Heard Of The 100% Rule? It Could Change Your Life
Between work, your health, your relationships, and the rest of life, it can be exceptionally difficult to know where to invest your time and energy. It can often feel as though it requires struggle and sacrifice to reap positive results. But does it really have to be that way?
Have you ever tried to break a habit? Something as little as biting your nails or as difficult as quitting smoking? It can feel like it takes all of your energy to restrain yourself from indulging in your past habit.
It’s exhausting to be better. But that’s because we’re doing it wrong.
What is the 100% rule?
Susie Moore recently wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald about the idea of a 100% rule. Put simply, committing 100% of yourself to something is actually easier than committing 99%. Why? “It’s our well-meaning ’99 per cent effort’ that is exhausting.” Susie says, “It consumes energy without producing results. It’s stressful. It makes us feel like a failure when we’re not – we just haven’t fully committed to something.”
And it makes perfect sense. Say you’re trying to stop eating gluten. You change your diet, you make better choices while eating out and you feel generally better. But then your friend offers you a bite of her highly glutenous pizza and you can’t resist. Suddenly, you’ve launched yourself into limbo land where your ‘no gluten’ rule is actually situation-based and having to make a decision in each individual situation drains energy. It’s far easier for you to just commit to being gluten-free 100% of the time. Your brain gets a rest from all the decision fatigue and the shame and guilt that swiftly follows ‘giving in’.
Want to be vegan? Cool. Commit to it, learn about it, don’t deviate from it and it will become so second nature that after a while you won’t even have to waste even a second considering what to have for dinner. It’s short term effort that forms longer term habits; ones that stick.
There’s a tried-and-true formula to help improve your day-to-day results and start you down the road to success, says Jack Canfield, author of The Success Principles. This is where the 100% rule comes from. As Jack puts it, “99 per cent is a b*tch. 100 per cent is a breeze.”
Here are a few tips to consider when wanting to implement this rule.
Decide what deserves your 100%
No one can give every single thing they do in life their undivided attention. So it pays to work out where to set your focus. For example, if you’re studying or have a deadline, you know that the last few weeks leading up to it are crunch time – so it’s probably not the best time to try to spend your energy trying to get fit. Your 100% rule works best when on one thing at a time.
Commit to it and put in the effort
Determination and commitment are a slippery slope, not a sliding scale. As soon as you allow yourself room to move, you’ll find that not only will you move away from the task at hand, but the guilt that comes with not giving a task your 100% will burden you into inaction.
Want to get better at writing? Commit to writing for one hour every day, seven days a week. For Susie, this was transformative. Previous questions like, “‘Should I write or go out?’ ‘Should I write or go grocery shopping?’ ‘Should I write or call a friend?'” were no longer using up her precious energy. “When I shifted gears to 100 per cent, there were no decisions to make. It was write or die!”
Rinse and repeat
The best part of this rule is that when we apply it, we actually get stuff done. We complete the goals we have set out before us. “It then frees up adequate mental space for the next priority to become clear, since we’re not plagued by guilt about other multiple half-assed projects,” says Susie.
Anyone who has been successful has slowly hacked away at their project or goal day by day until they have achieved the desired result or wrapped the project. A successful writer doesn’t sit down to write here and there, they usually have a dedicated daily practice. A world-class ballerina doesn’t reach that level of expertise by doing the odd class. An investor didn’t amass their wealth by putting together a half-assed investment strategy. And that vegan we mentioned earlier? They don’t eat meat every now and then. It’s all, or it’s murky waters. And you can’t clearly see your goal in murky waters.
Everyone is busy, everyone is tired. Consider your privilege, then do the hard thing! You’ll feel better for it, and it will get easier and easier to give each new thing you wish to do your 100%.