Showing up is step one of making progress.
My first goal when starting this blog was to show up every day. While I have missed a few days, overall I am doing well on this goal.
Whenever I am building a new habit, my goal is to optimize for showing up. I want it to be as easy as possible for me to execute on a habit the next day, because the easier it is, the more likely I am to actually follow through and make progress.
However, once I have started to build a good routine, I need to start scaling up and doing more. Showing up to execute on a habit is not merely enough.
When I started flossing, my goal was to focus on a few teeth. Then, I decided to floss a few more over the course of a week, until I had cultivated a good routine. Flossing a few teeth each day was easy to fit into my schedule, but after a while my expectations changed.
In my life, I am always looking for opportunities to improve after showing up. This is because I strive to make progress as much as possible, and showing up only counts as progress when you are starting to build a routine. After a certain point, you need to do more.
The simple way of thinking about this is that cadence matters more than quality at the start, and then once you’ve built a cadence, you can optimize for quality.
In writing for this blog, my goal was to write one blog post every day, but now I am doing that, I am starting to experiment with new structures. I want to see what shorter posts feel like, and so I am trying to write one baseline post, then another post to experiment with a new structure. The baseline is my “showing up every day” goal. This post is the one for which I am seeking extra credit in my mind.
When I build new habits, I need to optimize first for showing up, and constantly remind myself of the fact that I should improve. What I have found is that the best thing to do is spend about a week building a habit, then try to scale it up, or to scale up your habit when you feel ready (if that happens in less time than than a week).
Progress is all about showing up, but after you show up, there are many opportunities to grow. I don’t want to think of myself as someone who just shows up and does the bare minimum. I want to do more with my time.