Our best and worst days come and go.
It's our average days that matter most.
On the good days, everything is easy.
We have the energy we need. We’re focused and motivated. We feel lighter. Grateful even.
And on the bad days, everything is hard.
Our energy is low. Our attention is unfocused. Little things become big things. Our tolerance for other people and small inconveniences dwindles.
Our collective good and bad days look wildly different, but they all share these traits to greater or lesser degrees.
These good days and bad days get all of the attention when it comes to personal development.
The perfect morning routine.
Strategies for getting out of a rut.
Growth through obstacles.
Knowing what to do with the bad days and knowing how to create more good days are important skills that can be developed.
But what about the other 85% of our days? The everyday-blah-nothing-to-see-here days?
Our average days are where our leverage lies.
Our average days are where momentum is built and where we’re truly investing in our future selves, as they’re dividends that we won’t see until some point in the future.
These are the 3 simplest and most effective ways I know of to make the most of our average days.
Systems > goals.
As James Clear says, we don’t rise to the level of our goals. We fall to the level of our systems. And our average days are where our systems save us. Systems are what make it easy to succeed and difficult to fail. Wherever there’s an area we’re trying to grow in, there needs to be systems in place that make growth as frictionless as possible.
If you want to get up early, put your alarm in another room.
If you want to start taking vitamins, put them next to your toothbrush.
If you want to wake up and workout, put your clothes and shoes out the night before.
If you want to make more sales calls, block time on your calendar and treat it like a non-negotiable meeting.
If we default to our own inspiration or motivation for putting in the work, we’ll inevitably succeed on our good days and miss on our average days. But if we default to our systems for putting in the work, we’ll succeed much more than we miss.
No system is foolproof, as we’re all foolish enough to find ways around them. But they certainly increase our chances of success.
Define what done looks like.
One of the reasons it’s so hard to detach from our work is because it’s not obvious for us to define what done looks like each day. The work always continues, so it’s unnatural to put a stopping point to our work on any given day.
But if we can approach each day with a clear idea of what done looks like - aka what work we need to get done for it to be a successful day - we not only give ourselves the space to detach from our work, but we also give momentum to our average days.
“Done” shouldn’t be some perfect day that requires everything going according to plan for it to be successful. “Done” should instead be the minimum amount of work and tasks needed to give today a semblance of momentum. Time blocked for the work that moves the needle. A clear idea of our one big thing we need to do. A defined stopping time. Done.
Minimum Viable Alternatives
Some days we just can’t get done whatever we wanted to get done. A workout. A project. Sales calls. The details differ, the truth does not.
On these days it’s tempting to do nothing rather than something. We can’t do all 10 sales calls so we do none. We can’t make our one hour workout class, so we do nothing.
But as you already predicted I would say, something is better than nothing. 2 sales calls is better than none. 50 pushups is better than none. Minimum viable alternatives are better than no alternatives.
They aren’t better because of the content of the work.
They’re better because of the context of the work.
They show - to ourselves - that we still did something. That we showed up. That we tried.
Every single day we give evidence to ourselves of the type of person we are. This is where our identities derive from. When we fail to show up at all, we reinforce with ourselves that we’re the type of person who doesn’t show up. It might not be obvious in the moment, but it becomes obvious over the arc of time.
✌️ and ❤️,
P.S. I’m looking for 2 folks that want more good days and better systems for average days. Just reply to this email if you’re interested.
Certified High Performance Coach™
👉 Forward Coaching