Today, I turn 38 years old.

I’ve been pondering on exactly how to mark the occasion over the last few weeks.

At first I wasn’t sure where to focus my attention. I could focus on my health, and commit to some daily exercise.  I could focus on my finances and increasing my total net income.  I could work on my relationships, and spend more time with the people I love.  I could commit more deeply to my faith, and spend more time reflecting and studying messages from the Creator, out in nature, through books of religion, and develop deeper my own spiritual practices.

But nothing was quite hitting the mark.  I wanted to put my attention on a keystone habit.  A habit that could lay the foundation from which other habits could grow/develop.  That meant going meta on the results I was interested in creating.

After some further soul-searching, and introspection, I realised that where I was lacking was in the realm of self-discipline. Of the structure, and framework of ordered habit.  There’s much to be said for the power of habit.  It minimises your need to use willpower, and decision making.  The fewer decisions you have to make, the more mental energy you free up.  The more mental energy you have at your disposal, the easier it becames to make better choices.  With better choices, over time, come better results, and with practice and dedication, your habits have become automatic choices, freeing up your mind to focus on things that require a more primary attention.

As an example, if you’re objective was to exercise more, and you developed the habit of visiting the gym every day at the same time, then your body would get into a routine of going to the gym.  If you had your bags packed, went in, and didn’t do any training, but just made a commitment to go the gym every single day, then sooner or later, you might get bored of going to the gym but not working out.  At that point, either through just being in the gym, or by virtue of becoming familiar with the people in the gym around that same time each day, you’d eventually start working out.  The commitment you made, was to be prepared for the activity.  As that becomes habit, then you can increase the scope of your commitment, to the next step of your desired activity.  A mentor of mine, Chris Record, refers to it as Levelling Up.  He along with James Clear (a great thinker and researcher in the domains of willpower, habit, and routine as well as strength and physical fitness), talk about setting a really really low expectation of yourself.

Not because you can’t do it, but because you want to give yourself the absolute best chance of succeeding.  And once you can do something consistently, it gets much much easier to work on improving the quality of the activity, or your skill level within the activity.  But typically, it’s the getting started, and being consistent, which is the biggest stumbling block.

Just think to people’s New Year resolutions, and how few of those are ever sustainably maintained?  How many people three months after they’ve set their intentions are still actively at it.  Whether it be abstaining from alcohol, eating better, exercising more, or being more loving in their relationships.

 

The fact of the matter is, that any goal worth doing, is worth doing badly.  Do it as worse you possibly can.  But make sure that you’re committed to doing the minimum viable first step.  Commit, nay dedicate yourself to the regular habit, no matter how bad the practice is at that stage.

But be committed.

Dedicate yourself to the activity on a consistent basis.

With time, practice, and consistent activity, even the worst students start to improve.  It’s not about the amount of practice, or the amount of improvement, it’s instead about the consistency of habit.  The discipline regularity, that leads to improvement.

With that in mind, I make the commitment that I will publish something daily on this blog, for the next 365 days, until my next birthday.

I want to get better at writing.  I want to get better at speaking.  I heard recently that to improve your speaking skills you can practice the art of writing daily, and with time, you’ll get better at speaking as well.  Especially when it comes to presenting without notes, and speaking to an audience off the cuff.

Whilst I’m not particularly shy or nervous when it comes to being in front of an audience, or a crowd, I do want to start upping my game this year.  I want to share more of the value that I have.  My thoughts, my ideas, my perspectives that I hope might inspire others, educate others, or lead others to explore, grow, develop, and improve themselves.

In time, I might look to make a living by being of help to others.  For now, I do it purely to get better at speaking my thoughts, getting good at creating coherent sentences, and working towards improving my self-discipline.  If at the same time, it helps another along the way, then that’s a bonus.

 

So my stipulations/criteria for success are:

  1. I must write daily.  If for any reason I am unable to publish an article daily, then the days that are absent an article will get one written, but back dated by a day
  2. I can write short sentences, and paragraphs as a piece (even just writing a few sentences for that day), or I can write longer meaningful articles and essays.  The total length doesn’t count as long as something has been published for each day.
  3. I can prepare pieces in advance, when I know for example I might be travelling, or unable to reach an internet connection in advance, and have them self-publish themselves (if I’m so prepared).
  4. It’s ok to write a piece for a different site, and then reference it back on my main site here for a particular day, instead of writing a full piece on this website daily.
  5. Consistent daily practice is the objective, and as close to that as I can get, the better. Days that are missed, or planned in advance for, will be noted in the end of the article.

So this year, I give myself the gift of a daily practice. Let’s see if I can schedule it in daily, at the same time each day, and start to achieve a consistent pace, and momentum with my writing.

 

I see this as being a keystone habit.  A habit, that once established, and developed, and cultivated over time, will lead to even greater results and focus in other areas of my life.  Let’s see how this year pans out.

 

For now, I note that this article was written on the 28th of May 2017, a day after my Birthday (the day I wanted to start this habit).  So not off to the best of starts, but at least, I’ve acknowledged the late start, and am making up for the lost time, to start to catchup.

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