We are officially homeowners now! And we celebrated with a big home improvement and décor shopping trip with my sister and her boyfriend over the weekend after attending the Detroit Auto Show the day before. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE looking at (and who am I kidding – buying) home styling things, but often struggle to just get started in the decision making process. It feels like such a commitment to pick bedding, a new light fixture, a paint color, or… pretty much anything! The possibilities so quickly seem to go from endless to narrow with one decision on a “statement” item. Anyway, this time around I was actually quite pleased with my ability and willingness to take the plunge and ended up picking up a lot of new things I am excited about. The next challenge however is to be patient as we get everything assembled, installed and shop for the rest. Because once I get started, I want to GO!
In fact, my “go mode,” all or nothing thinking surfaces in many aspects of my life, something which I was recently reminded of when I read James Clear’s new book, Atomic Habits. I am obsessed with all things habit related, so although much on the topic is just a different spin on concepts I have learned about previously, I still enjoy reading just about anything on the topic I can get my hands on. As you may be able to guess by the title, Clear focuses on the fact that small (atom sized), consistent changes can compound and lead to some pretty remarkable results over time. To introduce the topic, he begins with a discussion on “the aggregation of margin gains [or] the philosophy of searching for a tiny margin of improvement in everything you do” espoused by the former performance director of British Cycling, Dave Brailsford who said “the whole principle came from the idea that if you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, then improve it by 1 percent, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together.”
So many times I fall into the trap of believing that if I don’t make a big, sudden, or dramatic change that it cheapens the effort, or I allow myself to get discouraged by the slow progress. As Clear says “it is so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis. Too often, we convince ourselves that massive success requires massive action. Whether it is losing weight, building a business, writing a book, winning a championship, or achieving any other goal, we put pressure on ourselves to make some earth-shattering improvement that everyone will talk about. Meanwhile, improving by 1 percent isn’t particularly notable – sometimes it isn’t even noticeable – but it can be far more meaningful, especially in the long run. The difference a tiny improvement can make over time is astounding.”
And he’s not just peddling some run-of-the-mill motivation or inspiration. He actually mathematically shows that if one were to get 1 percent better each day over the course of a year, she’d be thirty-seven times better by the end of those 365 days! On the other hand, if one were to become 1 percent worse each of those days, she’d be basically at zero by the end of the year. “What starts as a small win or a minor setback accumulates into something much more. Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement. The same way that money multiplies through compound interest, the effects of your habits multiple as you repeat them. They seem to make little difference on any given day and yet the impact they deliver over the months and years can be enormous.”
Thus the importance of consistency and also the value of setting small incremental goals and milestones along the path to your bigger aspirations. Whether it’s getting in shape, saving money, or setting up your first home, all the good things take time. And although thirty-seven percent better all in one go sounds pretty amazing to me, I have to say I’d much prefer to settle with 1 percent better as opposed to 1 percent worse over time. It’s all about the those small changes which you can make sustainably, which is certainly something I have learned when it comes to cooking and eating healthfully over the past five years. Learning to cook and to eat well is probably easier than you think if you don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed – there are lots of ways to hone your skills 1 percent at a time, for example with this Whole30 Tuna Tapenade. It basically involves throwing some clean ingredients in a blender but tastes at least 37 percent better than that 🙂
Whole30 Tuna Tapenade
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 3 – 5minutes
- Tuna Steaks 4 each
- Coconut Oil 1 TBSP
- Olive Tapenade
- Kalamata Olives, pitted 1 cup (180 g)
- Green Olives, pitted 1 cup (180 g)
- Capers .25 cup (45 g)
- Olive Oil .25 cup (60 ml)
- Crushed Red Pepper/Chilies .5 TSP
- Dried Thyme .5 TSP
- Dried Parsley 1 TSP
- Garlic Cloves, minced 3 each
- Red Wine Vinegar 1 TSP
- Lemon Juice 1 TBSP
- Dijon Mustard 1 TBSP
- Combine all olive tapenade ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until mixed and relatively smooth in consistency.
- Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat and allow the coconut oil to melt, make sure the pan is evenly coated!
- Then place the tuna steaks in the skillet and sear to desired doneness. Rare tuna usually takes only about 1.5 minutes per side, so pay attention to avoid overcooking!
- Remove the tuna and plate, topping with the delicious tapenade. It’s packed with so much flavor you don’t even need to do anything else to have a WOW meal ready to go but I served mine with my Whole30 Pomme Anna which took dinner to a whole new level!