Four issues ago, I invited all of you to join me in committing to a new practice as part of #the100dayproject. I had decided to track 10 habits, which is frankly way too many. But, there were only a few that I cared about. And those are going very well.
One important challenge for me was daily writing. I set a benchmark to write 750 words each day. I committed to this habit because of this newsletter, because of my book writing project, and because there’s no real way around it: writing is the way forward for me for much of what I want to do as a speaker and coach. So, I needed to get the writing muscle in shape, anyway that I could.
Today, we’re one quarter of the way there. I’m happy to report that my daily writing challenge, along with posting a drawing to my other IG account and taking a daily vitamin, are the three I’ve stuck to everyday — a 100% success rate. Others, like drinking 64oz of water or playing music on guitar/piano have been less common. Why is that? Why do some hold while others don’t?
I have a few theories:
I tracked them on the HabitShare app. I’m not “measuring” them, just giving myself the visual cue that they’ve been done.
I’ve attached meaning to each and the ones that are most meaningful are the ones I’ve prioritized. Vitamin D is for my health because I’m stuck inside most of these cold days. Drawing is for my daughter. Writing is for my business. The third one wasn’t good enough. So, I adjusted.
After trying to write 750 words that I could potentially use for this newsletter, I was ready to give up after 3 days. So, what could I do? I decided to invent two characters, give them a situation (ie. why they know each other) and, every night, write about what I thought would happen to them. No research, no trying to say something important, no worrying if another speaker/coach had said something similar. Just helping these two do or say something unexpected in every seen.
“Is this worth your time?” you might ask. “Shouldn’t you be writing articles or a keynote?” Good questions. In this case, I made a conscious, temporary choice to choose the act over the use.
The result is, I’ve written 30,000 words in over 3 weeks, which is almost equal to what it took me four months to produce for my book. More importantly, I’m doing this to establish the expectation that I write everyday. Eventually, I’ll get tired of the story and move on to something else. The writing muscle should be in good shape by then, which is more essential to me at this point. Conditioning over production.
Some days, I’ve written as many as 2000 words. Not because I’ll be able to use them; I just wanted to see what would happen to them. Ideally, we write to discover as much as we do to impress. I think this is an approach I can take back to my business writing, eventually.
If you’re struggling to maintain a habit or practice or challenge that you want to stay committed to, try finding the true meaning of why you would wake up early, set aside daytime, or stay up late to make sure you get it done. Not why you should do it, but what it means to you each time you do it.
Founder, The Idea Enthusiast. Speaker, Trainer, Facilitator, and writer about all things creative consulting. DC-based consultant to individuals who want to be more creative, teams who want to collaborate without fear, and anyone who wants to deliver the best pitches and presentations.