I’m a big fan of personal growth and development. My thought on the matter is that each of us is only given a little time to live, so we might as well make the most of it. Improving yourself is always a good time investment.
A few years ago I started building positive habits. I read a few books, and learned that one of the most effective ways to cultivate yourself is by slowly building positive habits into your daily routine, one at a time. Shortly thereafter I discovered HabitForge, a web application that helps you build new habits by sending you daily email reminders and tracking your progress.
Let’s say you want to read for 30 minutes every day. According to the research HabitForge has done, if you force yourself to read 30 minutes a day for 21 days in a row, your 30 minutes of reading will have become a natural habit. Of course, your habit won’t come completely naturally (you will still have to put fourth conscious effort to do it each day), but it will be significantly easier for you to maintain day after day.
The catch is that if you break-the-chain, you have to start your 21 day habit building cycle fresh. This means that if you read for 20 days in a row, but on the 21st day forget–you’re our of luck. You’ll need to start again from day 1, and work through a full 21 day period before your habit will become second nature.
The great thing about the 21 day method is that it seems to work (at least it does for me). Last year I built several habits that I’ve kept since. My only regret is that I didn’t continue to add more habits after successfully establishing a few great ones.
Which brings me to the topic of this article…
I’ve always enjoyed writing. It appeals to my sentimental side. There’s something about writing that just feels great. The best way I can describe the way I feel when writing is:
Imagine Leonardo DaVinci in his workshop in Italy in the late 1400s. He’s been obsessively locked up in there for weeks on end building a new prototype. It’s late at night, and there are papers scattered across his desk. He’s sitting on a wooden stool, hunched over the desk working by candlelight, madly scribbling his discoveries using a feather pen into an extremely aged looking notebook.
That’s how writing makes me feel.
Unfortunately, while I have written quite a lot over the past few years–I’ve come nowhere close producing either the quality or quantity of writing that I’d like to.
A few days ago I started a new habit on HabitForge, my first one in a few months–dedicated to writing. I’m going to make “writing for 30 minutes” a daily part of my routine. It isn’t much, but I’m hoping that 30 minutes of intensely focused writing will help me grow as a writer.
If you’re one of the few people who do actually read what I write on here, you can expect to see more frequently articles in the coming days and weeks.
If you’re looking to build new positive habits into your life, why not make an account at HabitForge (it’s totally free) and get started?
UPDATE: I wrote some reflections on my writing habit progress so far, you can read them here.
UPDATE: My writing habit is built! I’ve written for 30 minutes for each of the 21 days without fail. I wrote another post which also includes some tips and thoughts, you can read it right here.