We all have people in our lives that talk more than the walk.
They know everything about a subject, but don’t actually live it out themselves. Or their list of things they want to do runs laps around their list of things they actually do. In short, they are really good at doing everything BUT what they say.
Did I say people?
I really meant us. We do this too, more that we would care to admit. In fact, we do it so much we don’t even notice it anymore that we are doing it. Instead, we just see what everyone else is saying and not doing, versus what we are saying and not doing ourselves. (Harsh josh, but true…)
I can see three fundamental reasons behind this:
- Fear — We want to do it, but we are terrified of trying, failing, succeeding and / or looking bad.
- Belief — We don’t think we can because we don’t have enough time, resources, abilities, motivation, trust in ourselves etc.
- Uncertainty — We want to do everything, so we end up doing nothing because we aren’t sure what’s best and what will give us the most bang for our buck.
Luckily daily habits addresses all three of these reasons.
Daily habits give you a practice, something to work at and improve each day. If todays practice sucks, no problem. Tomorrow’s practice will be even better. If I can focus only on today’s work, the fear and uncertainty is small and the belief in myself grows and accumulates each day. There is no tomorrow, just today. There is no uncertainty, just the task in front of me. And the fear is smaller, because it’s down to a single action. I just need to do this one thing, that’s it and I’ll be better for it, even if I fail or look bad today.
Daily habits give you a practice, something to work at and improve each day.
My impetus [driving force] for writing at RenaissanceLife every day (and ultimately discovering the power of daily habits,) was that I was fed up.
I was fed up with wanting to write but not have the time. I was fed up with wanting to be more, but not being more. I was sick of just saying what I wanted to be, rather than actually being it.
Instead of having to say ‘I want to be a writer’, I am able to say ‘I am a writer’.
And it wasn’t just writing. It was music and exercising and art, and all the other little things that have been found to elevate our lives in little ways, such as making our bed, flossing, walking every day, solitude and community. All the things we never have time for.
Or at least, all the things we never think we have time for.
Like magic, once you start your daily habit, time for it appears.
You could also equate it to money. Say you decide to invest one hundred dollars a month in a retirement fund. At first you might think that’s impossible, because you need every dime to live on and can’t afford to lose the hundred dollars. But if you did it anyway, you’re spending adjusts. You still pay for everything you need (gas, bills, food, etc) but you subtly don’t spend the extra hundred dollars on things you want. It’s so subtle you don’t even notice you didn’t buy an extra shirt the other day, or you watched Netflix instead of buying a movie on iTunes. You’re finances adjust to the new reality.
It’s the same with doing something daily. You adjust your day to fit your practice. Whether that means getting up early, staying up late, doing it during lunch time, or just not spending time elsewhere, your life adjusts. Just like how deadlines are a good idea for projects because they give us a window of time to work in or otherwise we would work or procrastinate ad infinite, so too does our day give us time to work on our practice. It might mean that we are doing it at 11 pm at night on a hectic day, but we still find a space to fit it in somehow.
Life adjusts to change
Combine that with the power of streaks and accountability, and there always seems to be time for our practice.
Every day I ask:
How can I challenge myself today?
How can I get uncomfortable today?
How can I improve today?
Have I written a book yet? Have I recorded an album yet?
Nope. But I’m working on it every day. I’m working towards those goals.
And that’s the real secret of daily habits.
Daily habits give you a reason to wake up early and pursue something meaningful
It gives you something meaningful to work towards and wake up for. Even if your life is crap, you have your practice, you have a vision of your life you are working towards every single (josh d*mn) day. And you become the kind of person who doesn’t just talk.
How many can say that?
STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner
Daily Blog #574