1 Recommendation That Changed My Life
Updated: Jan 16, 2020
Day 322 and Day 323
1/14/20 and 1/15/20
This is my longest and, perhaps, most meaningful entry to date. It is also the first time I have combined 2 days of writing into one blog post. Thank you for spending some of your precious time reading my words.
In my experience in life, especially over the past 10 months, I have observed this:
Bad habits beget more bad habits
Meaningful good habits beget more good habits.
I haven't done the research and read up on all the science. If you absolutely must have that information, I'm sure James Clear can help you. He's amassed quite a following writing about habits.
I think there is something to be said about personal experience. It's kind of like a scientific experiment on your own life. One person's experience hardly justifies validity in a scientific peer reviewed study; fortunately, however, that isn't what I'm trying to do here.
While in Florida for the last week of 2019, I engaged in several deep conversations with all 3 of my brothers-in-law on my side of the family. Deeper than we've ever conversed over the years. While one of them joined the family and we inherited 2 nephews in the process, the rest of us have grown dramatically, in my observation, since we became fathers. I am extremely thankful to have had the recent opportunities to engage in conversation as mature (ish) adults.
Yesterday morning (1/13), I woke up to a text message from my older, balder, full of dad jokes brother-in-law.
His question, slightly paraphrased:
How do you feel your life has changed, if it has, doing your blog, waking up earlier, and reading, etc.?
My answer, ever so slightly paraphrased:
The day I started writing was a life changing day. It was a real commitment to something that I didn't have to do. I didn't necessarily want to do it either, but I had this nagging feeling that something was missing and that I needed more. While listening to The 1% Better Podcast, I heard Joe ask Seth Godin a question that was something along the lines of, what is one practice someone could start today that will change their life. Seth answered matter of factly, with 3 words, "Blog every day."
So I did. This was March, 2019. I had purchased a handful of new books at the turn of the new year because I wanted to read more, but in 3 months, I'd finished a short one and was dragging my feet on the next one.
I read consistently now because of my writing habit. I wake up earlier in the morning because of my writing habit. I contribute more to daily chores around the house because of my writing habit. I don't stay up till midnight or 1 in the morning every night, mindlessly watching TV, because of my writing habit. I spend more quality time with my kids, especially in the mornings that don't require me to be at work before 8 AM, because of my writing habit. I do 250 push-ups a day and have for nearly 6 months because of my writing habit.
More than anything else, I think that writing every day has made me acutely aware of my own actions, and it has given me a place to hold myself both privately and publicly accountable.
All that being said, if I had to answer that question in 2 words instead of 2 massive text messages, the answer would be this: Personal Accountability.
so there you have it. Writing in my notebook daily was my commitment, and it has become a habit that has bled into all areas of my life and has led to numerous other positive practices. The ones mentioned above are just a few.
It even led to the blog you are reading right now, if you made it this far. My relationships have improved. My conversations have improved.
Surely, the conversations I was privileged to have, in Florida, with my brothers would have been massively different.
I highly recommend spending some time writing daily. You don't even have to be a good writer, as I discussed with a buddy while I was in Nashville. Sharing it publicly isn't a requirement. I do that for accountability purposes more than anything else. That, and because if I keep it private, it can't help anybody else.
Just write what's on your mind. It might be 1 word, it might be 1 sentence, it might be a whole book. And it might change your relationship with life. It certainly has for me.