I meet many amazing people on my journeys. Here at camp is no exception. One of the people I have met here is a man I will refer to as "Sven"
Sven is a great musician and an amazing coach. Beyond that he has developed a philosophy that he can easily sum up in to seven simple principles. Everyone he talks to about here at camp loves the idea. We have even printed up t-shirts in years past that campers continue to bring back and wear each year.
Sven has a dream of one day publishing a book on his 7 philosophy. We have talked in depth on my own experiences in publishing a book, the process, the problems, etc. In the end my advice to him is the same I would give to you:
If you want to make something in life happen you don't work on it "night time and the weekends".
You wake up early and make it the first thing you do everyday.
At night you are tired, burnt out. It is easy to put things off. In the morning your fresh, there are no excuses and no distractions.It doesnt matter if your goal is fittness, learning a new skill or starting a business if you want it you need to make it the first thing you do everyday. Not the last.
You might be saying "But I am a night person". Some of us are night people, my father was always one. Sometimes even I find myself churning out great work at night when my mind is in the zone on a project. If that is your time to hammer out a project then that is awesome. I just find its much tougher to start a habit at night. Your mind is bogged down by the problems of the day. The problems make it easier to make excuses NOT to put in the work you need to do to chase your dream.
Its all about creating a routine:
Making your dreams come true rarely happens in a sprint. One week, one month, even one year. It is important to create a routine that is not so strenuous that it makes you want to quit. Think of the story of the tortoise and the hair: Slow and steady wins the race. I am not saying you will never be required to sprint but on average you should be working at a pace you can sustain.
Start with just 20 minutes
One common mistake I see when people are trying to modify their behavior is that they try and drastically change their habits. This causes the sprint effect and they can't keep the habit of working on their dream up. I like to work in 90 minute cycles personally but when I am trying to start a new habit in my routine I often design a 20 minute version I can uses as a springboard. Some days 20 minutes will be enough, others you will get to that 20 minute mark and say "I wish I had another 20 minutes". No problem, tomorrow just wake up 20 minutes earlier. Eventually you will find the balance you need.
Falling off the horse:
Somedays you will fall off the horse. Maybe you stayed out too late the night before, or you have engagements early that morning. Sometimes you just can't get out of bed. When disruptions happen it is important to be able to recover and get back to your routine. Lets say you get to a full 90 minutes, then something happens and you miss a couple of mornings. Should you quit? Nope, just dial back to 45 or 20 minutes and ease back into your routine.
I am not sure where Sven's journey will take him or my journey will take me, but I am pretty damn sure we'll both get a lot further towards our dreams if we make it the first thing we do everyday, not the last.