According to studies (or perhaps just to tradition), it takes 21 days of repeating an action or a practice to form a habit. That’s three weeks of continuing the same action in order for it to stick as a habit. I don’t know which habits are easier to break and which will actually stick after the 21 days, but this is what I’ve heard.
Yesterday’s blog was the 21st daily blog I’ve posted. With my personal requirement of each post being over 1,000 words, that’s over 21,000 words of writing in three weeks. This is roughly equivalent to the number of words I could have written in a seminary semester (on the low end of a full load), though the content is somewhat different. While I expected to continue my blog every day project for a while, it is still nice to hit a (somewhat major) milestone along the way. I think of this as a milestone because of the reported need for 21 days of repetition to create a habit. I don’t know whether I would describe writing these posts as a habit at this point, although I do find myself in the habit now of thinking about topics throughout the day and trying to figure out how much I have to say about different things.
In addition to three weeks of posts, I discovered while writing this post that I’ve hit 10 followers. This is another milestone that I’m happy to hit, getting into double digit followers. This marker wasn’t one I’d expected to hit this quickly. Thanks to those who follow me.
I’ve always been interested in milestones, whether in life, sports, school, or some other area. I was incredibly excited as a kid to turn 10 and get into the double digits. Breaking different time barriers while running cross country was always a motivating factor for me in my progress. Seeing other people achieve milestones is also enjoyable for me; Adrian Peterson’s 2,000 yard season, baseball players hitting 3,000 hits, people getting to certain ages or anniversaries, graduating, moving out, getting a first job, getting married, having kids – possible milestones in one’s life are seemingly endless.
In thinking about milestones, I wondered how they related to goals. In many ways, goals and milestones are very similar, but I don’t think that they are the same. Adrian Peterson famously (at least in Minnesota) set a goal to rush for 2,000 yards in a season, a goal which he ended up achieving. However, whether that had been his goal or not, that still would have been (and was) a major milestone in his career. The difference between the two, I think, is that goals are set by an individual or a group, while milestones in many ways can only be achieved through the passage of time. We can certainly train or set ourselves up to reach these milestones, but actually reaching them requires a longevity that we cannot always control and the passage of time, which we have no control over. I didn’t have to work really hard to get to 10 years old; I just had to be alive for 10 years.
Admittedly, I am a person who is very forward thinking or future oriented when it comes to hitting milestones; or, rather, milestones related to statistical markers. I couldn’t honestly say why many different milestones are and have been so important to me. I’ve liked numbers as long as I can remember, and especially like getting to round numbers in whatever statistical category is relevant to what I’m doing (perhaps explaining, in part, why I was so excited to get to 10 years old). As it relates to the blog, writing is something I enjoy doing, and I feel like these milestones are reminders that I do enjoy creating different things, that they serve to show progress I’ve made, and in some way continue to show me that this is something I’m capable of doing. Ultimately, perhaps using milestones to define progress is what has kept me so interested in milestones. Whether related to improvement or growth, hitting a milestone serves as an indicator that progress is happening.
My own achievements in this project, reaching three weeks of daily blogging and hitting 10 followers, may seem small in comparison to other milestones that could be achieved or have been mentioned above. Quite honestly, that’s entirely true. In the grand scheme of everything, three weeks of writing blog posts about fairly random topics isn’t as impressive as other things. This is also a trend that could easily be broken simply by not posting one day. However, for a person who likes milestones, I’m happy to have hit one, and I do think it marks an important point for me writing here. I’m not sure how long I will continue to post daily blogs, but I have enjoyed the challenge thus far, and I look forward to hitting more milestones.
With those thoughts on milestones, I want to briefly discuss what I’d like to do moving forward, just as a way to get the thoughts on paper and keep some motivation going with the plans and goals I’d like to have here. I started this blog overall as a place to voice my opinions, and while I have enjoyed writing about different topics, I would like to get back into more research based content, or at least mix that content in with what I’m currently doing. Unfortunately, at the moment, I don’t have a large amount of time with which to do this research, and have been more focused on how to write each post each day. I will continue to write daily; I just want this to serve as an explanation of where I’d like to go and a way to stay motivated and accountable with that goal. I don’t know when the research-based content will begin to show up, because of multiple different factors related to the research and writing. Hopefully, as time goes on, I’ll be able to create these posts more quickly and have them coming out more frequently.
Edit – this also happens to be the 50th post on this blog. Go figure.