“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Did you know that the smell of rain is actually caused by a bacteria? This phenomenon is known as petrichor. It’s the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil. The smell actually comes from the excrements of certain bacteria known as actinobacteria. These microbes secrete a compound called geosmin, which is responsible for the distinctive smell of wet earth. Human noses are extremely sensitive to geosmin and we can detect it at concentrations as low as 5 parts per trillion!
Follow The Breadcrumbs
Often, we mistake ‘big, defining moments’ for the forces that shape our lives.
But as Annie Dillard famously said, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
Daily rituals – those non-thinking routine activities that we perform every day, almost mechanically – are the building blocks of our lives.
They determine what we do, the impact we have, and the direction of our lives.
Sadly, we rarely examine and critique our daily routine. We become so accustomed to it that we start to think of it as a well-rooted tree — impossible to move or change.
But that’s not true.
Our routine can change if we simply make the effort to change it.
And adjusting our daily routine to guide us where we want to go is literally one of the most important things we can do.
Maybe, for instance, you need to add in 30 minutes of working on a project every day… or an hour of learning a new language… or a pick-me-up walk in the middle of the day to help you maintain your energy and be a bit healthier.
Or maybe there are habits you need to get rid of.
Of course, you can’t know what needs to be added or removed unless you know what your “north star” (the thing you’re trying to accomplish) is… so that’s the first step.
Your North Star
Your “North Star” is that long-term goal or aspiration that you’re striving for.
It’s what lights up your path and provides direction in the midst of the daily humdrum.
It is unique to you and is the embodiment of your vision and dreams.
Consider what you want to achieve, what you want your life to be about, what would make you feel content and fulfilled.
Is it financial independence, starting your own business, developing a healthier lifestyle, mastering a new skill, or something else entirely? This is your North Star — and it’s what part of your daily routine should be dedicated to pursuing.
Re-designing Your Daily Routine
Once you’ve identified your North Star, it’s time to create a daily routine that supports your journey toward it.
This doesn’t mean you need to overturn your existing routine completely. Instead, look for opportunities to tweak it, to introduce beneficial habits that align with your goals, and to eliminate those that don’t.
But start small!
Remember, the Grand Canyon was formed over millions of years, one drop of water at a time.
The small steps you take each day compound over time and lead to the significant changes you want to see in your life — even 30 minutes every day is nearly 11,000 hours per year!
Think about what actions would bring you closer to your North Star.
Maybe you need to carve out time each day to read and learn about your field of interest. Or perhaps you need to dedicate specific hours each week to building your business. Or it could be as simple as deciding to cook a healthy meal every night instead of relying on takeout.
On the flip side, identify the habits that are hindering your progress. Are late-night Netflix binges cutting into your precious sleep time, leaving you too tired to focus on your goals the next day? Are you spending too much time on social media, time that could be used more productively?
Making these small yet impactful changes to your daily routine can bring you closer to your North Star each day.
It’s a gradual process, a journey.
There may be days where you falter, but remember to keep looking at your North Star. It’s the guiding light that will keep you on track, even on the darkest of nights.
And always remember, every single day is a breadcrumb leading you to your ultimate destination.
The question is: are you ready to follow the trail?
Take a moment today to reflect on your North Star, and start making the changes that will lead you there.
Every step you take is a victory, a testament to your commitment to living your best life.
Because ultimately, how you spend your days is how you spend your life.
Video of The Week
This Week’s Riddle
Here’s this week’s riddle. The answer is at the bottom of the email!
What can you hold in your right hand, but never in your left hand?
This Week’s Journaling Prompt
Take some time to think through the following journaling prompt.
Where is your current daily routine taking you? How is your current life a result of your daily routine? How would you like to change that?
This Week’s Challenge
Save this email and take 30 minutes to go through the process above. Think through your routine, figure out where you want to go with your life, design your routine to head in that direction, and solidify your belief in the power of small daily steps!
Riddle Answer: Your left hand.