Note to Self: No Zero Days

A promise to being a better human.

We’ve all been through tough times in life. Times when you feel like the whole world’s running against you and you can’t seem to catch up no matter what you do. Times when you know you’re procrastinating but continue to do so anyway. Times when every decision you make turns out to be wrong and ends up biting you in the ass. It’s a complete mess and a slippery fucking slope into a black hole of self-doubt and stagnation.

I’ve been through it, and I’m sure you’ve been through it too. While it’s perfectly human to feel like that, wallowing in this cycle of self pity really sucks and can mess you up big time.

If there’s one rule you live by this year, make it the no zero day rule. Let 2019 be a year of no zero days. Repeat after me, 2019 is a year of no zero days because that shit is toxic.

What’s a zero day?

A zero day is when you don’t do a single fucking thing towards whatever dream or goal or want or whatever that you got going on.


It’s really up to you to pick yourself up and make it be the un-norm (what?). You see, what’s more important is the ‘what comes after’ you feel like shit.

Do yourself a favour, stop everything you’re doing and start setting yourself some goals for the year. Well, not literally, it’s fine to give yourself a couple of days or a week.

Having these goals matter because the next time you’re cutting it close to having a zero day, you can pick yourself a goal and do something that takes you closer towards that target. It’s late at night and you’re on Netflix, turn that shit off and read two pages of that book you’ve been meaning to finish. Write a sentence. Do a pushup. You get the picture, do whatever it takes to make a zero day become a non-zero day. Because the longer and more consistently you can string together a bunch of non-zero days, the faster you’ll get yourself out of the hole and closer towards your goal.

My goal for 2019 is to be a better human. To me, this means:
– Being a product leader by having a product voice and reading more consistently
– Being a better speaker and writer by publishing more and speaking at events that matter
– Being proud of what my body is capable of by consistently working on my physical fitness
– Loving better by spending more quality time with family and friends
– Revisit being a musician by picking up the guitar again

What is your goal for the year?

2018 has been a year of great, and not so great. Great because I landed a dream job and accomplished what I’d set out to do for the year careerwise. Not so great because I ended up neglecting my health and physical well-being as a result of getting injured several times throughout the year. I hope this note inspires you the same way I hope it will inspire me throughout the year.

To an amazing 2019. Godspeed.

This post is inspired by a post on reddit I chanced upon a few weeks ago, which was originally submitted by /u/ryans01, in response to /u/maxstolfe who was going through a tough time in life. It inspired me to the point of goosebumps. No matter what stage in life you’re in, I strongly recommend giving it a read.

My Year In Weight – Quantified & Visualized

Tuesday, 21 July 2015 — 70.02kg // 14.2% fat

That’s what I weighed a year ago when I took my first measurement on an electronic scale that captures my weight and provides a breakdown of my lean mass and fat percentage.

I’ve since tried to be as religious as possible with taking my measurements. One year on and I’ve added 313 measurements to the log.

To keep the measurements accurate, this is what my morning routine looks like:

  1. Get up
  2. Take dump and pee
  3. Quick shower
  4. Shave
  5. Step onto the weighing scale for the moment of truth

You know, I’ve got to get unnecessary solids and liquids out of my system before weighing myself.

I’ve really gotten into the hang of weighing myself every morning and find it quite a satisfying daily ritual. I love it because it provides me with a good gauge of how much more or less I’m supposed to be eating throughout the day.

Now that it’s been a year on, I thought it would be cool to quantify my weight and visualize how it has fluctuated over the last year or so.

Weight graph I pulled from Withing's Health Mate

Weight graph I pulled from the Withing’s Health Mate Web App

Fat Mass graph I pulled from Withing's Health Mate web app

Fat Mass graph I pulled from the Withing’s Health Mate Web App

There seemed to be a glitch with the web app as a few data points seemed to be missing from the graph.  This was most likely due to the UI not being able unable to accommodate the number of data points in such a small space.

I then exported the data and used Keynote to create two graphs that better visually represent my weight over the last year.

Daniel’s Weight

My Weight Graph

My Weight Graph

Highest Weight: 74.47kg (1 Jan 2016)
Lowest Weight: 65.07kg (1 Dec 2016)

Can’t believe I was almost 75kg at the start of the year and had 14.82kg of fat in my body.

Daniel’s Fat Percentage

My Fat Graph

My Fat Graph

Highest Fat Percentage: 16.8% (4 Jan 2016)
Lowest Fat Percentage: 11.4% (16 Oct 2016)

Kind of want my fat percentage to be around 10%. I’m currently hovering around 12%, got to do some work here.


It’s amazing how far technology has come. If you don’t already have access to an electronic scale that’s able to keep a log of your data, I strongly suggest you get one.

I was at the heaviest I’d ever been and felt horrible about it. Being able to keep a close tab on my weight & fat logs has really helped me to bring that weight down to a healthier level with the help of regular exercise.

My Aim for 2017

Time to get my weight up to 68-70kg, with a fat percentage of 10% by the middle of 2017.

Let’s go!

Pushing Through

Why we push through even though we hate it.

We hate to persevere, to push through and get our hands dirty because it’s infinitely more difficult than giving up.

Pushing through requires willpower and doesn’t reward us instantly.

