I just finished a 365-day challenge where I kept a journal of appreciation every day of 2019. At some point during each day, I stopped to find 4-6 things that I appreciated and wrote out a full paragraph for each, focusing on why I loved that thing. Common items were my health, the sun, nature, the various types of abundance in my life, books, my tools, running, art, music, people who have supported me, and much more.
Rarely did any one entry feel significant, but the cumulative effect was monumental. It was ~12 minutes each day (70+ hours throughout the year) focused on radiating positive energy. I feel like it trained my mind to look for things to appreciate. After a year of this, I find myself subconsciously leaning towards appreciation for things all day long. I’m really glad I did it.
I’ve found these type of 365-day challenges to be so effective that I want to do another one this year. As I imagine looking back from the end of 2020 and asking myself what I would be most satisfied to have done every day, I keep coming back to one thing: this notebook. So, I have decided to post something in this notebook every day of 2020.
There are a few reasons why I think this will be the most significant challenge for me to do:
- Professionalism. The biggest reason I am doing this is to put creative pressure on myself to Turn Pro. I, like most artists, don’t have a boss looking over my shoulder, and that makes it easy to procrastinate and get lost in the weeds. This 365 challenge is like having a boss behind my creativity. If I am accountable to posting something interesting every day, then I also need to be creating / thinking about / discovering interesting things worth sharing every day. Much more than getting traffic or attention, this type of accountability is the #1 reason I’m doing this. I suspect it will pay dividends for my own focus and creative work throughout the year.
- Documentation. I journal a lot, but my own journal entries are kind of unfocused and random. They are more about brainstorming or working through problems than documenting my journey. Looking back from the end of 2020, I think it would be really rewarding to have a more structured and edited documentation of how my creative work / thoughts / inspirations progressed on a daily basis.
- Value. As I work through this challenge, it is my intention to create content that is of value to those who read it more than just personal notes for myself. The thing is, I am not 100% clear how to find that intersection of sharing my own journey + providing value to you. I have spent too much time over the last year “thinking” about this problem and taking very little action. So why not just get started and figure it out as I go? This daily challenge will force me to try my best to create something of value each day, failing often, and learning as I go. I’m hopeful that by the end of the year I will have a much better handle on how to create valuable creative content.
- Growth. This is actually a secondary goal compared with everything above, but this notebook has basically no readers right now and I will be writing into a vacuum early on. I am totally okay with that (it’s much more about my own journey), but I am also extremely curious to see how successfully I can build its readership. I’ve built a food blog from zero to 2+ million annual views, but this is a totally different type of content and I am relishing the challenge of growing a new audience.
I have no idea what I’m getting myself into with this challenge, there’s a lot that could go wrong, but I am quite committed and eager to get this underway. Happy 2020 and I’ll see you tomorrow…
P.S. Along with this, I am also intending to send a newsletter every weekend this year, where I curate my 6-10 favorite things of the week in art, tech, design, culture, etc. and send them out in a little dispatch. You can sign up for that, below, if you’d like.