One of the reasons why I started writing a newsletter was to help me create public accountability around my personal growth journey. I wanted to make sure that I not just read about productivity, life crafting or personal knowledge management, but actually take these lessons and implement them.
In other words, I wanted to turn insight into action.
And it worked, at least kind of. I moved from passively consuming tons of non-fiction to actually doing something with all that information. Yet, even though I love writing about all of these topics, I still feel a slight disconnect from time to time.
That’s because of three reasons:
- Habits are metastable. Even if you managed to turn a behaviour into an unconscious pattern, changes to your lifestyle can still easily interrupt it.
- Knowing that you should do something and actually doing it are two different things.
- It’s a 1,000,000% easier to give advice than to do these things yourself.
Don’t get me wrong. I managed to stick to a lot of good habits in 2021:
- I meditated somewhat regularly.
- I exercised and stretched a lot more (to make sure my wrists stay healthy)
- I prioritised doing important work (like writing this blog) over urgent-but-not-impactful things
- I got 8 hours of sleep most of the time (so that I actually remember the things I read)
But while doing my Personal Annual Review, I also found a lot of other things I’d like to do:
- I want to be more grateful and pause more often to enjoy the moment
- I want to learn Hindi
- I want to get better at managing my attention
- I want to get better at using my task management system
- ... and many more
So how do you implement more habits? In particular with little available time and everchanging schedules?
With a Habit Challenge for 2022!
12 Months and 12 Habits for 2022
In 2022, I’ll pick one habit per month to implement and test whether I can make it work and how it affects my day-to-day life.
The goal isn’t so much to be doing all 12 things by the end of 2022 - rather to have a better understanding of what each habit would actually mean to me, so that I can then make an informed decision on which to keep.
Why not aim to keep all 12 new habits?
- Time is limited. Even if we manage to reduce the cognitive cost of a behaviour (in other words, turning it into a habit), we still need the time to do it. There are only so many habits that fit into one day.
- Things will fall apart at some point. It’s nearly impossible to stick to all habits, all the time. If I identify my key habits, I know which ones I need to re-implement first and which ones to let go for the moment.
- Productivity (and personal growth) advice is not one-size-fits-all. Just because writing to-do lists in the evening is helpful for some people, doesn’t mean it’s right for me. But I still need to try the habit to see what it does for me.
And to keep in line with the og reason for this blog, I’ll be doing this challenge publicly. Sharing what I learn along the way, where I succeed and where I fall short. Plus, if you think this sounds like a fun thing to do, you can join in and we’ll tackle 2022 together.
How does the Habit Challenge 2022 work?
Starting with a crowdsourced list of habits, each month will get it’s own theme. The first one will be Gratitude, so it will be all about exercises that help us strenghten our Gratitude muscle to appreciate the small (and big) things that happen to us.
At the beginning of a new month, I’ll share a simple Notion template with anyone participating in the challenge. The template will have three sections:
- A pre-challenge check-in to judge the status quo
- Ongoing tracking throughout the challenge
- A short review at the end to assess the results
Here’s what that means:
Start things off with a Check-In
To set the ground for the following month, we’ll quickly go through an exercise to increase our chances of success. Drawing from the Action Incubator System that you can also find in my Personal Annual Review or my Book Notes in Notion Template, we look for ways to stack the deck in our favour.
How can we make sure that the following month is a success?
Make progress with Daily Tracking
During the challenge, we’ll use a lightweight daily tracking to make sure we get a clear picture of how things are going. A lot can happen in a month and if we don’t record how we feel in the beginning, we might not be able to recall it anymore at the end.
Plus, ticking off checkboxes is just kind of fun.
Review your Habit of the month
Did it even happen if you didn’t review it?
Jokes aside, doing a review at the end of each month will help us to judge the success of the challenge (did I actually stick to the habit?) and will offer us valuable insights (do I want this continously in my life? How important is it to me?).
This will be the key step to take our insights and turn them into lasting actions.
How can I join the Habit Challenge 2022?
If you’d also like to work on your habits in 2022 and systematically approach the whole “personal growth” thing, then hop on and join me for this journey.
Simply drop your email below and I’ll send you regular updates plus the monthly workbooks.
Whether you just want to see what I’ll be learning throughout the year or whether you want to participate yourself: can’t wait to see you in 2022!