The Every Day Rule

There’s only one day—today.

Cover photo: @jerrysilfwer

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The Every Day Rule is how I run my life for bet­ter results.

I’ve always been fas­cin­ated by per­son­al devel­op­ment. I know the self-help industry is a can of worms, but the idea that we can aspire to bet­ter ourselves is beautiful.

One day, not long ago, I found a simple concept that now runs how I live my life. I call this approach the Every Day Rule.

Here we go:

A New Approach to Goal-Setting

I’m grow­ing less and less inter­ested in fight­ing the com­ings and goings of tides.

The change in per­spect­ive came about as I was think­ing about achieve­ments. I felt that there was a down­side to set­ting goals. A goal can quickly morph into an author­it­at­ive pres­ence in life.

  • As an intrins­ic­ally curi­ous and motiv­ated per­son, I don’t appre­ci­ate “yes­ter­day’s me” telling “today’s me” what to do. It causes me to back­fire and rebel against myself.

I reasoned that the per­fect goal provided the sense of being on the right tra­ject­ory here and now — without over-emphas­ising the import­ance of reach­ing the des­tin­a­tion as soon as possible. 

Another way to put it:

The import­ance of a goal is not its res­ult but how it impacts me today. According to this reas­on­ing, I now set goals to give mean­ing and pur­pose to my present, not my future.

Allow me to elab­or­ate fur­ther.
Because I’ve giv­en this some thought.

The Every Day Rule

Let’s say that I want to write a book. It’s a non-trivi­al goal and a sub­stan­tial under­tak­ing. Publishing a book would undoubtedly increase your life event dens­ity and count toward an Epic Year.

But, If I were to write every oth­er day, I would soon write every third day, then every fourth day. And so on.

Soon enough, I wouldn’t write reg­u­larly, but the goal would still lurk in a dark corner of my brain. The idea of writ­ing a book would make me feel lousy.

A goal set to pro­pel me for­ward is instead set­ting me back.
This is not a good strategy, right?

So, for me, it’s every day — or noth­ing.

Why does this approach work so well for me?

  • Daily habits com­pound twice as fast as every oth­er day habits and will bet­ter sup­port neur­o­lo­gic­al rein­force­ment. 1An inter­est­ing par­al­lel is James Clear’s approach to habits (described in his best-selling book Atomic Habits), focus­ing on small but fre­quent incre­ment­al improve­ments to reach sig­ni­fic­ant goals … Continue read­ing
  • Doing some­thing daily makes the activ­ity part of your iden­tity, over­rid­ing the need for con­stant inspir­a­tion and motivation.
  • The Every Day Rule approach also sig­nals what to de-pri­or­it­ise; it’s not worth my long-term focus if I’m not pre­pared to set aside daily tasks.

If I write daily, being a writer becomes a part of how I identi­fy myself, like a psy­cho­lo­gic­al mas­ter override. 

  • The basic rule of beha­vi­our­al psy­cho­logy is that you get more of what you reinforce.

Writing daily makes me a writer.
A writer writes daily.

From Long-Term Goals to Daily Efforts

Based on the Every Day Rule, I now only set goals that can be broken down into daily efforts. 

For example:

Long-Term GoalDaily Effort
Improve health.Always wear a watch, but nev­er wear the same watch two days in a row.
Eat bet­ter food.Cook homemade din­ner every day at res­taur­ant-level quality.
Launch online course.One ses­sion of script­ing, film­ing or edit­ing every evening.
Be more grateful.Tell my wife and son I love them twice daily (morn­ing and evening).
Teach my son to read and write well.Read and dis­cuss books every night before bedtime.
Become a bet­ter photographer.Either shoot or edit a new photo daily (or learn some­thing from a tutorial).
Explore watches as a hobby.Always wear a watch but nev­er wear the same watch two days in a row.
Be more structured.Update Notion (“Second Brain”) when hav­ing cof­fee in the morning.

There’s Only One Day — Today

The Every Day Rule has an excit­ing con­straint: time in a day.

  • The goal isn’t sig­ni­fic­ant enough if it doesn’t war­rant daily effort. Discard.
  • The goal is a pipe dream if the daily effort is impossible or too uncom­fort­able. Discard.
  • If the goal can­not be broken down into daily efforts, it’s still an unfin­ished thought. Discard.
  • If a habit isn’t daily, it doesn’t become a part of my iden­tity; thus, my motiv­a­tion will even­tu­ally run out and weigh me down. Discard.

By pri­or­it­ising daily activ­it­ies instead of goals, I’ve cre­ated more focus and achieved more sig­ni­fic­ant res­ults in less time.

Signature - Jerry Silfwer - Doctor Spin

Thanks for read­ing. Please sup­port my blog by shar­ing art­icles with oth­er com­mu­nic­a­tions and mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als. You might also con­sider my PR ser­vices or speak­ing engage­ments.

PR Resource: Productivity

ANNOTATIONS
ANNOTATIONS
1 An inter­est­ing par­al­lel is James Clear’s approach to habits (described in his best-selling book Atomic Habits), focus­ing on small but fre­quent incre­ment­al improve­ments to reach sig­ni­fic­ant goals through com­pound­ing effects.
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwerhttps://doctorspin.net/
Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at Spin Factory and KIX Communication Index. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.
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The Cover Photo

The cover photo isn't related to public relations; it's just a photo of mine. Think of it as a 'decorative diversion', a subtle reminder that there is more to life than strategic communication.

The cover photo has

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