“Small steps every day” does not always mean progress.
This year I decided to be better in every aspect of my life.
I wanted to be fit again, change jobs, write more, learn new technologies, read a least ten books, and speak a new language, to name a few things.
I read some personal development books to be motivated and know where to start, and the best approach I found was to be 1% better every day. Basically, this rule means I should learn or improve at least a little bit of my goal every day, and eventually, this could work like compound interest to be finally better at something.
The main reason why the gurus recommend this principle is because if you try to do something that involves your goals day by day, no matter how small, it will be better than if you do nothing. Also, small changes are easier to carry day to day than trying something all at once.
I followed this process religiously for these four months of 2022 until I realized something, these daily micro habits were ruining my life.
Small steps every day doesn’t always mean progress.
My days consisted of the following schedule:
30 minutes to learn french.
At least 30 minutes of writing.
At least 15 minutes of reading.
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My normal work activities.
Learn a new technology to change jobs
However, 4 months later, I haven’t accomplished anything of my goals. I feel like a beginner in everything and incapable of taking everything I’m working on to the next level.
This crisis also happens in school. Young people don’t know what to focus on, so school teaches us a little of everything until we find our talent. However, even though we know a bit about every subject, we are not professional in any of them until we go to college (or take special courses) to master one of them.
You become good at everything but professional at nothing.
If I had focused on one of the learnings at the beginning of the year instead of all of them at the same time, right now, I would probably have a new job and more time to spend on my other goals.
You will feel overwhelmed and incapable of doing anything.
Having so many daily activities makes it impossible for me to add another responsibility to my day. Basically, I am occupied 40% of my day with fixed tasks plus whatever can be presented to me during the work day.
Even though this has made me more organized and better in control of my time, basically, I can’t have emergencies. No one could count on me, and I postponed important things to meet my 6 goals for the day.
This also made me feel guilty every time I couldn’t complete all my activities because I felt I wasn’t going to be able to meet my goals.
There came a time in my routine that I couldn’t accomplish anything, not because I didn’t have the capacity, but because I felt blocked. And after reading several articles about how to get my focus back, I realized that I had to cut things out of my life if I wanted to be productive again.
I followed the Neeramitra Reddy guide to be productive on the day, only adding 3 main things to my daily task schedule in the past month, and I realized I could accomplish more of those principal things and be better at them in a short time than having many things on my day.
I also started to feel more free and happy about what I am doing during the day and have time for myself.
If you have to do something obligatory daily, you stop enjoying it.
I love to write and read. It is something I could dedicate my days and nights to if I am inspired. However, adding it as a mandatory task I had to do every day made me stop enjoying it.
Even if doing all the things on the list has been a dream that I set out to achieve this year, having to do it daily made me lose track of why I wanted it.
The thing is that a hobby is not something you are supposed to do every day as it is work or a business. You can achieve the same results by just doing it two or three times a week but with the desire to do it rather than adding it to your schedule like it is part of your job.
As I wrote in “Things You Should Know Before Monetizing Your Hobby,” turning it into a business will kill your passion for it. When you make it mandatory and part of your routine, you are given the freedom to fully enjoy the act of doing it.
So what I started doing in the last weeks is instead of doing 30 minutes of french daily, I am learning it two days a week for two hours. At the end of the week is the same time, but I don’t have to add it to my mandatory daily task, and I feel more free and happy to do it because it is something I will do when I have the desire.
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Books are an excellent way to learn and change your life, but what gurus wrote there is not always 100% true; they are just a guide. You have to understand what will be good for your life and fix the things you think are not as good for you as they say.
Reading those books helped me have a direction to start working on my goals, but now I know the correct way to achieve them is to focus on one goal at a time and prioritize what I want to improve until I accomplish what I want and then move to the next one. Also, I don’t have to work every day on something; I could achieve the same result by dedicating one or two hours for two days a week.
Daily micro habits are not for me. They could work to start creating a habit, but it is not sustainable over time if you want to achieve expertise.
CONTRIBUTED BY Desiree Peralta
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