CANI, Kaizen and the 1% Rule

In this post I share the most powerful self improvement tool I have ever found; CANI, Kaizen and the 1% rule.

This word is an acronym and stands for Continuous And Never-ending Improvement. It is a concept taught by Tony Robbins who has based the idea on Kaizen, a Japanese word used in business, which means the same thing as the acronym.


A Little Bit About Kaizen


Kaizen is formed of two words, Kai which is Japanese for change and Zen which means good. It was first implemented in business during the rebuilding of Japan after WW2. An American, Dr Deming, was one of the business experts flown in to help the effort. He suggested that the Japanese should strive to gradually improve their business, by encouraging every employee to look for and suggests improvements. In this way the company finds small improvements every day and as a result becomes leaner and more efficient in the process.


Examples of Kaizen –  The 1% Rule

“If you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improved it by one percent, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together,” Sir Dave Brailsford.

Brailsford was the Bristish Cycling performance director from 2003 until 2014 and is consider the driving factor behind Britain’s success at cycling in recent years.


His marginal gains philosophy, explained by the quote above, is exactly what I try and do on a daily basis. If I can improve myself everyday by just 1%, then in a year that’s 365%. If I improve myself by 1% in the four areas of life (health, wealth, relationships, higher purpose) a day, then in a month that’s 120% (4%*30).


Why should I do it?

The 1% rule and CANI have other benefits too.

  • As you keep improving you gain positive momentum and this will mean that you will find it easier and easier to improve yourself each day that you do.
  • You will feel more positive as you start seeing your goals achieved and this will make you feel happier and more fulfilled.
  • You’ll find new innovative ways of thinking about things, which can turn previously boring tasks into useful meaningful acts.
  • Finally you will push your limits and find out what you can really achieve when you put your mind to it 


One last thing…

If you are like me, then you are quite ambitious and can get caught up in big goals and dreams. Breaking them down into 1% chunks can make the challenge much less daunting. This will help you achieve your big goals by first practicing achieving the little ones.

If you are stuck on setting goals I suggest you check out my goal achieving collection.

More Info

If you would like to know or have a question more please email me at

Or drop a comment below any post and I will get back to you asap

Your friend,


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21 Replies to “CANI, Kaizen and the 1% Rule”

  1. laura

    This is so interesting. Never heard of this, but now I understand why are the Japanese so tech. evolved, so smart, so…. many good things. That was their secret.. 1% everyday!
    thank you.

    • Greg Post author

      Yeah this is probably the main reason why they are one of the most dominant economic forces on the planet today. It shows what you can achieve in ~70 years of kaizen.

  2. Janice Bowles

    This is a wonderful article Greg and most thought provoking! I love the marginal gains philosophy and I watched with great interest, the mindset of the cycling team in the London Olympics.

    This perspective for success is one that I shall keep in my mind daily. The wonderful thing about knowledge and awareness is that once you know it, your life is forever changed!

    I look forward to reading more of posts in the future 🙂

    • Greg Post author

      You must remember success is not elusive, its very defined and can be predicted. Improving yourself 1% each day will get you there guaranteed.

  3. Dustin Garness

    This is a really interesting method. I often find myself not feeling like I have been getting better at what I’m doing, but it is because I’m not really looking in the right places. When I actually sit back and see how much farther I’ve improved at something compared to when I began I am usually amazed!

    Maybe I need to start noticing the 1% of improvements I am making each and every day!


    • Greg Post author

      The olympic cycling team looked at everything… even the pillows that the athletes slept on were tested. So your 1% will be there, you’ve just gotta look hard.

      If you get your goals on paper and each day do a review I’m sure you’d see the improvement much more easily.

  4. Faith

    This was very interesting. I never heard of the 1%, but it makes since. I do get overwhelmed with stuff. I have wrote my goals down and worked toward them. But life sometimes gets in the way. Right now I have some challenges that are pilling up and trying to get me off focus. So I will try the 1% idea everyday. Thank you and I wish you much success.


    • Greg Post author

      I will soon do a goal setting post where I break down how I achieve my goals so be sure to look out for that.

      As a side note, I heard this the other day (i cant remember where from):
      A task will grow in complexity and size to fill the allotted time you have given it.

      I found that if i gave myself 1 hour to do a report (im at university) then it only took an hour, whereas if I started it early it took weeks to finish. Maybe try this more efficient approach to free up time?


  5. Damien Parsons

    Amazing Greg. This is not something I came across before but evidence stands strong in this. Common sense really, and an awesome perspective for anybody devoted into personal development as I am.

    This will be a discussion I’ll be writing on myself, and I will certainly connect my readers to you through this. We should certainly discuss more topics like this in the future.

    Thanks for introducing me to the Cani Kaizen and the 1% rule. This is great!

  6. Rich Far

    Hi Greg,

    Such a awesome concept and thank you for presenting it so well.

    You mention it is taught by Tony Robbins – is this through a book or DVD’s and am I able to purchase it?

    Wishing you Health, Wealth and Happiness.

    – Rich

  7. Tommy SOI

    What a great and motivational post! I’ve never heard of this before, but I must say I love the concept of CANI and the 1% rule and I will not hessitate to take this into practice myself. Thank you for inspiring me, and keep up the good work! 🙂

    • Greg Post author

      Thanks Peggy. There are a lot of great japanese management tools that can really streamline your life, I will be posting more soon. Greg

  8. Krasimir Kirov

    Great article.
    I’m also very deep into kaizen and continuous improvement methodology.
    Japanese companies, and Toyota in particular, rely a lot on this tools. They say that the improvement should be incremental, step by step, in order to last for longer time. Also, getting buy-in from as many employees as possible is invaluable for the company progress.

  9. Dave

    Oh man this is really great advice. I tend to “over-think” everything, especially when it comes to goal setting. I’m going to bring this up with my team at work. Thanks!

  10. Dan

    Great article. I can relate to this, when I have a very tedious job to do I like to brake it up into a bunch of smaller jobs.. just seems like your getting some accomplushments.


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