The power of doing things every day

April 16, 2014

About one and half years ago, I started with daily exercises. Almost every workday right after I woke up, I started the day with pushups or sit-ups. It was good, but not great. It costed me a lot of discipline to keep on exercising, especially when I went to bed late the night before. Some days I kept to my good intentions, others I didn’t. In the summer I went on holiday and didn’t workout for a couple of weeks. When I came back home, it took quite some time to get back in the habit.

I was thinking about how I could make it easier and somewhere two months ago I realised what would help me: instead of exercising a few days per week, I decided to workout every day. That may sound counter intuitive, but it actually makes sense. If you do something irregularly, it’s very easy to come up with excuses. Every day you have to battle and find enough motivation to keep on going. When you instead decide to do it every day, there is no question anymore if you’re gonna do it, you just do it. Another nice side effect is that when you do something daily, it becomes a habit and you don’t have to think about it anymore, it goes automatically. It might not always be easy, but there is no doubt if it’s gonna happen: you’ll do it every day, so also today.

The same struggle is now going on in a different area of my life. I excitedly started with the ‘One year of UI Design’ challenge, but since some days are really busy with work and social activities, I don’t always find time for it. Even though I really love it and want to learn, it just doesn’t happen. With my exercises I decided to do something every day. On days when I really don’t feel like doing it, I won’t follow the training plan, I just do a minimum amount of reps. That way I managed to keep on going every day. I’m thinking about a way to implement this principle into the UI Design Challenge. I thought that just quick sketching would be an option, but it’s not really satisfying since I also want to improve my digital skills. In any case I’m thinking of a solution to make it a daily habit. If you have any ideas, I would love to hear them.

If you want to learn or improve something, make it a daily habit. I believe you’ll get further by making small steps every day, than by making a big step once a week or so. Of course time is limited and you can’t do big things every day, but as long as you do little steps daily, you’ll move forward in the right direction.

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