Twelve monthly challenges, one for each month in 2021.
As an interesting exercise, I've tried a few weekly challenges in 2020. I liked the concept and the results. To make it even more interesting and useful, I've decided to go all in and do 12 monthly challenges in 2021.
Weekly challenges were nice, but in almost all cases, it wasn't enough time to see the real results or to assess if it's feasible to stick with the habit for longer. Even if you hate something, it's possible to suffer seven times and be done with it. With a full month, it's unlikely for me to do something 30 times if I realize along the way that I hate it and that it does me no good.
The goals are not really related. I've chosen things that I wanted to improve, or things that I wanted to get rid of, or something that I wanted to start doing. Some are related, but mostly I judged them on their potential usefulness to me.
The goals fall into two broad categories: goals of addition (do more of) and goals of subtraction (do less of).
I think it's a nice balance. Twice as many goals where I want to add something vs. the goals where I want to reduce or completely remove something.
I've chosen 12 goals that make the most sense for me from today's point of view. It's very likely that I will be updating, changing, adding or removing them as I go, based on the situation, the learnings from the challenges or if something more important emerges. For now, here's how I see the challenges ahead for me:
All the goals are binary and easy to measure. I either achieve a goal in a given day, or I don't. If I drink coffee in a "No coffee" month or if I go to bed at 2:03 AM on an "In bed by 2 AM" month, that's a fail.
My goal is obviously to have 365 successful days, but I know it's not feasible. I also don't want to give myself any outs by saying something like "anything above 300 is fine" because it would give me too many temptations to just skip a day when I don't feel like doing the hard thing.
At the end of each month, I'll have a clear number: how many days I have done what I planned to do. At the end of the year, I'll sum up all the months and see how good I am at beating the challenges on a daily basis. The goal is to become good at marathons, not sprints.
Each month, I'll publish a new post summarizing the results of the month's challenge, where I'll write how many times I've been able to achieve the desired results, how hard (or easy) it was, what were the learnings and how I plan to incorporate the learnings into my life going forward, with options being to drop the habit, keep doing it on a daily basis or any combination in between.
The challenge for January is to set 3 priorities for the day, the day before or in the morning, and then complete these priorities no matter what. When I finish writing this article, I'll be able to cross off one of these priorities.
I'll have the full January update at the beginning of February.
And may the Challenges be ever in my favor!
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