The 2 Things I Stopped Saying

Our society loves success, but even more we love failure. Infrequently do we admire, or even talk about, what happens in between.
04/10/2014 05:16 pm ET Updated Jun 10, 2014

"They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself." - Andy Warhol

The end of 2013 was a pleasant reminder that one year had passed and a new year was emerging. The Internet emailed, tweeted, pinned, tumbled, and shared links like "The 45 Most Powerful Photos of 2013" and even "The 9 Best Cat Vines of 2013." Despite my vexation for them, I almost always find myself command+clicking to open them in a new tab -- even the cat video. I don't even own a cat. Topics be damned, at least I was getting a recap of the year 2013, right? What was my 2013 recap? Aha! That's what my journal is for.

Journaling, to me, is a blend of the short and sweet snippets throughout my day. My entries look like my smoothies after the Vitamix finishes swirling, a jumbled mess, in no particular order. I type as many things as I can remember about the day, hit save, and go to bed. My problem is writing, saving, and never coming back to reflect. When this year closed I chose to write my own 2013 year in review post. Yes! Musings of the past year.

I read over 220+ entries. I laughed, I cried, and then I tried to figure out what the hell I was talking about. What in the world does "ughhhhHHakwjeHHHH" mean? And, why did I get so mad about my Jawbone UP dying? Navigating through my sea of words was painful. The roller coaster of events and emotions that transpired in the past year were beyond what I could have ever envisioned. Cancer struck in my family, multiple times. I lost my co-founder to another company. I finally learned what being stressed meant. But, there was light on the other side. I scored a game winning goal for CFC in front of the home crowd. Apple featured us in the app store. I explored places I always dreamed of seeing. Reflecting allowed me to pinpoint my own trends. It was obvious, for the beginning of this year, I was lost. Things weren't going the way I wanted, heartbreaking news kept knocking at my door. The sentences laced throughout my journal entries were "I don't have enough time..." or "I should be..." This was unnerving when I realized that almost 1 out of 4 posts included this rubbish. Why?

I was making excuses and looking for an answer to my discontentment. So often we find ourselves comparing our lives to others. We compare what we do to articles we read (thanks, BuzzFeed), tweets from people we look up to, Instagram pictures, inspirational YouTube videos, and more. We are always thinking, I should've done that, thought of that, practiced that. I realized, and it's something I hope to pass along to everyone that reads this: we should be comparing ourselves to ourselves.

It's great to read "How To Start a Billion Dollar Company" or "The Top 20 Things To Do Before You Turn 30." Don't use these articles to compare to others, use it as inspiration to do more for yourself. It's rare to read about everything that came before that billion dollar sale, or what led up to winning that Golden Globe. Our society loves success, but even more we love failure. Infrequently do we admire, or even talk about, what happens in between. When I read the final words of my last journal entry, I made a promise to myself for 2014.

I will eliminate saying or writing these two things:

1) I should be...

Instead of saying "I should be doing more yoga" -- wake your ass up and do yoga. Stop saying "I should travel more." -- go travel! And, finally, a personal struggle of mine, I consistently wrote "I should write more." I will write more, no more excuses.

2) I don't have enough time...

Time is fixed. There are 24 hours in a day. Let's subtract eight hours of sleep -- which is generous (most of us get around six to seven). Now we are down to 16 hours. (*Pull out your calculators*) I have 960 minutes to do what I need to do. That equates to 57,600 seconds. Sometimes life gets in the way of our time, and things don't always go swimmingly, that's ok! Plan better. We have the power, a conscious decision, to put down our phones, stop playing Flappy Bird and go take care of that thing we claim we don't have time to do. There is always time.

Join me in 2014 in not making excuses, but making a change, for yourself.

Here are some tools to help:

  1. Use DayOne to journal.
  2. Read this book: The War of Art.
  3. Download Sunrise: One of the best calendar apps out there. It helps me stay organized and provides planning tools for all of the things that we put off.
  4. Use Harvest to track what you're doing. It's eye opening to see how you allocate your time.

Michael is CTO and co-founder of Spire, a UX/UI designer, and a soccer player. He writes at Medium.