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Striving for the 1%

Striving for the 1%

Growing up many things were drilled into my head; Don’t slouch, always say please and thank you, try your best, ask questions if you don’t know the answer, all things come with hard work and many other things. However, the one thing that always stuck with me, made me question, caused confusion, and even doubt myself at times was always strive to be happy every day. Growing up happiness was one of those things that came easy to me; be it an ice pop after dinner, a new dress, or even my dog wanting to sleep in my bed at night. Happiness was just these aspects of my life that added a bit of sparkle to the day.

To me being happy was and still is the most important thing in the world. I know there are other important things but I find being happy is the root of it all. Going to work each day (are you happy with your job), who you are becoming (are you happy with your progress/changes that you made), and even just living life(are you happy). If you want to live this amazing dream, picture-perfect life, and become the best version of yourself you have to be happy. If not you are forever going to be on the search for something better. But to be happy or even to find happiness every single day is a huge ask. 

As I got older I still had those bits of happiness in my life but I often found them clouded by a bad day at school, the stress of a test, and tons of other everyday things that come with growing up. Being happy and staying happy every day seemed crazy especially once you have things like paying the bills, working 40 hour work weeks, having responsibilities, and so much more. All these things tend to suck the happiness out of you especially after a long day. The harder part is you are constantly comparing your happiness to yesterday’s happiness or even last month, or maybe even a few years ago happiness. They say comparison is the thief of happiness and they aren’t wrong. Even when I found myself content or happy I often found myself comparing my current happiness to other people’s happiness or even to the happiness I felt 10 years prior. I would completely forget or ignore the fact that we all live different lives with different forms of happiness and different stresses. I shouldn’t have been comparing myself to others and even who I was 10 years ago is completely different from who I am today. How could I even think that would work? Like truly, of course, KMH at 10 was happy her only concern was what to wear to camp the next day or did I freeze my water bottle for tomorrow? My old Logic cracks me up far too often.

I found my key to working on my happiness when I was in college. While I was at college; I played lacrosse (yes I know overachiever) and each day our coach would always ask us what we wanted to focus on/get better at practice each day. You would get the typical answers: 

“I want to have less than 10 dropped passes.” 

“I want to walk off feeling confident knowing the various positions of the new play.” 

“I want to beat my previous time on the mile.” 

The typical answer of what you would expect from any athlete. However, one girl she was my captain would always say the exact same thing and it would win every single time so much it became a motto. And she would say:

“I just want to be a little bit better than I was before even if it is only 1%.” 

I was so blown away by the answer, not because it was so vague but because she was so open to fixing anything and everything with her game. She wasn’t just going to focus on one aspect like passing, or ground balls she was focusing on the whole. For those who don’t know, I credit a huge chunk of who I am today and why I am who I am to lacrosse; if it wasn’t for the sport I know I would have become a totally different person and not the good one. Because of this, I would often take things from life and how I can relate it or put it into the game and even how I took lessons/things from the game and put them into my life. 

I loved the quote so much that I started using it when trying to be happier each day. All I did was strive to be 1% happier/better than I was the day before. I stopped focusing on specific aspects of my life that I thought needed work in order for me to be happier, I stopped comparing my past joys to my current ones, and I even started to stop throwing away days when things went wrong. Slowly my perspective on life, my happiness, and even my future started to shift all because I changed from I want to be happy all the time to; I just want to be 1% better than I was yesterday. 

Now I know what you are thinking how could just focusing on 1% change so much in your life? Well, it is actually pretty simple. By changing my mindset to focus on being 1% happier than I was the day before I remove the possibility of there being a cap or an end (unless I pass away).  The best days just simply become a day full of happiness that I hope I can carry over and expand into the next day. I no longer compare days or moments but more look at my progress and how much I have grown. And when the bad days happen (we are all human they do happen) I just look at them as simple refresh buttons and a chance to restart and reevaluate my happiness. All because I focus on a simple 1% each day. 

By focusing on being just 1% happier each day I’m able to grow. By believing happiness is the key to life and the root of everything each day; even on my bad ones I’m proud of myself for just focusing on me and how I can be happier and ultimately better. And yes, some days I’m 50% happier than I was before and other days I’m 60% less happy than I was the day before. That is okay! There are lessons to be learned there and appreciation to be had. I don’t stress the big or even little things as much and comparison isn’t something I find myself even doing anymore. All because I choose to strive and chase to e 1% happier than I was the day before. I just know I want to be better today than I was yesterday and I’m proud of myself for even just trying to do that. 

I hope by reading this you learn to focus on yourself and focus on your happiness that will ultimately lead you to become a better you. That 1% isn’t a lot of weight to carry nor is it a lot of pressure and I know you can do it. I wish you nothing but happiness as you go forward and if you ever get stuck just as your unofficial big sis. I got your back. -KMH

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