Take the Pressure Off

When it comes to sticking to daily habits, I find it helpful to not set a strict deadline on what time in the day I should do them.

Ideally, I’d write in the morning when I’m feeling fresh and caffeinated, but the ideal isn’t always in the cards.

You would think that having a precise time in the day for a habit would be good (sometimes it is) but often it can derail and undermine our efforts.

Missing a deadline we give ourselves and easily feel like failure in our minds.

When 9 AM rolls around, and yet you still haven’t gone on your 8 AM run (because of X Y Z reasons) then you’ll stress out about it all day until you go for a run (or give up and get ice cream instead).

I find it helpful to have a loose schedule of when I want to do something, but only have the hard-set rule of practicing each day. If I can’t get to writing until 11:58 PM, then so be it.

I have a morning routine and evening routine, but if something comes up and I don’t chastise myself for not doing it when I expected too.

After all, good habits and supposed to be beneficial, not cause anxiety.

Once you build up enough days under your belt, you begin to trust yourself enough that you will check off your habits.

Because once you’re committed to something, you know you’ll get it done when you need to.

Stick to what matters to you consistently, but don’t let the messiness of day to day life derail you from something you love and want to do.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1431 (draft 2)

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Influence

My accent is very uncharacteristic neutral. American, yes, but different from where I’m from.

I grew up in the south, where the southern drawl is so thick you need a machete to cut your way through it. My parents have it. Their parents definitely had some twang going on. But for me, not so much. My best guess why I don’t is TV and film. Growing up with 90s cartoons, and a world slowly coming online gives you a broader perspective of what people sound like across the world.

I was also constantly mimicking voices, so unconsciously I noticed that how people speak is a skill and aesthetics that can be changed.

Lately, I’ve been fascinated by the idea of “influence”. Not influencers, per se, but how we pick up values, personality traits, interests, and lifestyles from people we surround ourselves with.

Do you really like punk rock? Or do you like it because a cool friend from middle school liked it? Does it matter?

Do you really dislike country music or are you just rebelling against your parents?

Does it matter where our influences come from?

It’s a big question to ask, with lots of nuances.

My answer right now is—

Mostly. Absolutely. Probably. Definitely.

I have an old friend who’s never like reading. Ever since I’ve known him, I’ve never heard him talk about a book he’s liked. In school, he would read a book from cover to cover—meaning the front cover and the back cover and nothing in between. I get it, he’s a people guy. He’d rather have a conversation or watch a show then read. And school reading assignments obviously left a bad taste in his mouth. But I love reading! Half of what I know is from books. I can’t imagine who I would be if I wasn’t voraciously passionate about books.

Small things can influence us in a big way. Little decisions that set us on a certain path. It doesn’t take much to push us down a path that leads us to places we don’t want to be. And on the other hand, a random whim or chance encounters can lead to open doors and wonderful opportunities. Friend of a kind of situation. Stumbling into someone at a coffee shop or bar that leads to your life calling. Or—just leads to your next oat milk latte.

There’s certainly a heavy sprinkle of chance when it comes to influencing.

However, that doesn’t me we are helpless to its power.

Instead of thinking of ourselves like a leaf on the wind, aimlessly spinning around, following wherever the wind takes us, think of it like you’re an origami paper airplane. You can cut, follow, and weave through the wind. You can change yourself, and therefore have a hand in where you’re going.

Not the best analogy, but you get the idea.

It comes down to willingness.

Be open to change and possibility. Try things before you judge them or write them off. Curate your influences. Surround yourself with a higher quality of influences. And examine and question why you do what you do.

Are you making a decision out of curiosity or good admirations, or are you doing it everyone around you is?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1430 (draft 2)

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On Being Yourself

Sometimes you have to be cracked open to get to the good stuff.

We walk around in layers and masks to protect ourselves, but really we’re just keeping our gifts from the world.

It takes a certain amount of nerve to put yourself and/or your work out there. Nerve you might not even realize you have because of a healthy sense of naivete. But that’s what new experiences are—doing something with enthusiasm, but risking failure in the process.

Failure ispart of being alive. But the question is where does failure end and success begin? They often start at the same breaking point.

One day you’ve failed, the next day you choose to try again. To me, that’s what success is—no matter how many times you fall, you keep getting back up. Even if it hurts.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1429 (draft 2)

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Use What You’ve Got

According to a quick google search, the top two most sold ice cream flavors are vanilla and chocolate. Out of the thousands of favors and options out there in the world, the humble vanilla and chocolate are still the most popular.

You have everything you need to create what you want. Everything that you can and will eventually add to the mix (experiences, higher quality gear, knowledge, the latest gadgets, and gizmos, etc) are simply extra topping flavors for your toolkit.

