Forming a habit is a hard thing. People talk a lot about breaking bad habits, but I think that forming new ones is just about as hard. I want to be a better writer. I know that the only way to become that is to practice. These words are part of this practice, and my goal this year has been to create a habit of writing daily. Despite a solid 6 weeks and 56 posts of doing this, life and priorities always seem to get in the way. But in the end it’s about sitting in the chair and getting it done.
In many ways, much like my thoughts around governance, the problem is accountability. I’ve set a goal, but I have no penalty for not following through. Nothing to push the writing to the top of the pile. I think that this is an issue with most people attempting to accomplish something. Employment has a pay check as both carrot and whip. Races have a finish line and the humiliation of a DNF. Many tasks have deadlines that push you to finish a task. But the common thread among all those incentives is that someone else is applying the pressure.
While I know that there are a number of tricks and sites out there that will help you commit…some where you have to spend money when you fail, some where you are publicly ridiculed, some where they try to using game theory to get you to compete with others. None of those have worked for me, mostly because I feel like writing just because I don’t want to spend money takes away from the authenticity of the writing. And maybe that’s the issue…being prepared to write regardless of the quality for the sake of the habit. I don’t know.
But I think in the end, since my goal is to improve through daily practice, the only thing that matters is that I commit. And that I have some accountability, so today I report back to you, whomever you are, that I sat in the chair for 1/2 an hour. I wrote about habits. And it was a good day because I wrote, even if the topic was self-indulgent. Thanks for listening.