In November, I attempted and completed my very first NaNoWriMo challenge. While I worked on my 50,000-word novel behind the scenes, I publicly journaled my way through the first-time experience. I genuinely expected to fall short of the 50k words in 30 days objective and wanted a full documentation of my ups and downs so I could learn from them and do better the next time around. What ended up happening was that I had all this excitement about participating in a challenge that I really rose to the occasion. I finished in 21 days!
About a year-and-a-half ago, I made all sorts of excuses not to start things. No time, parenting this or that, financial this or that. On that front, I’ve made a great deal of progress. #tinychallenges have helped me move through those excuses and conquer nearly all the things I felt stopped me from writing more, trying YouTube, experimenting and playing. After thirteen months of back-to-back monthly challenges designed to help me push my own boundaries, I’ve accomplished a lot of neat stuff! These #tinychallenges have also led me down a path toward uncovering the next thing I need to work on in order to get out of my own way: FINISHING. I’m such a pain in my own arse, sometimes.
I’ve figured out I do this thing… if I don’t have something to hold me accountable with personal projects once they reach a near-completion point, I lose my focus and spread my attention all over the place, start new ideas and these open projects sit at about 75% complete. Sometimes I come back to them, sometimes I don’t ever touch them again. Today, for example, instead of working on my personal project for an hour as I’d planned, I decided to do my 2015 taxes. It was a very productive day, but I put off my 75% complete side project that I would really like to see through to the end. I think if there’s a positive to this strange pattern of reaching 75% then getting sidetracked, it’s that I can see it now. And with a little bit of accountability, I tend to rise to the occasion. I’m ready to push through this.
On episode one of tinychallenges - the show, Daniel and I talk with Chris Brogan about his "My 3 Words" list, and pose to our listeners the challenge of using January to finding your own 3 Words. Chris Brogan has done his 3 words list for eleven years now, and this practice ties in so well with the #tinychallenges mission. I see the Chris Brogan 3 Words as the focus of the year, and #tinychallenges are incremental steps to support that focus.
I have decided that one of my words for 2016 is: FINISH.
The #tinychallenges I choose will align to support the finishing of some exciting ideas, explorations and side-projects that started in 2015. While most of these projects need to happen behind the scenes, I will be daily-journaling my status, struggles and triumphs as I work through the personal struggle of finishing things. I’m excited to dig in. I know I may hit a lot of bumps in the road, but I will document it all along the way in hopes I can see rhythms and patterns in where I fall short, I can correct those things and get stronger bit-by-bit.
I hope you’ll join me for the journey!