Who cares about arbitrary milestones?

A few weeks ago was the halfway point of the year. Fifty percent of the year gone, and 50 percent left to go. A nice moment to pause and reflect, as we often like to do, about how well we’ve been doing on our individual journeys.

The funny thing is, I didn’t even realize it at first. I just happened to see a headline from another productivity-related publication, in an article similar to the one you’re reading now. And, as is often the case, I instantly had the urge to write my own post here on the RescueTime blog, about all the benefits of taking stock of our lives, re-contextualizing our productivity strategies, and the importance of trying hard and being the very best like no one ever was—or whatever.


I quickly assembled my thoughts into a rough draft, some of which made it into this piece. But after a couple hours I went back to check a detail in the original article and I realized something: that headline was a week old. I had missed the halfway point. We were a week into the second half of the year already. And I had a weird first instinct: skip the subject altogether. Throw away what I had written. Or maybe save it for next year.

But why? It’s a week and day past the milestone—so what? Should I not make a change in my life because the year was now 51% over instead of exactly 50%?

Who cares what day it was when you changed your life? Who cares if it was for a good reason?


I used to be so obsessed with that feeling—nice rounded edges, the clean lines, the crisp dividing point between before and after, and the reason the change happened that day. I’ve always loved, like many of us, the concept of New Year’s Eve. But I have to think this instinct has objectively cost me opportunities to change myself when it wasn’t otherwise convenient or deeply meaningful.

I cringe at how I used to think.

“iT wAs mY biRtHdAy”
“it WaS 11:11 oN tHe CLocK”

I ask again: who cares?

You can make that change now.

Start now. Like right now.


One of the greatest set of changes I ever made in my life, was made on what I think (but can’t be sure) was a Tuesday in September, at some random time like 3:14 pm. I can’t really even remember why I decided to make a change that day. I was probably fed up with how things were going. Hung up over a girl. Took one last look in the mirror and decided enough was enough, or something like that.

But that “why” that I can barely remember is not what I’m going to put in my memoir. Whys can be fun, and they truly can be meaningful every once in a while. But it’s not what we remember. It’s not what is truly important at the end of the day.

What’s truly important is what happened next: the change itself.

Honestly, it would almost be a less inspiring, more boring story if I had waited all the way until January 1st, and then changed my life on January 1st. It wouldn’t have been entirely my idea. Do you really need a bunch of people around you all signing up for Planet Fitness memberships to inspire you to do some push-ups?

If it doesn’t feel perfect, it’s just right.


Many of the times I’ve tried to start something really ambitious and life-altering, I’ve still managed to derail myself right out of the starting gate. I would get excited for having finally broken through that wall of inaction. The start of something new is always very fun (if you ever start it).

Knowing me, it would probably be an ambitious mix of diet, exercise, and top-notch creative and professional output. And through sheer force of will I would probably be able to keep it up for a week or so.

Then I would get caught up in perfection. Operating on all those cylinders at once would feel really good. I wouldn’t want to make a single mistake. I wouldn’t want to sneeze if I could help it, let alone go a day where I didn’t optimize every moment.

But what do our monkey brains think? Mess something up one time, throw the baby out with the bath water. Miss one workout? Order a pizza. It would be a hilarious phenomenon if it wasn’t so pervasive and consistent across all of humanity. Instead it’s closer to deeply tragic.

If it’s not perfect yet, that’s not a bad thing. It means you’re making progress. It means there’s room for improvement. It means you’re past the starting gate, and no longer at a standstill. So many people wish to be in that position. If you’re lucky enough to pull it off yourself, don’t throw it away just because you’re only human.

Keep going (and going).


One of my current bad habits is resetting too often. You likely know of my love affair with fresh starts and clean slates. But if that’s all you’re doing, you’re never building on your foundation. You’re never making it to the next level. I can re-write the first page over and over again, so now the first page of my novel is absolutely pristine. Probably the greatest first page I could ever write. But it took five months, and I have 299 pages to go. That can’t be how it works. That doesn’t work. That doesn’t have to be the way you work. The things you create without agonizing over them indefinitely are still good. They’re probably a whole lot better than you imagine they are.

Start something, and don’t let imperfections or other people’s timelines make you quit. It can’t get much simpler than that.

Robin Copple

Robin Copple is a writer and editor from Los Angeles, California.


  1. Kia ora, Robin! Here in Aotearoa (New Zealand), we celebrated Matariki, or Māori New Year, on July 14. It is a national holiday for us. Here in the Southern Hemisphere, it makes more sense for us to have New Year in the middle of our Winter, than in the middle of our Summer. So in fact, you could look at it as writing only a few days past New Year, not a few days past the halfway point.
    Ka pai!


    1. What a lovely bit of fun knowledge you’ve given us today! I’m gonna take this as permission to start with some “New Year” energy, haha!

      Never met a Kiwi who wasn’t a sweetheart 🙂

  2. Apart from a few times as a child, for as long as I can remember I’ve always been against the idea of New Year’s Resolutions. If you’re not going to keep to it, why bother starting? If you are going to keep to it, why wait until 1st January? Make the change now!

    1. You’re too right! It’s kind of a silly concept if you really think about it! The best time to start was yesterday. The second best time to start is right now 🙂

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