February 02, 2015

The One-Day-Project

There is a phrase in this house when I say it out loud the Englishman switches off like a camera with drained batteries. No matter how lively our discussion before, upon those words his face becomes an expressionless wall and his ears might listen but his mind will not!

And it always starts with “I decided...”

“I decided I want to go swimming more often.”

“I decided I really would like to make my own beer!”

“I decided I need to earn more money!”

I decide on great ideas on a daily bases, but he knows and you can probably guess it, I seriously lack the perseverance to actually see them threw.
Take New Year’s resolutions for example. In 2006 I started a list a few goals to achieve in a year that now accumulated to 18 things that, one day, I would like to do, learn or make.

I had many attempts on overcoming my procrastination. Like when I said: “I decided I should finish all my goals in one year and then I could write a book about it and call it ‘The year I finished everything’!”
“Mmh...” Yeah, you guessed it. The book didn't happen either.

However, the research did! Over the past few years I read many books on procrastination and how to reach your goals and I ended up – well, obviously not with a book – but a better plan. Not that I didn’t have had plans before, but (!) a well-thought through mapped out plan on how to achieve my ideas, that is new! It took me a while and many Aha-moments, but I think I found a way to manoeuvre around all the pit-holes that my previous plans had and might actually persevere on  my new years resolutions.

I call this plan: The One-Day-Project!

The One-Day-Project
My goal is to work on my resolutions at least one day – 24 hours – in 2015. I decided to go more running, so I have to go for 24 1-hour-runs this year or forty-eight 30min runs (or a mixture of both). I decided to learn more English, so I have to practice vocabulary at least 24 times in 2015. I decided to improve my Yoga so I would have to make at least 24 yoga sessions this year.
24 times doing something might not sound like a great deal to you, but it is, if the alternative is not doing it at all. This project is as simple as it gets. The goal is to get it done. So let’s talk the pit holes I manoeuvred.

Do it whenever
First of all, this plan has no set session or time slots in which I intend to work on my goals. No ten-minutes-every-morning, no one-hour-every-Saturday, no once-a-week-at-least-xyz-minutes. This way I cannot fall behind or miss a session and lose all my motivation. (Genius, I know)

Only 24 hours
Secondly, I have a clear idea of when I will have reached my goal. This might sound silly, but before I had actually no idea what “learn how to knit” might look like when it’s finished. Now it means 24 completed knits and I am done learning (probably not, but I will have learned something and that’s what counts!). This way I also get round my fear of perfection. The 24 knits don't have to be pretty, the 24 runs don't have to be the fastest, after 24 Yoga sessions I don't have to be able to do a headstand - I just have to work on it 24 hours and then my goal is achieved.

Stick to the inspiring stuff
Thirdly I took Elise's advice: Take it off the list. These goals are my goals, I set them for me, as a challenge, as a way of improving myself, as a fun activity. If I achieve them it is only for myself. It doesn't make me a less good person, daughter, girlfriend, friend or colleague just because I dropped a plan. So if I changed my mind, I crossed it off the list - uncompleted. My original 18 goals are now down to 12 that are still relevant to me.

Give it a year
And lastly, I gave myself a whole year to do it. I stole that idea of Astrid from redredcompletely red when she spoke to Elise about getting through the middle. Instead of aiming for a well oiled machine that runs on time all the time, I expect high and low tides for every goal and estimated a time frame that allows for breaks.

It’s true what all the self-help books and high-achiever say on this, if you have a plan, with clear steps and a vision of where you want to end up, your motivation will be roaring.

So here is the break down on my list: One day I'll...
...learn how to knit.
...learn how to sew.
...practice more yoga.
...learn how to juggle.
...go more swimming.
...go more running.
...ride my bike more.
...do more craft.
...practice my writing.
...improve my English vocabulary.
...read more books.
...listen to more music.
...have a herb-garden.

And as if I hadn’t stolen enough ideas of Elise (she is a get-sh**-done-godess!) I am going to (ab)use her wonderful daily goal tracker and her hashtag #makeitpublicmakeithappen to record my success; so that lovely people (like you who is still reading this epic post) can keep me accounted. Pretty please!
Thank you so much for reading, Nadine

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