“Nobody can stop you from getting better.” — Roseanne Barr
Sometimes we focus so much on getting great at something that we miss the opportunity we have to get better.
But getting better is the first step to getting great, and the best way I’ve found to get better at anything is to follow this simple formula.
Step 1: Choose One Thing
We all want to get better at lots of things, but the first step to doing so is to focus on one.
Multitasking doesn’t accelerate improvement, it impedes it.
Step 2: Clarify Your Motivation
Do you know why you want to get better at your one thing?
The better you understand your motivation, the greater your chance of success.
Step 3: Define “Better”
You can’t achieve a goal you haven’t clearly defined.
“Better” is a tricky word. It can mean different things at different times.
You need to define for yourself what it means in the context of your thing, so you can accurately measure whether you accomplish it.
There’s no right or wrong definition of what better means, but if you don’t clearly define it, it’s impossible to ever achieve it.
Step 4: Do Your Thing At Least Three Times A Week
We only get better at things when we do them regularly.
You have to put in the work. Improvement comes from action, not intention.
Step 5: Measure Your Results
Since you defined metrics around what it means to be “better” at your thing, you can now measure your progress as you go.
It’s important to not only measure your results, but also to analyze them.
The secret to getting better is found in what we learn from what we measure.
Step 6: Develop A Hypothesis
As you measure the results of your activity and analyze them, use that knowledge to form a hypothesis about how you can improve.
Improvement comes from making adjustments and those adjustments are inspired by a hypothesis based on the results of the work you’ve done to this point.
Step 7: Test Your Hypothesis
There’s as much chance your hypothesis of how to get better is wrong as there is that it’s right. That’s fine.
You’re in a testing phase and the valuable lessons you learn from being wrong help get you closer to being right.
Step 8: Recognize That Better Isn’t Great
As you go through the month — doing, measuring, testing, and repeating — you may feel you’re not making progress, but it’s important not to get discouraged.
Don’t confuse getting “better” with getting “great.”
The way to get great is to keep getting better. And the way to get better is to do so one month at a time.
One more thing…
If you found this post helpful, you’ll also enjoy my FOR THE INTERESTED newsletter.
It’s a weekly collection of 10 ideas to help you learn, do, and become better at your work, art, and life.
You can check out the most recent issue here.
Or, subscribe below: