Remember when I said I was going to write in this blog every day? Remember how well that went over? I think I made it nine days total.
I have a bad habit of taking things to the extreme. Want to go for a five-mile run? Hell, let’s make it ten! Want to limit dessert to one treat per week? No way! I’ll cut out sugar for a month! Want to start a blog where I confess all my neurotic thoughts to the world for no apparent reason? Imma write a post every single day!
Hey, I don’t hide from my faults. I’ve had to deal with myself for 27 years, remember?
While I understand my all-or-nothing tendencies place me in the Compulsive Freak Zone, I would like to make one argument:
By doing more, you end up doing less.
Less what, you ask? Effort.
Doing more leads to momentum
Never, ever underestimate the power of momentum. Here’s what I discovered through my nine days of consecutive typing: The more I wrote, the more I had to say. I would be halfway through one post, then think, “There’s my idea for tomorrow!” I would walk home from work essentially typing posts in my head.
All that, in a mere nine days.
Last weekend, my bro visited me in DC. This is a very rare occurrence—rare meaning, it’s never happened before. We’ve never had a strict siblings weekend without parents, friends, or relatives as sidekicks.
From the moment my bro arrived in DCA, I did not touch my laptop. My brother hates cities. I, on the other hand, love DC more than any other city in the world. So frankly, I don’t know when we’ll have another weekend like that again. I filled our sibling weekend with draught beer at my favorite bars and margaritas on the Potomac, no work allowed.
When my brother left DC, two things left with him—my liver health, and all my blog ideas.
…And momentum, leads to habits.
There’s a reason your parents shoved practice makes perfect down your throat when you refused to do your piano lessons. Practice also makes momentum, and momentum leads to habits.
The things I do daily—make my bed, brush my teeth, work out, drink coffee—don’t seem like chores. They’re just part of my day. When people say, “Man, I haven’t worked out in months, I’m really trying to get back into it,” I don’t know what that means. Getting a workout in—even a half-assed one—is just part of my day.
I want that same state of mind when writing. I want it to be so ingrained in my routine, my day feels incomplete without it. I know from experience: The more I say, the more I’ll have to say.
When I type my first blog post following a week of silence, I’ll stare at my computer for an hour before getting an idea. In the same manner, if you’ve ever taken a month off from the gym, I’m sure you walk to the dumbbells thinking, “And what precisely, am I supposed to do with these?”
Doing more takes out the planning, pausing, and not-knowing of forming a habit. It gives us momentum, and that momentum helps us do less.