The Importance of Showing Up In Habit Building

Recently updated on: September 20, 2023

I've been consistently writing on this blog since March 2020, and I've published at least one weekly article for the last 39 months (180 weeks). 

A critical aspect of that consistency, which I learned, is just showing up and starting.

Woody Allen even once said that 80% of success in life is just showing up, and the other 20% is following up.

Showing up means you dedicate yourself to improving your craft and ensuring that you will continuously do your work even if you don't feel like it - whether you are tired, out of town, or just making excuses.

Remember that personal growth is not a straight line.

So, I want to share my writing journey and how it prepared me for something I never thought I would do full-time: freelance writing.

Why is Showing Up Important?

When we discover interesting new things, we become excited and can't wait to improve. We also become full of energy and extrinsic motivation, thinking it is enough to push us through.

However, extrinsic motivation is a scarce resource - meaning it can be depleted and is not sustainable in the long run. Once this motivation is exhausted, our excitement and energy will be gone, and we will return to our old selves.

Think about a new hobby that you found. You start with enthusiasm and energy in the first few weeks or months. Then when a difficulty or change in schedule arrives, you set it aside, and it simply goes away from your system and is forgotten.

So, showing up means that regardless of what you do and feel (unless you're sick), you will still do what you must - even if it means you're not at your 100%.

You Are Not Always At 100%

Showing up means not only being physically present but also mentally present. Though you may function optimally on most days, some will go differently.

It is essential to be kind to yourself and know that you will not always be at 100%. You may be feeling down, have received bad news, or just got busy.

So, it is also important to learn that you will not always produce your best output day in and day out, and that's okay.

Start With Something Small.

You need to start with a ridiculously small task, so small that you will have no excuse but to start.

For instance, when writing for a client, my current 100% is around 3,000 words daily, but I sometimes can't achieve that number. However, I can write the outline to continue it later or the next day.

I am also rebuilding my fitness habit, and I have to at least work out for 15 minutes, 3x a week. 

When reading, I have to read at least 5 minutes or one article for personal development per day. These minimum requirements are often just the starting point to jumpstart my day.

You can always start as low as 1%, but if you continue showing up, you will realize that your 1% will eventually increase. 

Making Excuses is Easy, But is Never Productive.

It is easy to make excuses and procrastinate until the last day. However, procrastination is also a habit that we build.

There will be days when we don't feel like doing anything, and we rationalize that we lack motivation, but it is important to know that we will not always be motivated.

Since we don't always have the motivation to move, we can compensate for it through discipline and avoiding making excuses beyond our control.

Improvement is Inevitable

As long as you are showing up, improvement becomes inevitable.

March 2020 1
The Importance Of Showing Up In Habit Building 8

When I returned to writing this blog in March 2020 after almost two years of hiatus, the blog received only 56 views from 37 people.

I could have stopped then and there because no one seemed interested, but I believe that this blog can be much more and help others more, so I persevered.

Image 10
The Importance Of Showing Up In Habit Building 9

When I started writing, I hoped to have at least one person visiting the blog read what I wrote daily. However, 39 months later, the viewership grew from less than 100 to 5,000 monthly readers.

Though I had several times when I did not publish a post at the scheduled time, I still pushed myself to write.

Look From a Longer Timeframe

There are many ways for us to improve in almost anything, and if we look at our daily output, we may be disheartened because it may look flat or even declining.

However, if we zoom out and look at our improvements from a longer timeframe, we will realize how much we have improved and how far we've gone.

Image 1
30-day Views
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30-week Views
Image 3
30-month Views
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6-year Views

When I started writing on this blog in 2017, I was nowhere near the writing skills I have today (though I still have much to learn). I was very insecure and wanted to hide what I wrote.

However, as the years passed and my skills improved, I also gained the self-confidence to share it on my social media accounts because I write with a purpose.

Final Thought

Showing up requires discipline - a lot of it. We must understand that we will not always be at our best, but we can still do what we can.

Don't give up when you're just starting and it feels like nothing is happening. Remember that the positive things we do daily will add up, even if they are little, resulting in improvement.

2 thoughts on “The Importance of Showing Up In Habit Building”

  1. Hi Stuart! I think it is a combination of many things. Currently, the highest traffic comes from social media (Facebook Groups), there is also the increasing effect of my SEO implementation starting July.

    But I also usually repost my blog posts every day, and the more posts I have, the longer the rotation for the reposting.

    Based on Google Analytics, I also have a high percentage of people going directly to the site.

  2. Awesome stuff! Almost 4k hits is no joke, so congrats! What would you say your main cause for the higher traffic was? Was it a more regular posting schedule, or sharing your work on social media? Also, great point with tiny steps. I’ve found that they’re the best way for me to get things done.

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