Secret of Adulthood: What I Do Every Day Matters More Than What I Do Once in a While.

Further Secrets of Adulthood:

I have to remind myself of this, constantly. It’s related to the “argument of the growing heap” and the question, “Can one coin make a person rich?

Do you agree? Does what you do every day matter more than what you do once in a while?

  • Annon

    In most cases I think it does…I’m going through a marriage break-up and wondering what my role in the relationship going sour I had (he cheated on me and there is NO EXCUSE for that but I don’t fool myself that I was *perfect*). I realized that EVERY DAY I told him goodbye and told him I loved him and gave a hug…and EVERY NIGHT he came in the house talking on his cell phone, often for an hour after he got home…ONCE IN AWHILE he wasn’t on it and greeted me and we could talk a bit…this had been a huge bone of contention in our marriage and the EVERY NIGHT walking in on the phone very much surpassed the ONCE IN AWHILE that he wasn’t.

  • diana

    I love the Sunday Routines column so I was so happy to see it feature you & your family.

  • beinghappy_blog

    What you do every day defines who you are; what you do once in a while does not.

  • HEHink

    I also think that the doing something every day makes the things you do once in a while more special. For instance, I’m trying to replace my afternoon soda at work with green tea. If I have green tea every day, then treat myself to a fancy coffee each Wednesday, then what I do on Mon, Tue, Th., and Fri. makes my Wednesday treat more special.

  • I agree wholeheartedly with that statement, and it was one of the most important things that stayed with me from “The Happiness Project”. Walk every day, sew a little every day, keep in touch with people every day…..

  • Carrie Willard

    Finally I get to see what your family looks like! (Esp Jamie, who I feel like I know after reading your books). Your daughters are beautiful 😉

  • Oh yes… it’s the little things that matter.

  • peninith1

    I have paid attention to this since reading The Happiness Project. It surprises me to say that a number of tiny little routines that I now do every day, have made a positive difference. These include: taking the trouble to fold up my glasses properly and put them down in the same place each night; cleaning up the kitchen each night before I go to bed (getting up to a clean and tidy kitchen is a daily miracle); always opening and sorting the mail the instant I bring it into the house. Things like that seem so very trivial. Yet doing them each day long enough so that it becomes automatic creates so much more order in my life, so much more care for my things that are basic to my life (I can’t see worth a darn without those glasses!), eliminates so much chaos before it can even develop! I ‘come and go’ about exercising every day, which is obviously something that I should get that daily habit of doing. But on reflection, things I have automatically done every day for many years — reading and writing for example — have become inextricable from my life, and they’re parts of ‘me’ that my freinds tend to think of as ‘gifts’ because they are so practiced and natural for me. “You are what you eat. . . ” “You are what you think . . . ” even more, You are what you DO. I am coming to realize this can be a conscious choice. That’s very inspiring and hopeful.

    • customic

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts – I found your experience very inspiring as well!

  • Funny timing, I just wrote this down earlier today: When u learn to appreciate the little/everyday things you realize they are the big things

  • Barry Knister

    What I do every day works to anchor me. Novelty and excitement are fine,but not if you’re adrift. My daily routines, especially those related to my dog keep me sane.
    But what I do rarely also counts. Like offering my dog novel JUST BILL as a free download all day today, at Please take a look!

  • Elizabeth

    This truly is a secret of adulthood—not sure why it takes us so long to realize and inculcate it into our daily lives. Of course! Who wouldn’t want to have a small, daily hug as opposed to a once-a-year bear hug??

  • Marsc83

    I can’t think of a single thing I do everyday! Unless checking my emails counts. That’s not a good sign, is it?

    Maria xx

  • Meg @

    Ahh I love that NY times article! I am reading Happier at Home right now and so far my favorite line of the book is when you praise your husband for his unfailing willingness to stop for snacks. Haha LOVE! Don’t we all wish our loved ones would stop for snacks with us? That’s all we really want right? 😉

  • Karen A.

    I like routines but there’s something about the uncompromising nature of “every day” that is off-putting to me. If I think I have to do something “every day” it practically guarantees I won’t do it at all. But if I take it one day at a time, and decide I’ll do it today, I’ll do it *this time*, then more often than not I end up with a streak.

  • Catherineap

    My comment is not directly related to this post, though I suppose it is in the sense of being about an everyday practice. A good friend told me that when her mother died, she heard the same comment from many of her mother’s friends: “She was always quick with praise.” I realized that no-one would ever say that about me, and I resolved to be better about voicing my compliments to both friends and strangers. So in that spirit, let me say how much I appreciate both “Happier at Home” and “The Happiness Project,” for your honest, wry, intelligent voice, for the changes I’ve been inspired to make in my own life, and for pointing me in the direction of some really great reads. Thanks!

  • Amanda

    I enjoyed the NY Times column. Thanks for sharing!

  • and to paraphrase, what you don’t do everyday matters just as much what you do once in a while

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