Show Up, Every Day

It’s easy to look at the moments of key progress. When your income is growing, when you’re finally losing weight, or when you ace that difficult final exam. But I think it’s more important to focus on the moments of zero growth. Where you’ve gone to the gym for months without seeing improvements, studied for weeks just to get a C or watched your business stagnate.

Because, in the moments of stagnation some people give up, and some people keep showing up day after day. And even though they aren’t making progress in the moment, the latter group are more likely to succeed.

Why the Gym is Crowded in January

The first few weeks of January are an interesting time. The gym is bloated with people who have just bought new year-long memberships. But, by February, most of those people have left and it’s just the regulars who go every day.

The people who bought year-long memberships, only to use them for a few weeks are typically people who are looking for moments of progress. Once they stop tasting improvement, they give up.

The people who go every day will keep going even when they don’t make progress for months, or even years. While it may not be as glamorous as losing 30 lbs in a month, or building muscle in a few weeks, they are more likely to succeed.

Why Dead Columns Bloat the Blogosphere

I’ve started reading blogs that I became excited about. They were producing great content and showing new ideas. But after six months, the posting rate went from a few new articles per week, to less than one per month.

If you count email subscribers and regular visitors who don’t use RSS, this website has about 10,000 readers. I think the biggest reason for this is that I’ve been posting consistently for over three years. Many other blogs with fantastic writers have eclipsed this one, but I think the website has sustained a moderate size because I show up to write nearly every day.

I may not be the best writer in the world, but I show up. I’ve seen many blogs which have, in my opinion, better writing than my website, but the author stopped showing up after a few months.

Why Burnout Champions Fail Their Classes

In university I see many students who coast through their classes, and tackle epic studying sessions a week before the exam. They might invest 12-hour days studying right before a final. While I haven’t conducted a study to compare their results, anecdotally I’ve seen many of them are disappointed by their grades.

Compare that to the people that study consistently for a few hours each day and avoid the cram sessions. Not glamorous or intense, but they show up, every day. These are also the people with enviable GPAs.

The One Decision Life Boils Down To

I’ve found that a good portion of life boils down to one decision: to show up or do nothing. You can’t do everything, but you can pick a few things you give a damn about and show up for them every day.

  • Paul Maurice Martin

    Or, as in meditation: Just sit.

  • Positively Present

    Great post! There’s that old Woody Allen quote about how 80% of it is just showing up (or something like that) and it’s so true. One thing I hate is when I find a blog that has a great concept and has great content but the last post was in 2007. It frustrates me to no end. Clearly showing up has paid off for you on this blog and that’s awesome!

  • dream

    Congrats on another good post. Now check your OWN archives. You started at between 16 and 22 posts a month for the first 2 years. The average this year has been 12. Ask yourself this, “Am I still giving the readers I’ve had for most of my blogging life the same attention as when I started?”. You ARE a smart young man and I applaud your work. I even follow on a RSS feed. So expect me to call you out whenever I see anything that resembles, “Do as I say, not as I do”. LOL Otherwise, keep up the good work!!

  • Stefan |

    Continue with your development, don’t go fast, go steady.
    This is really hard because we always want to rush, make money quick and make A LOT of money. Exactly how we got in this economic situation.

    I know this, and still, I’m a ‘goldchaser’ also. I want to be quic, fast fast, rush rush, while I know it doesn’t work.. But it’s good I know this on the age of 18, so I can work on it the rest of my life!

    Great Post Scott!

  • Michael

    I really like this post. I’ve noticed in my own life (and that of many others) that it’s very easy to lose weeks and months at a time just because I don’t have any real goal in mind each day. I find that when I wake up and have a clear idea what I need to do everyday, my life is significantly better and more fulfilling.

  • Scott Young


    The decision to switch to a reduced posting rate was prompted by readers. I polled readers last June (when I was maintaining a consistent 4-post per week rate) if they would rather have more or less posts. The majority responded that considering my lengthy writing style, they would prefer fewer articles. So I switched to 2 posts per week, which I have maintained without exception since I started that policy.

    Show up every day doesn’t mean do the same thing every day.


  • Celes |

    Scott, this is a very powerful post. I started my personal development blog 6 months ago – in this period, I have already been witnessing other personal development blogs which started to slide off the radar as the owner loses focus on it. Even for myself – there was a stage here and there where I got into a slump, and this made it hard to write new things. But it’s important that we always show up, bearing in mind our vision for what we do, else the readers will become jaded over time. I’m now sticking to a comfortable pace of 1 post every 2-3 days – it’s challenging since I write pretty lengthy posts as you do and I have coaching work outside of my blog, but it’s good to push myself to do more than what seems comfortable.

  • Sina

    Great post – it s the first time i come on your blog, i find it very interesting. I hope you continue for a long time. Don t stop!

  • Hung-Su Nguyen

    The Tortoise indeed beats the Hare.

  • Richard Shelmerdine

    You definitely have to show up to cement a habit. Habits are gret for the physical world but you don’t want to be encumbered by them. You want to be able to choose your reaction all the time consciously. I wrote a post on it recently actually if you want to check it out.

  • Andrew

    This post Scott, I would argue, is one of your finest. It offers great insight about human behavior and explained to me why it is that some succeed with perseverance. Bravo!
    P.S. Comment va le français?

  • Jasileet

    Oops! Total burn-out champion. This is very good advice. Sometimes the most essential is the most obvious- and also not the easiest to heed.

  • Dania Mania

    I believe this is called tenacity.

  • Carlos Alvarez

    I completely agree! You are starting to be an inspiration to me, Scott! All the best!

  • Diogo

    I really enjoyed your post!

    It is impressive how we people, end finding some ways to delay things that we think are important, by doing other stupid easy things that are even not related!

    I love the example with the shoes and I will keep it on mind for my own things

    Best wishes from Portugal 😉

  • Sweeney

    For some reason reading this blog post caused an epiphany about your subheadings.

    I love how it breaks up the longer blog post.. as well as keeping focus.

    It’s something I’ll probably emulate in the future.

  • Annabel

    Just discovered your blog and am so inspired by your writing. Show Up Every Day is something that I’m going to take back into my world, so THANK YOU, the importance of perserverance, something I need to get more of in my life…
    Also battling with an addiction to TV, in particular the lure of ridiculous celebrity “real life” documentaries WHAT IS THAT ABOUT? I’M A GROWN UP!! Anyway, have been trying to give up TV, but I fear I’ve replaced it with Blog addiction instead hahaha! Anyway, keep writing and I’ll keep reading 🙂

  • Jack

    Your blog has helped me so much in getting my motivation back. I would totally donate to you if you had a paypal-donate thingy like Wikipedia!