sustain your practice
just a little bit each day
yields long-term effects
My Apple Watch move streak is “only” 1,034 days. That may sound like a lot — it’s over 3 years — but compared to some of my other streaks it’s still a baby.
I’ve sustained a daily morning exercise practice for over 8 years. I’ve been meditating daily for over 6 years. And I’ve been publishing a daily blog for over 4 years. I also have a daily journaling and gratitude practice that’s in its 9th year.
You might say I’m into daily streaks.
People often marvel at my discipline, but I assure you that this is not purely the result of discipline.
Discipline can get you started, but it won’t sustain a practice for almost a decade.
What does sustain it?
That’s the question I get asked most often. The answer is that it eventually feeds on itself.
In the beginning I needed some discipline and structures to get me out the door. But eventually the source of the fuel shifts.
Health practices, in particular, have cumulative effects. The more you do them, the better you feel, the more you want to do them.
All of these practices yield cumulative effects: they help me feel calm, energized, centered, and more attuned.
I wouldn’t experience these effects if I didn’t show up daily for the practice. It’s not about how much you do every day; it’s about doing something.
Of course there are days on which I don’t want to do it. Many days, in fact. I am human, after all.
But I know that I feel better for having shown up. Even a short session is better than nothing. The act of showing up helps keep the rhythm and pace of my day.
And I know that I’ll feel better for having done it.
This is true for writing and blogging also.
Ultimately, I don’t sustain these practices. These practices sustain me.
The way to sustain any daily practice is to stick with it long enough for that switch to flip.
Focus on the long-term cumulative effects and eventually it will sustain you.