Many people will start their New Years Resolutions and quit before six months hit. Why? Because many people who can’t swim dive into the deep end when it comes to new goals. New goals are exciting and when your adrenaline is pumping you go hard in the beginning, but once that adrenaline cools down your goals become a struggle to maintain. That’s why you have to start off small and build momentum.
If you want to finish a book start by setting a time or page count a day. Choose to read for five to ten minutes a day, or read 5 pages front and back everyday. A really good book will have you lost in time and you won’t even notice that you’ve been reading for an hour long, but some books are a challenge to get through and for some people finishing a mediocre book feels better than just putting it down. Fire and Blood by George R. R. Martin is an intimidating 700 page book. Just looking at it makes me not want to pick it up because I always feel like I don’t have enough time to finish this and the fact that the book reads like a history book instead of a fantasy story doesn’t help. But if I must finish it then I can set a goal to read a couple pages a day.
If you want to start going to the gym don’t try to be like the people who spend two hours at the gym everyday. First of all, your body can’t handle that. Your body will be the most sore when you first start working out. You’ll have to skip a few days to let your body heal. If you feel like leaving after 30 minutes then that’s okay. What matters is that you show and do something. Eventually you will have to spend two hours at the gym to get a good workout. In the beginning whats most important is focusing on getting to the gym everyday.
If you want to write that novel you always had in your head, then start with small goals. You don’t have to finish the story in six months or a year like the NYTimes bestsellers. Those writers have the money and free time to write all day and hire helping hands. If you have a 9 to 5 job and a family, then your free time is limited. If you want to write everyday, then that is most important. Whether you get in the groove and write 2,000 words or you get stuck after a sentence just write, something, everyday. The repetition will build muscle memory and eventually writing won’t feel like a struggle.
I would go weeks not writing at all because the thought of writing for an hour or writing 1,000 to 2,000 words made me anxious. But, if I just tell myself that I will write everyday even if its just 50 words some days, then at least my novel is progressing.
Building new habits is all about repetition to gain muscle memory. As long as you do it daily then you will build momentum and become a master at whatever you want to do.