Google engineer Matt Cutts recently gave a short but inspiring TED talk about how to set and achieve goals over a short period of time. He said he felt as if he were in a rut a few years ago, so he decided to challenge himself to try something new and exciting for just 30 days:
The idea is actually pretty simple. Think about something you've always wanted to add to your life and try it for the next 30 days. It turns out, 30 days is just about the right amount of time to add a new habit or subtract a habit -- like watching the news -- from your life.
Matt has since tried a wide variety of 30-day challenges, from writing a novel for National Novel Writing Month and taking a photo every day, to hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro and going skydiving. He blogs about each of his commitments, which serves as inspiration for all of the journalers out there who want to follow in his footsteps.
How to Journal to Reach Your Goals
You probably have hundreds of different items on your “bucket list” but they can be overwhelming if you don’t have a plan for tackling them one by one. The 30-day challenges are a great way of breaking your list down in a manageable, achievable way.
1. First, pick a goal, any goal. Have you been meaning to get your money matters in order? Do you want to start getting eight hours of sleep every night? Are you ready to learn a musical instrument or a foreign language? Pick a goal you are excited about, and commit to it for the next 30 days.
2. Create a plan for your 30-day challenge. In your journal, write down the concrete steps you are going to take each day or each week to get closer to your goal. For example, if your goal is trying vegetarianism for a month, you might write:
- Borrow vegetarian cookbooks from the library
- Subscribe to vegetarian recipe blogs and ask for dish suggestions from friends
- Go to the local farmer’s market once a week for fresh, seasonal produce
- Try at least two new vegetables or recipes each week to stay motivated
- Host a vegetarian dinner party
- Prepare lunch the night before to take to work to resist takeout temptation
3. In your plan, include your strategy for how to journal throughout the challenge. How can you use your journal to help you meet your goal? Do you want to write once a day or a few times a week? What questions should you ask yourself to stay on track? What metrics can you use to measure your success?
What goal would you like to take on as your first 30-day challenge? What are your tips for how to journal during the process?