This morning, while it was still pitch black outside, I sat by my desk in front of my laptop, opened my novel in Scrivener, and stared at the blank screen. My goal was to write at least 300 words toward the second draft of my novel. I sat there staring at this blank screen for close to forty minutes and nothing to show for it. I didn’t care if I wrote 1 word or 1,000. All I cared about was disciplining my mind and body to sit in front of my laptop, ready to write. Up to this point, I’ve written zero words. After today, I had 452.

After writing that first word, the rest came easily. All I needed to do was be serious about starting. We all have goals we want to accomplish, and many of us visualize us achieving those goals and the warm feelings that accompany them. For a long time that’s all I seemed to do. I visualized myself doing so many things, becoming someone completely different, someone funny and smart and handsome, and those images in my head felt good. The downside, though, was that these images weren’t real. I wasn’t that man doing those things I so desperately wanted to do, and when that realization hit — a realization that has hit me so many times before and since — my emotional high quickly sank, and I hated myself. I felt guilty when I would ignore my todo list, or when I would lie in bed watching something mindlessly on Netflix instead of working and bettering myself in some way. So today, I decided to do something about it.

This week has been long. I had my last drink a week ago today. I’ll be honest, I’ve craved a drink so much these past two days. Yesterday was rough. Today, not so much, yet I still craved one. I didn’t work out today because I want Sunday’s to be my day off from working out. I worked out for six days, so I think that’s enough physical activity in a given week. And I’ve kept my blog updated on a consistent basis. There are seven entries, one for each day my blog has been live on the Internet. My goal is to reach at least a full 365 days before I consider relaxing my self-imposed daily requirement. Do I think I’ll make it? I do, but I foresee many obstacles that could get in my way. In the end, though, my goals seem clear and my path is set on accomplishing them.

Except… I don’t envision an ending to my journey. When we’re on a mission toward self-improvement, our journey spans our life, and the only end is death.