How 1% of Your Actions Can Make You Succeed or Fail

My first 22 minutes every day. They define me. They are my one percent that has made lasting impact on my health, my stress, my wellness, and my confidence. They are unbreakable. I’ve accounted for “maintenance tasks” that so many of us don’t. Makeup, teeth, feed animals, pour coffee…they all take time!

  • 4:55am            Alarm sounds
  • 4:55am            Think of something for which I am grateful
  • 4:55am            Get out of bed
  • 4:56am            Use restroom, rinse with mouthwash, brush teeth
  • 4:58am            Wash face, use moisturizer, take vitamins (that are already out on counter)
  • 4:59am            Apply makeup/Dress in clothes I chose and placed in bathroom night before
  • 5:05am            Bring clothes to laundry room hamper
  • 5:07am            Feed cats
  • 5:11am            Do a 5 Minute Flow (click here for your free 5 Minute Flow)
  • 5:16am            Pour coffee in already-prepared Bulletproof coffee container to blend
  • 5:16am            Take Omega 3 packets
  • 5:17am            (When not in session at 6am) Work on Top Project of the Day
  • 5:17am            (When in session at 6am) Review programs for clients, client notes for wellness visits, and prospect calls



Imagine if I hit snooze. Even if I do not have a client at 6am, I wouldn’t get to my Top Project of the Day until later, or I’d be rushed. Worse off, I would have to put it off to tomorrow when I had planned to work on another Top Project of the Day. Because I begin my week Sunday afternoon planning my Top Project Work, my schedule, my wellness (workouts, meals, outings, doctors visits, client meetings, etc.) – I know exactly what I will do every morning. No distractions welcome, thank you.

Habits are the anchors to your life and wellness. And, planning them is key. Habits are foundational and essential. If you just improve one percent every day of the year, you will improve by 37 percent at the end of the year. Imagine getting “better” or “fitter” or better yet “healthier” at the end of the year. And, imagine this: you’ve established habits that are unbreakable.

However, the converse also applies to the one percent. If we eat an unhealthy meal today, it will have little impact on your waistline and health. If you work late and ignore your family, they will forgive you. If you procrastinate and put your project – or your wellness – off until tomorrow, there will probably be time to finish – or address it – the next day.

Yet, the danger lies in the repeated one percent actions that place burdens on your wellness. The unhealthy meal or drink that creeps in more than occasionally. The excuse why you can’t get to the gym. The rationalization for so many actions that we know are not good for us.


“When we repeat 1% errors, day after day, by replicating poor decisions, duplicating tiny mistakes, and rationalizing little excuses, our small choices compound into toxic results.“ James Clear, Author Atomic Habits


Habits help us connect our goals to our identity which I believe is foundational for any wellness program. Our actions tell all, my friends. Habits add stability in an otherwise unstable world for you.

Is your identity more defined by your physical attributes or your daily behaviors? When we identify with a daily behavior, we become that behavior. Which one do you think will have a lasting impact on your health, your wellness, and your longevity? Your physical attributes or your daily behaviors? Better yet, can your daily behaviors have a lasting impact on your physical attributes?



Here are some examples of how I identify myself that might make this concept more relevant to you and your wellness.


I am someone who exercises five days a week.

I am someone who will only on occasion accept an evening invitation during the work week. And, I am 90 percent successful that is only Wednesday evening. Because Wednesdays work best for my family and for me.

I am someone who does laundry Wednesdays and Sundays.

I am someone who drives in silence.


I can even go deeper into the thoughts we have. Thoughts are also habits. They identify us. If we have “victim” language in our heads, it identifies us and who we are. It becomes us.


“I am so busy and I can’t stop my “busy habit.”

“I work all of the time. I can’t possibly go outside for a four minute walk around the block. They need me!”

“Everyone around me is holding me back from getting healthy and fit.”

“I’ll never feel good about myself.”

“I can’ t do that exercise. I never have and I never will be able to.”


If we have “victor” language in our heads, it brings us to a new level in our daily life. It takes our brain to a happy space and we are more likely to focus on our wellness. Which do you have?

Morning routines are probably the easiest to change and the easiest to form habits. The morning is the time you control. No one else. Not your parents, your children, your boss, your friends, your neighbors. Nope. You control it. If you want to make the most of your life and your wellness – morning is your greatest opportunity.

Here is my plea to you to start with the morning routine. (Next week, I will outline the “reverse alarm” I set every evening at 8pm that makes my morning what it is now: successful.)

I currently have very limited space in my Concierge Wellness Program. You can schedule a free consult with me to get more information. Or if you want to get started right away by joining our Foundations Online Wellness Program or our highly popular Fitness + Foundations Program, click here.



  • The latest from Adrien
Adrien founded Fitness on the Run in 2004 out of her home after a successful career in policy and public affairs communications. After spending 15 years developing her own personal definition of wellness and watching thousands struggle with theirs, in January 2019 Adrien founded Alexandria Wellness, the home for the Concierge Wellness Program and Corporate Wellness with Adrien Cotton. Over the course of 15 years, “FOR” was home to more than 2,000 clients, 30 instructors, and hundreds of inspirational success stories. Adrien is now, more-than-ever, passionate about helping women view their fitness as a journey, not a quick fix. Adrien’s recipe for success herself has evolved from a rigid training plan of sweaty and heart pumping workouts to some days getting in her 10,000 steps, consciously breathing, her 7.5 hours of sleep, and her beloved 5-Minute Flow. Adrien believes the most important ingredient is making small changes for big results, even if it’s one new habit formed each month. Still passionate about fitness, Adrien’s clients appreciate her ability to make sessions seriously challenging without a “beat down,” a healthy mix of strength and metabolic (cardio) work and ultimately helping her clients gain real strength in mind and body. She believes we all benefit from being curious about our bodies and that change, or improvement, is within reach despite what your “inner voice” or others may tell you. Adrien is bubbling with excitement to help women learn the importance of a comprehensive approach to wellness, weight loss, and contentedness with yourself, and that every person has the right to feel good about themselves. Most days, you can find her helping clients with their wellness, listening to success stories, and bragging about her twin 13-year-old children and “fittest man in Alexandria” Bill Cotton. Adrien prides herself on her practice of mindfulness, meditation, and putting it all into perspective.

Alexandria Wellness offers achievable answers for anyone who is tired of chasing fitness and health without a clear plan, someone who has struggled and is not satisfied with their fitness and wellness or someone who is open to maximized healthful longevity and fitness along with healthful weight loss. Adrien and her team offer help with food guidance, body acceptance, sleep and stress issues, and insist you have fun along the way.

Schedule your free 30 minute consult here!

Alexandria Wellness
215 North Payne Street
Alexandria, VA 22314



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