Changes day by day
I keep a daily journal. It requires about 10 minutes of writing on specific prompts at the start of the workday. Most of the writing is just planning the how to best reach the needs and wants of the day. What I write from one day to the next doesn’t vary all that much. There are exceptions, of course, but I’m happy about the consistency. That stability hints at a type of gradual progress. The type of progress that I see as the most important factor of growth. Stability also makes the elements that change even more interesting. Within my daily journal, there is a prompt Daily Affirmation which is the most consistent source of change.
My daily affirmations are quick one liners that help me set the tone for the day before stepping into any project work. It is a statement that I might say at a few points over the course of the day. A cornerstone of sorts to connect back to. A reminder of the plan. For a year, the most common affirmation was “Aint nothing to it but to do it.” A kickback from watching Ronny Coleman videos as a teenager. Shoulder press 140 pound dumbbells “Aint nothing to it but to do it”. It still brings a smile back.
Aint nothing to it but to do it
That nostalgic but import phase is mixed in with “One thing at a time.” This statement comes up most often when I’m getting a late start to my day. Starting late means that something has already happened which took me away from my desired habit of writing first. When the routine is gone, the day requires more decisions. Decision can be important but they are not the things best made on the spot. The plan made yesterday is, on average, going to bring about a better outcome than the choice made right now. This is because spontaneous decisions are influenced by the desire for immediate gratification. I’m not sure you can or should avoid these choices. The compromise for me is “one thing at a time”. Give full attention to the process you’re a part of in that moment. It allows you to get the most out of the distractions and the long-term projects.
Over the past few months, my daily affirmations have been much more dynamic, but gather around a central idea. “small steps to get there”, “slow steps forward “, “keep it going”, etc. These are statements about consistency overtime. All you need to do today is make some progress towards the things you are trying to progress. It will not be perfect. You will not feel great fulfillment from the day, but you will build toward that larger picture.
The significance of consistency is ground home from experiences with weight training, potty training toddlers, and from a citable source Atomic Habits. Clear states that “If you want to master a habit, the key is to start with repetition, not perfection. You don’t need to map out every feature of a new habit. You just need to practice it.” Show up and do the time. No short cuts. It’s refreshing in its simplicity and feels dangerously close to something called the truth.-->