I launched my blog just over a month ago and during that time I’ve struggled to decide which direction to take it in. Conventional wisdom says I should include posts about things my readers might like in an attempt to corral the type of traffic that will net book sales.
So I wracked my brain. What kind of post would do that? Movie or book reviews? Post about other authors? Then, just the other day, it occurred to me. I don’t care. This is my blog and I should write about whatever I feel like writing about without worrying about building a brand.
I decided the first post would be about a program I’ve followed for the last five years, one that took me from working in a dead end collections job to a successful app developer and now a published novelist. The program is called No Zero Days.
The idea is simple. Every day do something to achieve your primary goal. It can be anything, no matter how small, but it must move you towards the completion of that goal. Want to write a novel? Bust out a hundred words. Trying to lose weight? Skip that 2nd piece of pizza, or do 10 pushups.
This process sounds deceptively simple. How much can a paragraph a day add up to? A lot. More than you’d ever expect. You see the most important thing in achieving any goal is discipline. It’s forcing yourself to do something until it becomes automatic, until not doing it never even crosses your mind.
This discipline leads to two very important things. First, you’ll get momentum. If you go to the gym every morning for ten minutes you’ll quickly find that becoming twenty, and before you know it you’ll be at an hour. You’ll start seeing gains and when you do you’ll be spurred on to work harder.
Second, discipline tends to spill over into other areas of your life. Start getting in shape and the next thing you know you’re looking at a career change. Or finding a significant other who really excites you. Or writing a great novel.
Five years ago I weighed 300 lbs. My day went something like this. Wake up and slink into work without making eye contact. Keep my head down and make my daily quota of phone calls. Slink home at night to the disgusting apartment I shared with several roomates, then spend the evening getting high and playing video games.
Before I knew it I’d spent four years doing this. I was horrified. How had that much time passed? That’s when the lightbulb came on. Success or failure are not build overnight. They are the cumulative result of tiny decisions you make every single day.
So I resolved to have no more zero days. I picked a goal and went for it. The first one was becoming a more outgoing person, so I joined Toastmasters and went every single week. Within a few months I was a competent speaker, and within a year I was winning almost every speech contest.
Next I wanted to clean up my career, so I picked up a book and started teaching myself how to develop apps for the iPhone. This goal was a lot more difficult, but by never allowing a zero day I moved steadily closer. After eighteen months I left my collections job and started as an engineer, despite not having a degree. Three years later my app was on the Colbert Report.
This discipline has rippled through every area of my life, including my writing. Every day I do something to achieve each of the important goals in my life, and the results are incredible.
I highly encourage you to try this process for yourself. Pick a goal, something you want to transform. It can be your career, your body, your relationship…that’s up to you. Whatever it is resolve to make it better. Decide today.
No more zero days.