Waste not your days in idleness

“Ye lads whose age is fitted for reading,” Alcuin said, “learn! The years go by like running water. Waste not the teachable days in idleness!” 

The years do pass by like an ever-flowing stream. 

And you're faced with one sobering reality—your days are numbered and you don’t how many you’ll get. 

So why waste them? 

Why spend them binging on entertainment and frivolous pursuits, when bigger, better and greater things are calling? 

You want to squeeze every drop you can out of life. To be the best and most remarkable version of yourself you can muster. 

You don’t slack and take your eye off the ball on purpose, it’s just the easiest thing to do.

One compromise here or there, and you slowly drift into idleness. 

You must fight compromise and idleness at every turn, especially on things that seem insignificant. That’s where your battle is won or lost. 

Big things are easy. It’s the small things that don’t appear the matter that in the end matter most of all. 

Reading is like that. It is a small habit that avoiding or forgetting doesn’t appear to impact your life today. And one day without reading doesn’t set your course for destruction and ruin. The problem comes when one day turns into two, and two becomes three, and so on and so forth until you look up one fine day and realize all the opportunities to learn and grow you've missed. 

It’s the same with what diet, exercise and a whole host of tiny habits and routines that don’t appear important on the surface. Their magic isn’t found in the days work, but in the compounding effect, they’ll have if you’re consistent over time. 

So stick to the path. 

Stay the course. 

Don’t allow slack and idleness to creep into your easy chair. In fact, throw out your easy chair and get after it because seizing the day ain’t easy. 

It takes constant vigilance to hold the line on even the tiniest of things.    

The Year Is Not Over Yet

Do you remember the resolutions or goals you set on January 1st? 

You probably don’t. 

If you’re like most, they were long abandoned by Easter. 

Why?

You had all the motivation and determination one could muster as the new year dawned. This year was going to be different. It was going to be your best year yet. 

But slowly and without your noticing, those lofty goals and resolutions you set fell by the wayside. One seemingly insignificant compromise after another added up to failure. 

It happens so consistently every year that many have abandoned the entire idea. 

The problem, however, isn’t in the idea of resolutions or goals, it’s within you. 

The tendency to cut yourself slack, put things off, and compromise pull you off course. 

That’s where discipline comes in. 

Discipline keeps you driving forward and showing up despite how you feel, how busy you are or what’s going on in your life. 

You have to show up consistently over time if you want to reach your goals. 

It’s October 3rd. This year’s resolutions may be long gone, but that doesn’t mean you sit around until January to rerack and get back in the game. 

The great thing about living in the present is that you always have the opportunity to begin again. To start over. To recommit yourself to working hard, to consistency, to discipline. 

Finish 2017 strong. You’ve still got the time. 

Systems

There is a difference between knowing what you want to do, and actually making yourself do it. 

What helps you move things from one category to the other?

The discipline to spend more time focusing on systems than thinking about goals. 

A system gives you a tangible method that requires regular—if not daily—activity. For example, writing a novel is a goal, but writing 500 words a day is a system. It’s the small daily habit and, not the grand idea, that wins the war. 

Goals are great in the short-term but systems win over the long haul by placing your focus where it should be—the process. 

The process doesn’t come with deadlines, and most days you won’t be able to immediately see your progress. But over-time they’ll get you where you always wanted to go.