Yesterday was Christmas. I spent it in New Jersey with my parents, sister, aunt, uncle, and three of my cousins. We played board games (Scattergories!), ate Christmas dinner together, and I "helped" my cousins play with their new toys they got for Christmas.
And then, in between those events, I did two hours of Japanese practice and also spent time writing content for Life Nomadic.
I have a lot of good habits as well as a lot of bad habits, but one of my best is that I treat every day equally.
We all know that progress is made through relentless consistent effort. Luck comes into play too, of course, but only when you're in the right place for it. Relentless consistent effort is how you get to that right place.
I'm a big fan of daily habits because it's what you do every day that determines who you are and where you end up. I also think that the discipline in doing something every day is important.
If I couldn't pick a task and trust myself to do it every day, I would consider that a huge personal failing and would work hard on correcting it.
That isn't to say that I'm perfect. Right now my daily task is to learn 35 new Kanji and to review approximately 150-200 kanji. This takes roughly two hours and is pretty mentally taxing.
A few times in the past 7 weeks I have put it off for too long in the day and have gotten too tired to complete it. I twice did nothing during the day and three times did only review, no new ones.
That's not ideal, but it's not the end of the world.
Exceptions don't define the habit unless you use them as an excuse to get off the train. Every time I fell off I made sure to do my Kanji first thing the next day and get caught up. One of the days I skipped took over four hours of flashcards to get caught up.
The habit isn't as important as the attitude. Don't look for reasons to get out of doing what you should be doing. Place value on doing things even when conditions aren't perfect.
"It's the weekend," doesn't count as a reason to skip, and neither does, "It's Christmas."
Get it done.
Consistent effort is much harder when you have inconsistent timing. Think of a workweek:
Not everyone is like that, of course, but I bet you can at least relate to it a little bit.
I think a better way to do it is to create a lifestyle that blends work and pleasure in a way that is sustainable. My "work seven days a week thing" makes me sound hardcore, but the truth is that I also spend time reading and hanging out with my friends every day.
This is also how I do my diet. Other than a somewhat dreaded once-a-month "eat meat to keep bacteria in my gut" day, I don't cheat. No weekly cheat day.
Instead I create a diet that is comfortably sustainable every single day, and I enjoy the momentum that builds.
I have found that when I give myself the same responsibilities and leeway every single day, it makes it MUCH easier to stick to things. Never underestimate the power of momentum.
The pool in the house that linked me to your site. And this post on equal day, caught my attention most. Especially that "progress is made through relentless consistent effort".
Good work man.
It's the beginning of a new year. By the end of the year, hope that we achieve our target.
With only one more night to get through before the end of Bet #2, we're both still in it. There have been a few scary times, but mostly we both feel like we've been doing better than ever. When we get back from our holidays, maybe we'll start a new bet.
Steve Pavlina wrote about us in his latest blog entry because we bought him a flat panel monitor to thank him for inspiring us. If you read my old blog, then you probably saw that this is my third attempt to get on the sleep schedule. However, each time I gave up because I felt like it was impossible. Seeing Steve do it gave me the determination to press through the hard part, and now here I am on day 45+.
I'll be going to my grandparents house for Christmas, which will pose a unique set of challenges. Mainly, the others in my family aren't particularly supportive of this decision, so they certainly won't help me wake up. My solution is to pay my little cousins to wake me up. I'll post some updates from there to let you guys know how it goes. As it stands, it's 11:30pm the night before I have a morning flight, and I haven't even started packing. So much time to do everything I need to do... it's fantastic.
There are many days when I feel that I am perhaps not at my best. After some trial and error with diet and exercise, I came to the conclusion that my dog was actually to blame - he’s old and he has to pee every three hours, which makes for consistently dreadful sleep. This past weekend, though, I got a glimpse into the kind of tiredness that I think many people often complain about. I’m talking absolute lethargy here. I’m talking bone-crushing fatigue.
Last Friday, Saturday and Sunday Saint Paul celebrated the Spring edition its semi-annual Art Crawl - a huge art festival that draws over 300 artists and around 20,000 visitors. I was the coordinator for our building, which hosted 40 artists. While that was stressful and a lot of work, it wasn’t what wore me out so badly.
What really made me feel like a zombie was three days of sitting on a stool eating bad food and not exercising. I ate cookies, Thai food, pizza and more Thai food. I drank coffee or tea constantly from waking until 3 or 4 pm, and then I drank one or two beers every evening. I squeaked in a single 3-mile run on the first morning of the Crawl, but did no other exercise the whole weekend. By Monday morning, I felt like I’d been hit by a truck.
I was so tired, the thought of getting out of bed almost made me cry. My muscles and joints ached. Doing laundry was monumentally challenging, and exercise seemed utterly impossible. Fortunately, the last of the Scotcheroos were eaten up by noon, and a week’s-worth of healthy meals was planned. At 6 pm, I forced myself onto the elliptical machine and slogged out 45 minutes at a moderately-low effort. Immediately, I felt better.