You no doubt took a few moments as the clock counted down the end of another year to consider what you wanted out of 2017. Maybe you want to lose a few pounds, make a few extra dollars, or learn a new skill. That’s as far as things go for most people. They spend year after year holding on to vague hopes about the things they’d like to change. But you’re not the average bird. You didn’t stop with pleasant sentiments, you created goals, resolving to make this year different.
You got off to a roaring start hitting every target you set. You were excited, energized and hopeful. Things were looking up. You were rockin’ along, the wind in your hair, nothing gonna get in your way. This was going to be your year.
The calendar turned to February or if you were extra diligent, March. Life happened. The shine wore off, excitement faded and stuff got in the way. By now your dreams and hopes for making 2017 different, are all but dashed.
Instead of getting down, throwing a pity party, and giving up, let’s get back in the game. It doesn’t matter how poorly things have gone these first several months. You still have time to reach your goals. Remember Petey from Remember the Titans—the running back with the propensity to fumble the ball? He worked hard, carried a football from class to class and did his best every day, but still dropped the ball in the big moment. What happened to him? Coach Yoast saw something special in him, and did all he could to bring it out.
I see something special in you. You’re not meant to sit around wishing you could do this, or wanting to do that. No, you’re meant to get off the couch and out into the real world and make things happen. “Team work,” they say, “makes the dream work.” And I’m on your team. I want great and glorious things for you this year. That’s why I’m going to let you in on a secret—I struggle with the same things you do.
I fail to reach goals with astonishing regularity. I focus on where the magic happens however, instead of worrying about all the things I desire to happen. Where does the magic happen? It happens in the small everyday routines and habits of your day. Up to 40% of what you do every day isn’t based on any decision you’ve made, it’s purely a result of habits you’ve formed.
I’m working to rig the game, instead of worrying about missing targets. The best route I’ve found to reaching new goals is to decide what daily habits I need to develop to make it happen. I love to write for example. It gives me life, energy and feeds my soul. So what do I do with an already packed schedule? I get up at 5am every day and sit down in front of my computer to face another blank page. The habit I needed to focus on wasn’t directly related to the practice of writing. It was getting up earlier so I had time to write. That was the right habit for me to focus on.
Habits don’t form themselves. They take a lot of hard work and intentionality. Depending on the complexity of the habit, it can take anywhere from 30 or more days to develop a new one. There are thirty days in a month so 30 days is an easy number to latch hold of. Grab it with all you’ve got and wring from it fresh and invigorating habits that carry you down the path to accomplishing new things.
Below you’ll find a 30 day challenge sheet to help you create new habits. I found it tucked neatly inside The Steal Like An Artist Journal, and it’s been such a helpful way for me to focus on developing better habits. Austin did us all a favor by creating it but one 30 day challenge isn’t enough, I need a new one every month. After several moments online I couldn’t find a printable copy anywhere, so I created my own.
Download it. Print it. Share it. But most of all, use it to make 2017 an awesome year.