letter #002 | dear younger me: keep showing up. keep putting in your reps.

keep showing up. keep putting in your reps.

Letter #002

January 16, 2023 | 6:57am

build systems that prioritize putting in your reps

I learned this week that if I don’t carve out time for what’s important to me, it probably won't happen often, let alone on a regular basis.

I learned that an important factor of growth is to just keep putting in your reps. And those reps don’t have to be Herculean efforts each time.

It's okay to still feel like a beginner. Direction is more important than speed. And systems help you direct and carry out your reps.

A few examples of systems I use to help facilitate my reps include:

The ideal: Orient myself toward becoming a more grateful person and focusing on my blessings.

The system: On the days I go to the gym, I write 5 things I'm grateful for in my phone's Notes app while doing my cardio or cooldown.

Why it works for me: I don't feel tasked with writing in a gratitude journal each night. Just when I go to the gym. And I'm usually so proud of myself for just showing up there, I'm already in a better mood to record what's good.

I noticed a positive return on this within a few short weeks.

The ideal: Hydrate my body in the way it deserves but also in a way I can sustain.

The system: Keeping a full 64oz water bottle with me throughout the day and limiting myself to one sugary drink per day.

Why it works for me: It abandons the all-or-nothing mentality that has time-and-again proven to not work for me. I get to look forward to my one daily juice/soda each day and fill my body with water throughout the rest of it.

The ideal: Continuously nurture friendships and family ties.

The system: When I think of someone, I usually try to message or call them right then to let them know.

*A bonus developing system*: Because reaching out in the moment is not always an option, a system I'm developing is a weekly habit of reaching out to one person I care about but haven't spoken to in a while.

I prefer to do this by phone, FaceTime, or even letter format because that intentional human touch of voice/handwriting, is incredibly meaningful to me.

Why it works for me: It pushes me to be intentional with my relationships and take proactive steps each week toward keeping them healthy. It also fosters a community of support for both parties.

And as mental health youth advocate and fellow loss survivor Leslie Weirich often says, “Connection is protection.”

Making sure these letters get out to you each Sunday is probably the single greatest consistency-based commitment I’ve ever made, but it’s also one that is deeply meaningful and important to me.

Though the Sunday part is still in development, I know we'll get there soon enough.

But I've learned this week that to create my best writing for you, I need to develop a system that involves writing at regular intervals throughout the week.

Each letter is not just going to come together well every Sunday because I want it to; it will come together because I take time to put it together.

But, this is something I really want, so I’m willing to do what it takes to get there.

I think a lot of life is like that.

the inevitable company of struggle

In a book my best friend once gave me, the author expressed that when you create your goals, you should also take a moment to consider the struggle that will accompany you on your journey toward achieving them.

It’s important to honestly ask yourself whether you are willing to endure the inevitable company of struggle on the path toward pursuing your goals.

It’s difficult to anticipate every obstacle that will line your path along the way (and if it were easy, would life still be as interesting?).

The obstacles will be there. The struggles will arise.

But remember, that “if there is no struggle, there is no progress.”

Keep showing up. Keep putting in your reps.

Refuse to let the voices of self-doubt, shame, perfection, procrastination, etc., freeze you into a state of inaction or regression.

If you fall off, get back on track.

No matter how long it takes.

No matter how many times it takes.

the rush is imagined

Free yourself from the artificial timelines you see saying you’re “supposed to be” married by X age, weigh X pounds/kilograms by X date, have X number of friends, X amount of money, X type of job, career, et al.

The rush is imagined.

In my experience, those pressured expectations are either set by others or meant to please them anyway.

If no one else here shares your same collection of experiences, perspectives, and heart, why should their timeline?

Understand that your timeline doesn’t have to be perfect to be good. And neither do you.

Take time to celebrate the small milestones of progress you overturn along the way to your ideal.

And finally, understand you’re not playing for a short-term outcome. You’re playing for life.

Keep showing up. Keep putting in your reps. And try not to get discouraged by the inevitable plan alteration and “this is much harder than what I set out for” thoughts along the way.

If you fall off, get back on track.

No matter how long it takes.

No matter how many times it takes.

And if you don’t give up, you can’t mess this up.

I’d love to hear from you.

Have any thoughts about this letter? Did anything resonate with you? Got an idea for something you’d like to see in a future letter?

Just reply to this email to let me know. I’m happy to hear from you and respond to every message.

I hope you have a lovely week, Reader and I'll see you Sunday.

With much love and appreciation to you,

Welcome to the Dear Younger Me newsletter! I'm so glad you're here.

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