Can We Improve By 1% A Week?

Steven Barnes
7 min readMay 19

What is 1%?

The FIREDANCE program is designed to increase your performance by about 1% per week in about 20 minutes a day. That would be

  1. Five sixty second breathing breaks
  2. 10–20 minute Morning Ritual using the M.A.G.I.C. formula

Jason hasn’t gotten to the point where he can do all of that on his own, but that’s ok — its VERY adult and awake to try that. So I ensure he has the separate pieces of the puzzle, and practices them all over the course of his week

  1. He has to work his body — HARD.
  2. He has to control his emotions.
  3. He has to work on his career. This is, on the surface, his “MAGIC 4 Teens” program ( But in actuality I’m using it to force him to internalize success principles, just as my mother ENDLESSLY played success tapes and records for me when I was a child. Hated it. Sank in. DARN YOU, MOM! I WAS DOOMED TO SUCCEED!

Anyway — -I woke up this morning feeling #$%% GREAT! And realized that if I asked myself what “1%” progress I’d made in the last week, I could say:

  1. CAREER: got a financial manager, turned in the 14-page outline of the Star Wars novel, completed 10 tiny thumbnail story ideas for another project.
  2. BODY: I’ve figured out how to cut weight more rapidly by “slushy fasting”: sipping ultra-high nutrition vitamin slushies to cut my hunger. No solid food until I’m below 190. Now that that worked so well, I’ll consider dropping that to 185. Maybe no SUGAR unless I’m below 185? Plus I seem to have worked out some sleep issues.
  3. RELATIONSHIP: Jason’s emotional control is through the roof now. His goal is to “make my demons my b*tch.” Jeeze, I love that. T and I need a little more alone time, but we’re doing great. Nicki is in Greece, having fun because she knows her puppy Nala is safe and loved with us. And…I really like myself these days.


All of this is the result of aiming at improving just 1% per week. But it is legitimate to ask what that even MEANS? Well…obviously it is subjective in some ways, but the objective measurements are important too. Here’s my personal incantation goal: “1% DAILY in congruence and amplitude of body, mind, and spirit.”

My aspirational goal (1% per day) is higher than my practical “perfect” goal (1% per week will get you anywhere you wanna go). That…

Steven Barnes

Steven Barnes is a NY Times bestselling author, ecstatic husband and father, and holder of black belts in three martial arts.