Not all habits are created equal. Some will benefit us, some will hamper or even harm us. So it makes sense to be intentional about them.
I could not put it better than Hal Elrod:
Considering that our habits create our life, there is arguably no single skill that is more important for you to learn and master than controlling your habits.
First things first. A lot of us focus on our output but disregard our input. Your health is your wealth. Our body and soul need quality fuel if they are to produce quality work. I’ve written and talked ad nauseum about how life forced me to re-evaluate how I looked at my health and my daily routines. But the basics are simple: Eat well, drink water, exercise, rest well, avoid unnecessary negativity.
Is your daily routine healthy? Physically AND mentally?
I’ve always had trouble finishing what I start, in the absence of external pressure or someone I have to answer for. Self-imposed deadlines don’t work well for me, especially if they mean increasing my output significantly. The rare times I am able to pull it off, I need an insane amount of recovery time.
What has worked for me is slowly and steadily changing my habits to support my goals. If the goal is blogging more, I work on it daily. If the goal is getting in shape, I exercise daily. If it’s reading I do it daily. You get the idea.
This method enables me to increase my output sustainably. It takes less motivation and energy to implement. I can even enjoy it. I just focus on consistency. I can achieve more by doing a little often than by attempting a rare long session then dreading to do it again because it took too much energy.
Doing a little often is how I read the entire Bible last year, plus 2 other books, how I got in good shape (100 press ups every day) and how I have been blogging weekly, and promoting daily.
I’m a firm advocate of little and often. I’ve long sensed that the hustle culture/ beast mode mentality was not for me.
When I’ve tried that philosophy, I’ve either ended up crashing and burning before making any dent into my goal or just after hitting it. It turns out that if I do a little often, I build momentum, slowly doing more and results have more of a chance to compound than if I am in a perpetual stop-start cycle.
Now when you have mastered the daily habits to optimize your life and that they are second nature i.e they don’t take much energy from you anymore, then you can up the ante and add more goals such as creating more daily. Whether it’s posting a song, a blog post, a YouTube video, story or whatever your art is. If it’s just a part of your day, alongside your self-care routine rather instead of it, you are less likely to burn out, therefore less likely to stop and kill your momentum.
We overestimate what we can do in the short term, but underestimate what we can do long term
As a last but important thought: aim for long term output. A month is ok to start with but momentum needs more time to truly build. Aim for 6 months to a year to really reap results.
Reflect, redefine, rise!