, pound by pound, each year. Seventy percent of us are dragging ourselves to work every morning despite feeling disengaged from our jobs, according to a recent Gallup poll.

You have probably tried really hard to get unstuck. There are so many strategies out there to increase motivation and improve performance. Maybe your bedside table is piled high with books that promise to help you overhaul your life. And still, here you are. Stuck.
I'm going to show you how to get unstuck, and it doesn't involve following any complicated strategy or rules or steps. In fact, it's incredibly simple.

The one principle that you need to know in order to get out of your rut and start making real headway in your life is . . .

The Power of One Percent More

Most people stay stuck because improving their lives looks too difficult. To get from where they are now to where they want to be seems an enormous leap. The effort to get there seems too great, as does the risk of failure.

What most people are forgetting is that if they commit to consistently doing just one percent more--pushing that little bit harder, giving that little bit more--the seemingly small gains will compound over time and lead to big results.

You won't achieve your goals overnight. You're unlikely to immediately get a promotion. And if you happen to be one of the many North Americans carrying an extra 20 pounds, you can't lose them all at once. But if you give just one percent more of yourself each day, the improvements in your life will build and gather pace. Each time you consistently do, give, or demand just 1% more of yourself, you get one step closer to your end goal. You get one step closer to becoming the person you want to be and reaching your full potential.

One of my personal goals was to run a half marathon. Year after year, this goal appeared on my list. I continued to make excuses for why I couldn't commit. It wasn't the right time, I wasn't in good enough shape... no, I was stuck! Five years passed.

There was never going to be a perfect time, and finally I decided to get out of my own way and just do it. Each day I gave one percent more in my training sessions, building up my strength and stamina.

On the day of the race, I stood at the start line and felt daunted by the 21.5 kilometers ahead of me. I thought of the thousands of steps I would have to take to get to the finish line, and it seemed as though I'd need superpowers to make it to the end. That's when I realized: no single step was going to be anything more than just a normal step. Thinking of the task as taking one step after the other transformed it from a superhero's quest into an ordinary person's goal. And step by step, I was able to run those 21.5 kilometers.

Understanding the power of giving 1% more effort became central to how I approached not just running but every task and challenge in my life.

The idea is not to focus on the more you can get, but rather on the more you can do. What I've learned is that I can almost always do a little more. I can always prepare a little more. There is always more to learn, more wisdom to listen to, and more ways to improve the way I do things.

As you move step by step towards your goal, you will begin to see progress and your confidence will grow. Confidence fuels your motivation to take action. And action is the key to building your stamina and resilience so that you can persevere and achieve any goal, no matter how ambitious. When you make the mental shift from "good enough" to "more," not only do you become more capable, you also become hungry to stretch yourself.

So what is the next step that you need to take? It is the first of many steps that will take you from where you are now to where you're meant to be.

You are ready to take that step, and when you do, I want you to ask yourself this question: "What am I prepared to do in this moment to give just a little bit more?"

The small but significant effort of giving just a little bit more will deliver you the greatest reward of all: the satisfaction of knowing that you did something great, because you could.