Enjoying the journey!

On focusing on the smallest action and moving one action at a time.

Despite my education, I have often felt grossly unprepared to deal with the uncertainties of life. Degrees, designations, and certifications have increased the anxiety about the unknown. Why? Because through those, I have been conditioned to have a well-defined goal, course material, job description, and resources to perform well. Consequently, in the absence of plans and a clear path, I am generally stuck.

This blog is a perfect example. I have started at least 4-5 different blogs only to give up writing and publishing. I got bogged down by numerous doubts. Skill level, writing style, readership, and external approval being the biggest ones. I keep getting stuck with the chicken-and-egg problem where I don't take a step without answering all the questions, and I won't get most of the answers without taking a small step. As I was thinking about this post, the same doubts crept up again. This time, however, I took a different approach. Instead of someone who wants to become a famous writer somewhere in the future, I started seeing myself as someone who "writes every day." This subtle shift replaced the anxiety of uncertainty and expectations with the happiness of writing each day. The change in how I see myself has worked tremendously for me in areas like health and diet. For example, instead of being fit after 10 months, I see myself as someone who "lifts weights twice every week."

Similarly, instead of having a healthy diet, I see myself as someone "who does not eat processed sugar." Thus, "I write every day," "I lift weights," I write every day" is today. I don't want to become a great writer in the distant future. I write every day, and now I need to take small actions to affirm that. It relieves any pressure of expectations I might have built for myself.

Each writing session is a small affirmative step. Each blog post is a milestone on a long journey. After each writing session, my focus shifts to the next one. As the sessions accumulate slowly, they fuel my new identity as a writer, completing and reinforcing a positive loop. I can have similar positive gains with health and diet. For example, this is the first time in 12 years that I have trained for 9 weeks straight. I had not thought of it as a possibility nine weeks ago. That would have weighed heavy. Will I continue for another 9 weeks? I don't know. I know that the next training session is on Monday and I am thrilled about it.

I have learned that I often get caught up in expectations of the world. Remember that for every visible success, there are many invisible failures. Everything big was small and invisible at one point. A small wrong step doesn't hurt. I can correct it and learn from it without paying a high price. Enjoying the journey must take priority. Most importantly, while the happiness of achieving a goal decays with time, the pleasure of taking one step renews with each iteration.

Before I could claim the credit for this discovery, my wife made me aware James Clear already wrote about it in his blog and the book Atomic Habits. I would highly recommend the book to everyone.

Your turn. Write just one thing that you have wanted to do and makes you happy, phrasing it in a way that makes it a part of your identity. Post your sentence in the comments. Just one caution: I want to be a part of this journey from day 1, and therefore I will put one for myself too:

I talk to my parents every day.

Execute it for the first time. Welcome to the journey!