Friday, May 11, 2012

Ev-er-y Day

One of the phrases that people often use when  describing me (sometimes with a hint of what I assume to be feigned annoyance) is, "He's one of those people who just decides to do something and then does it."

This statement is only partially true. I do tend to do what I decide to do. However, it's not due to my being "one of those people."  I just know the secret to fulfilling intentions. I don't even keep the secret, secret. I share it with anyone who will listen and many who won't.

The secret to fulfilling your long term intentions is: every day.

That's it. If you get "every day", then everything else is easy.

What do I mean by every day?

I mean this:

Whatever you set out to do, do it every day. You don't have to do it long. You don't have to do it hard. You only need do it every day.

If you want to implement a workout program, work out every day.

If you want to learn to play an instrument, play it every day.

If you want to become a writer, write every day.

Start with just ten minutes and don't worry about making progress. Pay attention only to consistency and being in the moment.

The reason everyday works is that it completely eliminates the question: Should I do it today, or wait until tomorrow?

If you do something three days a week, it's really easy to decide that you don't feel up for it on a given day. You put it off until the next day, but then something comes up. The following day, you're already a day behind and you wonder if it's even worth trying. Unless you're exceptionally and consistently optimistic or strong of will, you're unlikely to progress at the rate you'd like You're likely to quit, though quit is a bit strong; it's more like fading out.

However, when you do things every day, they become part of you. Working out, practicing your flugel horn, writing in your journal, pretty much anything become as part of your routine as eating or sleeping. Before you know it, you can't imagine not doing them.

That's it, really.

Now you might be thinking, "C'mon, there's got to be more to it than that."

After we got past, "How's what you're doing working for you?", I'd tell you, "Let's talk about that after you've tried every day for a month."

You might be thinking, "But I heard that you shouldn't work out every day. You should give your body time to recover."

I'd respond, "You probably don't want to work out badly every day (or any day), but if you pay attention to your body and change things up you can work out ever day. I've been working out about 350 days per year for the past seven years without issue."

The cool thing about everyday is that once you've got it, you don't really need it. Doing what you do becomes so ingrained that you can skip a day without breaking stride. Once you've got it, that is.

So what is it that you've started a hundred times but never maintained? Eating right? Cleaning the kitchen? Playing the guitar? Cooking? Writing your memoires? Learning French? Getting in shape?

I guarantee you that if you do it every day for a month, you'll substantially increase your likelihood of success. Do it every day for two months and it will become a part of you.

If it doesn't, come back and we'll talk about it.

Happy Friday,

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