Progression and Retrogression Pt.1

Making the shift

Every single day spent chipping away. Whether in large amounts of effort or in small installments, the idea is to be in a better position a year from now than I am today. Is this your goal also?

Once upon a time I dreaded starting anything in life because the possible outcome of success (that is not guaranteed by the way) was too far away! No instant gratification, no rewards at the end of every practice session, what was the point?! I lived in a world where I needed immediate stimulus or it wasn’t worth it. Future me will handle the lack of knowledge, ability and experience when the time comes. Not a way I recommend living.

The time is always presenting itself day after day. And if you aren’t willing to be disciplined enough to slow down and do a 1%, your future self will be almost certain to suffer.

It took the death of an old boss and the incrementally burning feeling of self worthlessness that eventually hit a crescendo in me to finally realise that time is always moving forward and I, well I wasn’t, in a progressive sense. It was with the help of a supremely helpful book in ‘Atomic habits’ by James Clear that I began to make a shift in my day to day life.

Starting to make a few little habits stick in my day to day routine brought a shift in me. A shift that I have not regretted for one moment thereafter.

I will delve more into progression and the 1% rule side of his writings in next weeks blog.

We’re never standing still

We are either moving forward or we are moving backwards in this life. We are never idle.

Retrogression is a very real thing. It is when you fall back to your previous level, or even worse, further behind. It can start very slowly without you noticing. It might be one night you decided not to read for 15 minutes before bed. That’s okay, you’re allowed to have a night off from time to time. But the following night for some reason you miss that 15 minute reading again. Then the following night…Your very quickly developing a new habit, the habit of retrogression.

So before too long you’re thinking to yourself that it’s been a while since you read for that 15 minutes of a night. You flick through the mental bank and realise it’s been over 3 weeks! ‘How could this be?! I was reading every night for the past 6 months without fail and now I’ve not read for 3 whole weeks!’ Yeah, that’s how it happens. Really subtly and without regret. There’s a part of you that is kind of rooting for the old you, the you that doesn’t want to change. The you that wants to live in that comfortable little bubble where nothing ever (or hardly) changes. Fuck that version of you! That version of you isn’t worth your time!

Schedule that

Have you regressed in anything recently? Be it in cleaning and maintaining your house? Exercising? Keeping up with friends? Constant learning of either personal interests or work?

It’s so easy to regress when you don’t log your progress. As I’ve discussed in previous blogs, motivation comes and goes. So if you’re not logging your data and then using that information to dictate what your day ahead needs from you, you’re very likely to stall and then fall behind if you let that one day roll on to more.

  • Write down every workout you do. Even write down a section of all your personal bests so you have something to aim above.
  • Use that calendar hanging up on the kitchen wall and write in a day and time every week that you need to clean the house.
  • Use that same calendar to write in a day or 2 where you need to either message or call a friend. Stay connected to the people you value in your life.
  • Set a reminder in your phone EVERY day to do some reading on your interest or work related constant learning. Stimulate your brain every day, even if it’s for just 10 minutes.

It’s your choice

Compare these two scenarios;

  • You get home from a relatively hard day at work. You’ve done all the things you need to do around the house and it’s now 9pm, almost time to call it a night. You decide that you’ll treat yourself and watch an episode of a sitcom favourite. Before you know it, that episode has turned into 4 and the time is now nudging 11pm. You know that you’re now going to wake up a little underdone and to go along with it, you’ve gained absolutely nothing from watching a show you’ve already seen so many times before.
  • You get home from a relatively hard day at work. You’ve done all the things you need to do around the house and it’s now 9pm, almost time to call it a night. You decide that you’ll crack open that book on investing because you honestly have very little idea about any forms of investing but you know it is something worth getting to know. Before you know it you’ve looked at the time and it’s about to hit 11pm. You’re rather tired and realise that tomorrow morning might be a little tougher to wake into. But you know that you’ve read and comprehended a sizeable chunk of information regarding property investment. You’ve grown a your thinking muscles that little bit more, good job!

admittedly the sitcom option seems rather easy and more relaxing to execute. But if you can find that stimulation that will hold your interest, reading said book won’t feel like a chore after only a few pages!

Wrap up for now

Next week I will delve into the aspects of choosing what things to get rid of in your life to make way for appreciating habits instead. Until then try to think of things you’d like to progress in your life. What desires are out of your reach right now? But not so far that if you started a shift in your lifestyle now, a year from now it would be much more attainable.

No man can stand still; the moment progress is not made, retrogression begins. If the blade is not kept sharp and bright, the law of rust will assert its claim.

Orison Swett Marden

Nick Donnellan

Self awareness is progression

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