“Jeff, what does Day 2 look like?”“Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.” - Excerpt from Jeff Bezos 1997 letter to shareholders.
More than 20 years ago, Jeff Bezos christened his first building "Day 1" to demonstrate a commitment to keeping the start-up mentality alive. To him, "Day 1" stood for everything great about fast-growing companies.
You can read the entire letter here, but he lays out four core principles.
- True Customer Obsession
- Resist Proxies
- Embrace External Trends
- High-Velocity Decision Making.
I'm writing this letter to inspire my team at Clearview Social in 2019. New Year's resolutions are Day 1, Week 1, Month 1 philosophies that rarely make it into our regular routine. In fact, they rarely survive through "Day 2." So how can you break out of a static state in 2019?
I've observed four common elements present in every successful change: specificity, accountability, routine, and reward. I'd like to share with you what my Day 1 looks like and hopefully provide some guidance for yours.
Think of Day 1 as the "perfect day." For me, the perfect day will incorporate four things for me personally:
- Writing - I can't have a perfect day without blogging, shooting video, journaling or creating some type of content. The only way this will work for me is if I make it a priority and schedule it each business day.
- Exercise - This one doesn't come naturally to me, so I need to find creative ways to motivate myself to get in shape. I'm signing up for a Spartan Race in Hawaii this August with my Entrepreneur Organization (EO) Forum. I'm committed to at least 30-60 minutes of exercise 5 days a week in 2019.
- Early Start - The key to me reaching my goals in 2019 is having enough sleep. Staying up late kills the Day 1 mentality. I'm committed to waking up before 6:30 each morning and getting to sleep before 11pm. When I'm traveling I'm committed to getting at the least the same 7.5 hours of sleep whenever possible.
- Family First - I want to block-off at least an hour each day to give undivided-electronics-free attention to my kids and at least this much to my wife as well. When I return from work I want to disconnect completely to be present for the people that matter the most in the world to me. This is a 7-day-a-week commitment. I've also committed to decreasing my work travel by 50% in 2019.
How am I going to live up to my Day 1 commitments?
- I've tried to be as specific as possible, so I know if I'm living up to my commitments or not.
- I've shared (maybe over-shared?) them with the world, so I'm accountable to my family, my team and all of you to live up to them.
- This one is tricky: routine. To form a habit loop, you need to have regular reminders of your commitments. I know there are lots of ways to do this, but one simple way is to turn to your phone and say, "Hey Siri, remind me every Saturday morning at 9am to check up on my 4 goals for 2019". Now you have a scheduled reminder set for the entire year.
- The final task is clearly establishing rewards for each new routine you successfully establish. For my goal of writing, the reward is that I will have written another book in 2019, for exercise, the reward is to travel to Hawaii and have a great experience running the Spartan Race with my friends. The reward for early start is having more energy and time to get the things done that matter to me. The reward for family first is obvious, a happier family and a stronger marriage.
2019 can be your year. This can be the year you write your first book, the year you climb that mountain, the year you crush your financial goal, the year you get engaged/married, the year you start a family, or the year you finally leave behind the excuses keeping you from becoming the person you've always dreamed of. It all starts with Day 1.
If you need an accountability partner to share your Day 1 goals for 2019 feel free to email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or share them in the comments below.
Adrian Dayton is the Founder of Clearview Social, an internationally recognized speaker on social media for business development and author of multiple books and white papers including most recently the strategy guide, “10X Your Website Traffic.”