Why I Try To Do Some Things Every Day, Without Exception.

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I posted the quiz, Are you an abstainer or a moderator? As one reader pointed out in the comments, the abstainer/moderator split seems related to another tendency, at least in me—that I find it’s easier to do something every day than to do it some days. I post to my blog six days a week. I take reading notes every day. I write in my one-sentence journal every day. Many people have told me that they find it easier to exercise when they exercise every day.

If I try to do something four days a week, I spend a lot of time arguing with myself about whether today is the day, or tomorrow, or the next day; did the week start on Sunday or Monday; do I deserve a break, did yesterday “count,” etc.

True, if you do something every day, you tend to fall into a routine, and routine has a bad reputation. Novelty and challenge bring happiness, and that people who break their routines, try new things, and go new places are happier, but I think that routine activities also bring happiness. The pleasure of doing the same thing, in the same way, every day, shouldn’t be overlooked.

The things you do every day take on a certain beauty, and provide a kind of invisible architecture to daily life.

Funnily enough, two geniuses whom I associate with the idea of the unconventional wrote about the power of doing something every day.

Andy Warhol wrote,

“Either once only, or every day. If you do something once it’s exciting, and if you do it every day it’s exciting. But if you do it, say, twice or just almost every day, it’s not good any more.”

Gertrude Stein made a related point:

“Anything one does every day is important and imposing and anywhere one lives is interesting and beautiful.”

So if there’s something that you wish you did more regularly, try doing it every day; if you do something every day, revel in it.


From 2006 through 2014, as she wrote The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, Gretchen chronicled her thoughts, observations, and discoveries on The Happiness Project Blog.

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