Harry Cresswell

The just ‘show up every day’ conundrum

You often read that the best way to make progress and achieve your goals is to just show up every day and put in the hours.

Whether you’re working towards writing a book, running a marathon or something else, it works the same, regardless of your goals.

Success is largely based on repetition. It’s the result of what you choose to commit to and practice on a regular basis. It’s the total sum of your habits.

Show up every day is generally very good advice, but often it leaves me feeling like I want more from it. Let me explain what I mean.

When you read about the importance of ‘showing up every day’, rarely do you read on to discover any actionable advice to help you make it happen. You’re just told that you need to ‘show up’, if you want to succeed. But like most things, showing up is easier said than done.

In addition to this, by saying ‘just show up every day’ you’re not offering any practical solutions to help whoever you’re advising make progress with variety of different commitments. It offers no framework to ensure you make progress in equal measures. And this is what I find myself searching for more than anything.

So these are my questions:

  • What if I want to write a book and run a marathon?
  • What if I have client commitments and side projects?
  • What if there are courses I want to take?
  • What if I have financial goals too?
  • And, what if there’s more still, that I’m working towards?

How do I stay committed to each and every one of these things, and invest my time in equal measures?

There’s lots we all want to achieve with the time we have each day, and not enough is written about the strategies to help us get there. Strategies that can help us manage a whole range of commitments without feeling overwhelmed.

Staying committed isn’t always easy. The more you take on, the harder it becomes to prioritise your commitments and juggle your time. It’s like having too many tabs open in your browser. The more you have open, the harder it becomes to make decisions and focus on your next actions.

This leads to procrastination. You struggle to make progress. You end up focusing your energy on all the wrong things, or you give more attention to one project over another. In some cases you loose sight of your intentions entirely.

But you continue to read the same old advice; if you want to to reach your goals you must show up every day and consistently put in the work. And that seems to be the extent of it. I’m not saying this is bad advice. Quite the opposite, in fact. But without any practical guidance on how to actually ‘show up’, this advice isn’t particularly helpful.

I’ve written previously about how implementation intentions can help you stick with your commitments. The formula it provides, works by applying situational cues to a specific commitment. But, now I’m looking for a strategy that helps apply this formula to a variety of commitments, rather than treating each commitment independently. Think habit stacking, if it helps you make sense of it.

I need a solid framework to help achieve these things. A solution that helps you show up daily and make progress towards all of your goals, not just one. A method you can apply to your process, that helps you prioritise your schedule and structure your days to make the most of your time.

We all want to get the most out of the time we have available. And we’re all trying our best to manage a variety commitments, which in most cases we’d like to stay committed to. But the hardest part is just that.

So rather than relying on the just show up every day conundrum, and calling it our best advice. We should think more about the strategies we can use to turn this advice into something more actionable. And look for a better approach to help manage our commitments, that ensures we make balanced progress, day after day.

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