Small changes over time lead to big improvements
New Year’s is a time for remembrance and reflection. The completion of another trip around the sun is a natural time to look at where we’ve been and where we hope to go. As we review the past, we identify areas where we could have done better. This leads to New Year’s resolutions — promises to ourselves to do better in the year ahead.
A common problem with these resolutions is the tendency to bite off more than we can chew. We attempt radical change to quickly improve our lives. We want 6-pack abs, a greatly improved financial situation and less stress today. When we don’t get the results we want right away, we ditch the whole effort.
The philosophy of onepercentbetter.com is that steady, incremental progress is the best way to change for the better. The site offers advice on small changes you can make every day in different areas of your life that will lead to a better you over time. It’s a tough sell in an age that worships instant gratification. But it’s a sound principle that goes back to the childhood lesson of the tortoise and the hare: slow and steady wins the race.
The site has five broad subject areas accessible from links across the navigation bar at the top of the page. There’s Personal Success, Wellness, Financial Freedom, Self Improvement and Mindset. The home page features links to articles from the different sections in a vertically scrollable column that takes up most of the page. Each article link is displayed with a photo, headline and summary. The right-side column has links to the most popular articles and a few ads.
The site is big on lists for its articles. For example, of the 10 articles on the first page of the Self-Improvement category, five are list articles:
- 9 Self-Improvement Ideas in the New Year
- 13 Best Inspiring NYE Quotes for 2021
- Top Healthy Habits You Should Have
- Improve Your Sales Skills with These 7 Tips
- How to Improve Family Relationships – 6 Tips
The other categories are similarly populated with list articles.
Lists and other quick reads are popular online because, as I noted above, we want instant gratification. Most people aren’t interested in taking a deep dive on a subject. They want to read short, interesting or entertaining clips, hopefully with pictures or videos.
This type of superficial writing doesn’t seem like the best way to learn new concepts or skills. To really understand or get good at something takes intense research and sustained effort. But it does fit in with the site’s philosophy of getting just 1% better every day. If you learn a little bit about something every day, eventually you may master it.
The site has a clean, organized design. The typography is unified with a clear hierarchy. There are plenty of photos to accompany the articles. They are all professionally shot but have a stock-art look to them. The navigation is logical and intuitive, but I often got errors when clicking on links to go from one page to another on the site. I had to use the back button and click on the link a second time, which solved the problem.
The quest for self-improvement is a lifelong journey. You can’t just make a few resolutions and suddenly be the person you always wanted to be. Sometimes you just have to do it 1% at a time.
Kevin OʼNeill has been a staff artist for The Times-Tribune since June 1993. In addition to doing illustrations and infographics and designing pages for the paper’s print and electronic publications, he writes InSites, a weekly column about websites and apps. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5212