Pushing through is our least favourite option because it takes us effort, and time, and blood, and sweat, and tears.

Worst of all, we never seem to know when the end is near.

On the other hand, giving up is easy because it requires zero effort.

Giving up is instant. It’s quick and easy.

The problem is, giving up ruins us.

We wouldn’t have lightbulbs today, if Edison gave up after his 200th experiment.

The same can be said for flight, the telephone, and many other things that exist in the world today.

So even though we hate it, we push through because it’s our way of telling life that we’re trying. It’s our way of giving life that one more shot before calling it quits. It’s our way of leaving an impact on the world.

Because after all, it doesn’t matter how slowly we go, as long as we don’t stop*.



Our favourite word in the whole world.

“I love the idea, and can totally imagine how it would improve the way we do things. But…”

“That’s fantastic. It sounds like something people would love. But…”

“I desperately need to go on a holiday. But…”

Sound familiar?

It’s because but is our favourite word in the whole world.

But makes us feel comfortable.

But makes us feel smart.

But helps us feel in control.

But is three letters, one syllable, and especially easy to say.

It’s also very likely the worst possible fucking word in the english language.


It’s because but is almost always followed by something negative. Be it feedback, an excuse, or a complaint.

What if we tried using “what if?”

What if is our door to the world of endless possibilities.

What if frames our brains to think positively and creatively.

What if makes us feel like superheroes.

What if is six letters, two syllables, and is worth every extra breath saying.

Now, let’s go back to the first three quotes.

“I love your idea, and can totally imagine how it would improve the way we do things. What if you could…”

“That’s fantastic. This sounds like something people would love. What if we could… ”

“I desperately need to go on a holiday. What if I could…”

The worst thing in the world, is to let our brains be governed by but.

What if we could make that change, today?

Impossible Decisions

It’s always tough making decisions.

We’re faced with so many of them to make in life. Some easier, some tougher, and others impossible.

Most of us don’t realise when we’re making easy decisions because they happen subconsciously, like the batting of an eyelid.

Tougher decisions tend to require more willpower. They sap our energy and make us tired. They ask more from our conscious minds, and more often than not, have us wasting time and energy that could be better spent elsewhere.

The worst decisions, however, are impossible decisions. We call them life-changing and they keep us up at night, causing what we like to call stress. They’re like mosquitos. Just bigger, and meaner. Fleeting around us mostly, and flying in with the occasional irritating bite.

Of course, the worst thing to do with these impossible decisions, is to leave them hanging there. Because they’ll never go away, just like how mosquitos that don’t get killed continue to fly, bite and irritate the heck out of us.

Naturally, the best thing to do then, is to face these impossible decisions. Spend time thinking about them. Spend time talking to others about them. Even if it’s just a little bit. Just like how killing mosquitos take practice.

Then slowly, we’ll see impossible decisions becoming more possible and tougher decisions becoming easier. Until one day, a bigger, meaner, and faster mosquito comes along. But by then, we’ll know that all we need is more practice.

And then the cycle starts again. The key is, to never let it stop.

Buying books

Too often do we buy books and leave them sitting on shelves collecting dust.

We do it because we’ve fooled ourselves into thinking that the act of buying is equal to the act of reading.

The truth is, books don’t read themselves.

The same can be said for many more things in life.

Exercising is another great example. We seek inspirational quotes, purchase fitness magazines, read fitness blogs in the hope of becoming fitter. But we fail to do the one thing that matters. That is, to exercise.

Fooling ourselves only gets us nowhere. Doing gets us to where we want to go.

The Best Writing Advice You Can Ever Receive

“This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.”

– Gary Provost

Chanced upon this beautifully written paragraph on Quora today. Amazing example on how the right sentence structures and lengths can have such a great impact on a reader’s experience.



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I’ve been doing quite a bit of my shopping online this month. The Timex Weekender finally came in the mail last week. I love how it looks and how it’s so light. Still got to get used to wearing a watch around though. I find wearing one a hassle sometimes. Hopefully this one will stick.

A Couple Of Lessons I’ve Learnt At Work Over The Past Few Weeks

The last two weeks have been really horrible. I’ve been working late nights, rushing deadlines, training for the upcoming performance at Commencement and most importantly, not getting enough rest. So my body finally gave way, and I’ve been sick since Saturday.

Firstly, I really would like to apologize for the severe lack of updates on the blog. I know I’ve promised to write posts on how I’ve managed to increase my focus and my own productivity through designing the environment around me. I’ll get back to writing those posts once I’ve cleared the backlog at work.

Secondly, I’d like to just take some time to share a couple of things I’ve learnt at work, over the past two weeks. You’ll probably find this useful.

Learn how to effectively manage your own production time

I never thought doing so was important until I was already 6 feet under, digging my own grave by promising deadlines that I couldn’t meet. A lot of the things I’m doing at work now is relatively, if not completely new to me. And because the tasks are new, I haven’t really been able to estimate a good production timeline, which is really crucial, because you always have to know when you’ll be able to deliver your finished work.

What happened was, when repeatedly asked when I could complete Task X or Y or Z by. I gave an answer like “Oh, I should be able to get it done in 2 days“. Instead of properly considering how much time I actually had on my hands to complete those tasks and give a realistic answer.

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