Start Small, but Be Consistent

Now that I’m working to improve myself, I’m hearing from all kinds of sources that there is a method to achieving long-term goals. Start small, incredibly small, but be consistent.

For example, the idea goes, if your goal is to get into physical shape, going to the gym just five minutes a day can make a huge difference, not because you burn so many calories in those five minutes, but because of the invaluable habit it gradually starts to create.

And so, when my therapist suggested I start writing again every day, I immediately recognized that it was a good idea. In fact, it’s something I should have started a while ago. I’ve been doing it for three weeks now.

For the last three weeks, I’ve skipped writing only six times, so that’s a consistent five days a week. Not bad, I guess, but I’m going to try to get still more consistent.

It’s been easy because I’ve been giving myself permission to write just a little every day. Just five minutes is the rule, enough to produce one coherent paragraph, and then if I want to, I can either stop or keep going. And the writing doesn’t need to be good enough for publication, either in print or on the blog. That makes it easy.

There’s a problem, though. Now that I have a blog, I can already feel this changing. In addition to writing something, anything, every day, I now feel the need to come up with a blog post worth reading at least “often enough.” The problem is, my wife (a long-time blog reader) seems to think that the gold standard for “often enough” is once a day. And that pace could threaten to demolish the enjoyment I’ve gotten out of the comfortable pace of my daily writing.

One thing I’m not going to to is just let my “write whatever you want for five minutes or more every day” goal unintentionally morph into a goal of “always write a blog post every day” without my deciding that that is the best course of action. The former goal is therapeutic and meditative; the latter goal turns it into a challenge. And make no mistake, a challenge could be a good thing, especially if working on a blog were to be my main creative endeavor, but that is not what it’s supposed to be. It’s supposed to be a constant in my life that is easy to keep going while I work on my main creative endeavors. I want blogging to be easy, not a source of anxiety.

Something’s going to have to give. I need to scale down on the “blog post per day” idea, or widen the scope of the blog to make it easier for me to find things to share every day, or rethink my thoughts about “what is worth posting,” at least if those thoughts are wrong. Or . . . who knows. I’ll think about it.