I’ll be honest: I’m really not sure what to write about today. But here I am, stringing words together to form coherent sentences. That’s the whole point, though, right? To regiment myself. To force myself to write every day, to build the habit of generating text, prose, something (hopefully) worth reading.
Leo Babauta of Zen Habits has been writing a lot recently about developing a habit. He places a major emphasis on “tiny habits” as a method to build a steadier, more substantial habit. Run five minutes a day, eat one vegetable a day, put away one dish a day, and soon you’ll be running a marathon and enjoying a daily salad in your immaculate kitchen. It’s a gradual process in his eyes. Trying to bite off too much at once will result in failure.
I agree with this to a point, but I also know myself and know that I do better with brute force challenges. In late August of 2012, I realized my running was not up to snuff and decided to set myself a challenge: run 100 miles over the month of September. This would require me to run an average of three miles per day, every day, in order to meet my goal. I’ve written before that I embraced the challenge head-on and broke 100 with a week to go. Save for a surgery-induced hiatus, I’ve been a strong, regular runner ever since and am gearing up for my first marathon in April.
Had I decided on a Babauta-style challenge, I doubt I would’ve stuck with it. “Why,” I would’ve said, “would I go to the trouble of changing into workout clothes and stuffing my crazy hair into a ponytail and lacing up my running shoes for the sake of running for three minutes? Why bother?” I would’ve found no answer, and I would not have bothered. My running would’ve remained stagnant.
Instead, I decided to go big or go home. And that worked for me.
I do believe Babauta’s theory is absolutely sound, but I recognize that it does not universally apply to all people, all challenges, all habits. My running and, apparently, my blogging require a leap off a higher diving board.
One thing I will strongly and universally support, however, is Babauta’s claim: “The only thing you need to do is start.” I procrastinated this blog post until now because I didn’t know what to write about and thus didn’t know how to start. And now here I am, nearly done writing, having honed my craft and created a half-decent blog post in one fell swoop. Because I took the plunge. Because I just sat down and started.
I think that last paragraph deserves its own post in the future. But for now, I’ll sign off with a silent fist pump: my first day of forced blogging has been a success.