Building Habits Gradually

A Waterfall

There is a saying, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Another saying is how do you eat a whole cow? One bite at a time.

They mean the same thing.

I have a bad habit when I start working on getting more productive of trying to do the whole thing at once, jumping in with both feet. Well, it’s a problem. When I do that I burn out quickly and the habit doesn’t stick. I make a thousand changes to my life and then drop them because they make me too tired, they require too much work.

With writing, I tried something different. I started writing a few words a day and built from there. Right now I’m writing around 2000 words of fiction, and it’s not a struggle. It’s not even slightly challenging. In fact, the 2000 words take me as long as it used to take me to write 1000. That’s not even all I write, I don’t count blog posts, work I do for HalifaxHRM magazine, or posts to Medium.

So, why could I do that when it was so much harder to do the same thing in other areas of my life? Well, that gradual buildup was the key. I developed the habit without becoming overwhelmed by it. Now I’m a pretty accomplished writer, at least in terms of volume, so it doesn’t take effort (although I will be missing a few days… at least in electronic format, who knows how much I will manage by pen and paper).

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