For now, you have what you have—so make do. Think of it as a creative limitation, something that gives you the opportunity to think differently and come up with a clever solution.

Don’t Let What You Don’t Have, Stop You From Using What You Do Have.

There’s no sense in waiting for the right tools and gear.

Having better or more tools doesn’t equal more creativity or originality.

Be resourceful. Make do with what you have and make it shine.

Think of it as an opportunity to think differently (instead of doing the easy thing most of us do—aka buy something that fills a need or fixes our problems). What if you built it yourself? What’s the alternative solution here?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1428 (draft 2)

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Unhealthy Habits

Everything we do has the potential to be beneficial or detrimental to our lives. It’s weird to think about life in these systemic terms, but it’s true.

A pancake isn’t going to kill you.

A pancake a day for 10 years willl… eventually.

That’s the tricky bit: eventually.

Habits, good or bad, are felt in the long term, not in the day-to-day. It’s the slow, monotonous, sometimes daunting accumulation of good habits that make all the difference in our lives.

Low-quality sleep, for example, is my currently bad habit.

Why? I’m not quite sure yet. But I know what doesn’t help—staying up late, snacking or eating large meals before bed, too much late-night screen time…

That’s the other thing about unhealthy habits—they often make us accumulate additional unhealthy habits, or backslide into old habits.

But, like my current issue with sleep, a habit is usually a group of small related habits or actions. And while we might not feel in control of our larger unhealthy habits, we can take smalls steps with dealing with the simpler ones that are feeding the larger baddies.

I don’t know why my sleep quality is lacking, but I can work on going to bed early instead of staying up ate. I can stop eating anything significant 2 hours before bedtime.

Focus small to win big.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1427 (draft 2)

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Thinking Perspectives

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

Albert Einstein

Isn’t it interesting how easy it is to come up with ideas and solutions for other people’s problems, but when it comes to our own problems we can’t figure out what to do?

We are too close to the situation(s) to see clearly enough to be objective.

We get so wrapped up in the stress and the emotions of what’s going on, or focus is so narrow we don’t have a clue about what’s actually going on.

Take a step back. Look at the bigger picture.

It’s impossible to see your own face unless you have something that reflects it—like a mirror or photo.

Separate yourself from the equation.

If your friend was going through X, what would you recommend them to do?

If a complete stranger on the internet was dealing with Y problem, what answers would you suggest?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1426 (draft 2)

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You Need a Contingency Plan

What are common things that can derails our routines and habits the most? And, more importantly, what can we do about them?

Injury is a big one. There’s nothing like the loss of progress than a painful injury that leaves us lying in bed, sitting on the sidelines, and mentally challenging us with helplessness and negativity.

The ironic thing about injuring yourself is it’s often the people who are trying the hardest who end up injuring themselves. That is my story. I injured my neck, not out of laziness, but out of working too hard at the gym and at work. It’s not that working hard is bad per se, it’s hard work and not having the awareness of what our body, mind, and spirit needs. Just going out and running hard

  • Big Life changes is another common thing that can derail us. For example, moving across the country (or even across town). Talk about messing up your daily routine. You have to rush out in the morning to get everything packed and loaded—aka no coffee and reading routine. And by the end of the day you’re exhausted and can barely move your arms.
  • Stress is the silent killer. Problems at work, family, friends, relationship—witho ourselves (things we are doing and-or not doing). Stress can hit us on all sides (and usually all at once). There’s nothing like a stressful day to make you want to roll up to Chick-fil-a or Shake Shack and grab a large milkshake. Or Buy-click to your hearts content on Amazon. Or just be plane lazy after work and do nothing but watch stuff and lallygag around on the internet.
  • Mindset. We are often our own worst enemies. If it seems like we aren’t making progress, or if we mess up once and “accidentally” eat a gallon of ice cream, we beat ourselves up about it and spiral even further away from our goals.

There are many things that can derail us. Obviously avoiding them is ideal, but that’s not always possible or in our control. What we need is a game plan for when they inevitably come up. We need to create a playbook we can go to in times of pain and stress. Think of it like our own personal DEFCON system—different levels of readiness and strategy depending on what’s happening to us.

If I get injured I’ll do X Y Z. When I’m moving to a new apartment, I’ll hit the “Moving Plan” button.

Here’s an example:

What do you do when you lose your job?

