Stephen King, the author of over 54 novels, commits to writing two thousand words a day.
“I like to get ten pages a day, which amounts to 2,000 words… On some days those ten pages come easily; I’m up and out and doing errands by eleven-thirty in the morning…
More frequently, as I grow older, I find myself eating lunch at my desk and finishing the day’s work around one-thirty in the afternoon. Sometimes, when the words come hard, I’m still fiddling around at teatime. Either way is fine with me, but only under dire circumstances do I allow myself to shut down before I get my 2,000 words.”
This is a typical example of the daily practice at play. Of course, committing to writing two thousand words a day and doing it consistently won’t ensure you and I become as good or as successful as Stephen King is.
But it does ensure we get better each day. And achieving the success that he has achieved is a plausible consequence.
However, hoping to get as good as or as successful as Stephen King without doing the daily practice is the text book definition of impossible.
I’ve been working with daily goals for several years now. This year, I’ve been working with the daily goals of — writing a thousand words, writing three jokes, cycling ten kilometres, exercising an hour, reading for two hours, among other things.
And four and a half months in, I can see the difference in every aspect of those things compared to where I was at the start of the year.
Working with daily goals is the most definitive way for successfully forming habits that didn’t exist before and for getting consistently better at the things that we do.
And setting the right goals is not an easy process. Especially when we don’t have any experience in doing that task before.
For instance, when I first went to the gym, my trainer was getting everyone to do pull-ups. I had never tried doing it before. When my trainer asked me how many I could do, I thought, “How hard can it be?” and said I could do ten. So she asked me to go ahead and do ten. And there I was, hanging on the bar, struggling so hard even to pull myself up once!
Naturally, I would have failed miserably and given up had I set myself a daily goal of ten pull-ups. So I started with one. One successful pull-up a day, for a whole month. Full disclosure, I still can’t do ten (but I’m getting there!).
So, it is important to set the daily goals that we can just about meet and then constantly push them farther and farther as we get better, or just let them be once we are happy with what we’re doing and watch the quality of it improve instead.
Before you go…
If you liked this, support my work. All you need to do is clap.