Declare A Day One

by | Mar 19, 2024 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

The absolute most poisonous mindset you can put on yourself is that change is out of your control. I’ve dealt with so many toxic people (through their own actions and their mindset) and the most fundamental problem they all share is that they don’t treat change as if it’s something that can just happen.

Bad news for any of my anxious readers here- but what happens yesterday has no bearing on what could happen today. For example, if you drive to work every day, next morning may be the one where your car gets totaled due to someone else’s bad driving. You can’t stop that!

But in the same way, what is to stop something catastrophically good from happening? We don’t have all of the odds for brilliant things happening to people (blame the insurance providers for that), but we can say as a fact that there’s a non-zero chance your whole life changes for the better tomorrow.

So- how do we balance both sides? How do we find our footing in a world that’s inherently chaotic?

My advice is to Declare a Day One.

What is a Day One?

A day one is any demarcation of time that results in the start of something new. For example, New Years Resolutions will often result in a Day One on January 1st where folks resolve to “Hit the ground running”. It’s also common for birthdays, changes in circumstances, or new opportunities to cause day ones. But that’s not always the case!

You can, for any reason at all, declare a day one whenever you feel like it. I find when I’m undertaking open-ended research in my creative practice, I often add a day one to my diary for that research. It’s great for time tracking, sure, but it’s also amazing for having a definitive start of something. And, in my opinion, who doesn’t love an anniversary?

Recently, as I’ve just turned 26, I’ve declared a day one for authentic personal content. I’ve stopped posting so much recently, especially after the complete clown show of the end of 2023, but now that I’ve found some footing it makes sense to make that declaration to myself.

Why are Day Ones useful?

Think about bad habits like a laundry pile. If you aren’t keeping your attention on it, it’s going to slip away from you. This holds the most true for addictions and consumptive habits. I’ve been drinking Pepsi Max more than water on many days, and now I’ve got 7 cavities that need fixing. Yeowch!

Choosing a day in your calendar (ideally today) to say you are going to earnestly focus on changing something means that you are making that change front of mind. If you can lock that down into a physical time where you decided something had to change, every time in the future you notice a positive impact, you can track how long that’s been.

A great example of this is smoking. Most heavy smokers see massive benefits in their health within 30 days of quitting cigarettes. But if you don’t allow yourself to ever have a day one, there is no possible way to reach day 30. Sure, it sucks to fail changing something, but it sucks even harder to guarantee failure.

How do I declare a day one?

You just do it! You speak it out into the world in a way that feels right to you. That being said, I’d refrain from telling too many people about it. It’s very easy to release all of the pressure you need to change by telling everyone you will instead. This is a reminder that diamonds only form under pressure, people, and personal growth is going to be far more valuable than some stupid rock is to you.

I recommend starting a diary. The diary system that works for me is the Calendar community plugin for Obsidian, in conjunction with the Daily Notes plugin. I’ll write up an article about it later. Some people will find it far more useful to have a physical diary, but having one I can access anywhere and refer back to via search is really awesome for self discovery.

I found out about this when I started playing a game called Resonite, and I wrote everything I did each day starting from a day one. Being able to see when you’d met people, found great wisdom, and got up to shenanigans made the process so much more rewarding. It’s also made it so much easier to write up this very blog post!

But what if I fail?

So what? Take another day one. Throw yourself a mulligan. If the Wright brothers got a plane into the sky on their first prototype, I’m sure the enjoyment they felt when they got it working would have been minimal. it is better to fail than it is to not try at all.

My friend Jo Will, an excellent designer friend of mine, gave me this wisdom recently. Interest isn’t the only thing that compounds. I’ve started taking more of an interest in my health lately and I’m having to do stupid stuff like push-ups starting from the knees. But doing that is a hundred times better than failing to hold up my own body weight and failing to achieve anything.

The enemy here is never failure, but giving up. There’s things in life that are worth giving up after trying, absolutely, but in the case of personal improvement it’s better to just get started. Sure, you’ll do things incorrectly whilst you’re learning (something I’ve been doing constantly in my bookbinding class) but it builds tolerance in doing it properly in the future.

Final Tips

Your reasons for doing stuff doesn’t really matter here, so your support network probably won’t share your goals. That’s ok! Some people are motivated for their health. Some people are motivated because they want to pick up their partner and make out with them. Both of them would be extremely welcome at a group workout class!

Document your actions, not your progress. Knowing what you’ve done so far makes self-improvement so much more efficient, especially when seeking advice. I’ve seen so many people lost in tracking day to day improvements like numbers of sales when they really should have written down what they were trying this time!

Finally, just get started. Write it down and keep it visible- post it notes on monitors are a time honoured tradition for the day-oner. Don’t let yourself forget the commitments you’ve made to yourself- the only person who can follow through is you.

Are you putting off your passion? The whole reason I write stuff like this is because I love helping people make time for what they really want to do with their lives. I’ve got services starting from £200 that have a track record of creating lasting change. If that’s out of budget- email me anyway. Advice is free!

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