  1. Close the book, so to speak. Write down a list of everything you learned and enjoyed, and write down a list of why it didn’t work out or what you want to be improved at your next venture.
  2. Write down three things you want to see or accomplish in your next venture.
  3. Reach out to all your friends. Ask them if they’ve heard any opportunities and if they have any helpful connections.
  4. Reach out to a design friend, or hire a design to help you with your resume and portfolio
  5. If #2 and #3 don’t pan out, find a job recruiter to help you find a job.

Having a go-to list takes the pressure off of us in the moment. It allows us to put aside the pain and problems that we are dealing with and focus—one item at a time—on the things we can do about what’s happening.

Note to self: Make a contingency plan for everything.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1425 (draft 2)

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Just Keep Practicing

There’s really only one thing that’s between you and your dreams:

Practice.

Of course, everything will try to stop you from practicing.

Boredom. The Rain. School. Sleepiness. Newer and shinier goals and dreams. Bad internet. Family. Friends. Enemies. Frienemies. Anyone. Even yourself.

In fact, the biggest barrier we often face is ourselves. We may start with enthusiasm, but past a certain point, things start to get stale. We hit plateaus and have to keep going, despite it seeming like we aren’t making any progress at all. This is what stops most from their dreams—they give up. They hit a tough spot and talk themselves out of going forward.

Dips, obstacles, ruts, heartaches, pain, and failure happen to us all. But that doesn’t matter.

All we have to do is keep practicing and keep getting better. If it’s important to us, then continuous, consistent, and challenging practice will get us there. It’s the crazy ones that keep going, despite all odds.

I don’t know about you but I’d rather be crazy than complacent. I’d rather be crazy than always complaining about how things didn’t work out.

You can do it. Keep practicing. And if something stops you—well, pick it right back up and keep going.

And if we do get derailed—by the weather, an injury, lack of motivation, etc.— we just have to start again by practicing today. Forget about your broken habit streak. Forget about where you used to be or used to have compared to today—focus on today’s practice. And then keep doing it.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1424 (draft 2)

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No Complaints

Complaining doesn’t work.

Unless your goal is to make you and everyone around you miserable.

Yet, we have all complained in some form or fashion at some point in our lives. Why? Because there’s something in our lives we dislike (it could be based in the present, past, or future) and we are looking for either sympathy or help.

But If you are looking for sympathy, you won’t get it by complaining to everyone around you. In fact, complain too much and everyone will try to avoid you or at the very least only give you eye roles every time you talk about your ailments.

If you are looking for help, complaining isn’t the best strategy either. It’s not that others don’t care, they likely care a great deal, but to them, you are a song stuck on repeat. As much as others would like to help you, they know they can’t unless you are willing to do something about what you are complaining about.

If you are looking for change in your life, complaining will further entrench you into feeling stuck and incapable.

Thoughts affect our beliefs and our willingness to act.

If we are constantly complaining or looping negative thoughts in our heads that will also reflect in our actions (and/or lack of action).

You can change—you can transform yourself and your life completely—but your inter and external complaints are like glue keeping you from progressing. Thoughts affect actions; Actions affect thoughts. By giving into complaining, you’re cutting off your ability to clean your thoughts and/or desire to get up and make a change.

Don’t get me wrong—It’s okay to feel bad. It’s okay to feel down and out, helpless, discouraged, less than, apathetic, scared, lonely, and all the other negative emotions. We all do, at some point or another. I know I do—a few times a week! What’s not okay is always letting those things constantly control and run our lives.

Start small. Get some rest. Cover your bases (mind, body, and spirit). Do what you can. Remind yourself that this won’t last forever. Just keep moving.

Write out your complaints on a small piece of paper, burr it or put it in a locked complaint box, and then proceed to never look at it again.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1423 (draft 2)

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Better Now Than Never

I have a rule for myself, where if anything that takes me less than five minutes to do, I’ll do it immediately.

If I’m making lunch, I don’t leave the dirty dishes in the sink, I eat and then immediately clean them (sometimes I managed to clean before I eat.) there’s nothing worse than having a full day of work and then coming home to a mountain of todos.

Not just dishes, but all the little “chores” and habits we tend to ignore or put off because of not feeling like it.

I like to think of it as a gift to my future self. In a way, it’s also a gift to my present self too, because I’m trading a few minutes of my time for feelings of accomplishment.

Just because I don’t feel like doing something, doesn’t mean I should give in to that feeling.

Often success is the accumulation of small actions and key decisive moments done well.

A “Do It Now” is a great habit to get you there.

It’s one thing to want to do or be something, it’s another to be able to do it when it counts.

This can also improve the lives (and attitudes) of the people around you. When your significant other asks you to do something, doing it immediately will not only make them happy and cared for, it will help you build the discipline to make sh*t happen.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1422 (draft 2)

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