As you may be aware, I’ve been reading The 10X Rule, which suggests you magnify your goals by 10 times, and increase your efforts at reaching said goals by 10, as well. I made hints at goals in a recent post, where I started to explore this idea: in some aspects, the 10X rule seems potentially dangerous. In particular, applying the 10X rule to weight loss, walking, exercise in general--in these categories, “massive action” seems like eating disorders or forms of body dysmorphia just waiting to happen.
So I’ve been thinking about how to take this advice while keeping this safe. Instead of focusing on a number on the scale, let’s focus on what we can control--the number on the Fitbit. If I aspire to walk legit 10,000 steps--well, not only will that set a foundation for healthy living, it’ll open up at least an hour each evening to listen to an audiobook! And I’ve kind of been binging on self-help audiobooks, lately, thanks to a Labor Day Weekend Sale over at Audible! More time to listen and think is definitely a good thing, and if this coincides with more walking?! Definite good thing! So there's one (set of) goal(s), written down.
Alright, up next: ethanol. Ethyl alcohol. The stuff in vodka. And wine. Between social drinking and a relaxing glass of wine, I often have 2 or more servings of alcohol in a single evening. And it generally comes out of my pocket, as well. As cheaper living, healthier living, more free time (with clear thinking, of course), and potentially weight loss are all nebulous goals for this chunk of my life, less alcohol seems like an overall good thing.
In fact, my partner and I have discussed instituting a single-serving-each-evening rule, in that vague sense of discussing goals that never seem to come to fruition. Well, 10X can’t really be taken literally here, but the spirit of exaggeration certainly can: I’m going to *ban* alcohol every single school night. Which includes the Monday of Labor Day Weekend, which is when this post is being written. No alcohol, as a rule, will probably contribute to the yet-undiscussed writing and reading goals, and may make the audiobooks-while-walking plan easier, as well. I’m taking the 10X concept as one encouraging excessive ambition and effort in anything worth aiming for. That is, anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
And of course, if we’re designing an idealized September in which we improve in every conceivable way, we must set goals for perhaps the most obvious method of self improvement: more reading and writing! I know that journaling is good for my mental health, but I rarely devote adequate time to it. Blogging continues to be a nebulous side goal in my life, so it’s time I gave it at least an hour or two a day, as well--including and focusing on writing. That’s the sort of daily time commitment that could actually produce measurable results, like an increase in monthly page views. I figured that posting once or twice a week was great--totally doable, yet productive, as well! But then we’ve got to apply 10X thinking, which means an idealized September would see 10 or 20 new posts every week. Honestly, I can’t imagine an audience that would appreciate that sort of posting schedule, so I’ve got to rethink my writing goals.
Writing 500 words a day is actually quite reasonable, and would help establish the habit necessary for November’s 1667 words/day (NaNoWriMo, darlins!). That’s at least a page in a journal or a solid chunk of time typing, and I’d be proud to end September with an average over 500! Which means… we can’t really aim to write 5000 words a day?! That’s literally hours of writing every day, which basically ensures that I don’t achieve much at home (or out walking outside the home) other than writing. Which actively conflicts with my walking-hours-every-evening goals.
For context, I’ve written slightly over 625 words today, mostly in this here blog post (so far). If I’m writing upwards of 2000 words a day, that gives me good elbow room to edit and remove less-valuable chunks of writing, as I’ve read “ideal” blog posts are 1500-2000 words long.
Ruh-roah. In my effort to cite that fact I did some googling, at according to at least this source, blog posts that score in the top 10 of Google results are generally over 2000 words in length. That's ok--longer than the 1600 I'd read early, but still totally doable. Aiming to average over 2500-3000/day means I'll be able to pick and choose what gets published. Perhaps I write a 5-page single-spaced journal entry, and then select the top 50% for a public posting.
The notion of writing more than I plan to publish is certainly enticing. The notion of doing so every single day is terrifying. Then again, aiming to write 5K words every day and failing miserably could still mean that I averaged over 1K/day. Spend October ingraining the habit, and I’m absolutely ready for NaNoWriMo. In the two days of September so far, I’ve averaged over 1500 words/day--but then again, neither day so far has been a school day.
Which, I suppose, reminds me--I’ve got to make some school-relevant plans. Generally, so far this school year, I’ve been crawling out of bed around 6:50 and leaving around 7:15, which puts me at school pretty much at the last possible minute. Waking up at 6:00 and leaving at 6:30 would ensure I’m there by 7:00 and could leave each day by 3:00, which would be considerably useful in my new and improved existence. (Context: I have been leaving around 3:30 or 3:45, so this could make a real difference.) I realize when I leave for school isn’t terribly interesting to my dear reader, but this here’s all about holding myself accountable, to both myself, the universe, and anyone who happens to read this.
Alright. I created an idealized schedule for September for my after-school time, which my partner described as, “look(ing) exhausting.” Well, yes--isn’t that the point? We schedule as though it’ll be easy to write 1000 words in a single block after getting home from school--in fact, who knows, maybe I’ll write more! Maybe I’ll feel like writing after listening to my audio self-help book while walking, as I have more than once this weekend! Maybe I’ll “fail miserably” and only write an average of 1500 words every day and finish reading/listening to a book a week. There’s some wiggle room to change tasks, depending on what I really want to get done that day, because let’s be honest--a day where I get 10,000 steps but don’t write much isn’t really a bad day, as long as sometimes I write over 2K words even as I average 3K steps in another given day.
Oh, shit. In an effort to find inspiration, I turned to Ruth Soukup, who says:
“And if there isn’t anything on that list that gets you fired up, ask yourself, “How can I think bigger?” How can I 10X this goal? How can I dive in and find a deeper motivation? Find something that lights the fire inside you and gives you the extra drive you need to make big things happen.” - Ruth Soukup, Why You Can’t Afford NOT To Think Big.
HOW CAN I 10X THIS GOAL. Like I needed more encouragement to think big about what I can attempt to accomplish. She discusses making annual goals, instead of my binge-on-goals-September, so let’s think long-term:
Eff. My goal is all household expenses paid for by my blog, even if my partner and I choose to continue working to pay stuff off (and eventually save) faster. My goal is for this blog to pay for its own expenses, including expensive trainings like Elite Blog Academy. And professional society dues. And holy crap, groceries. I’d like to accelerate paying off student debt, our mortgage, and get to a point where considerably less money each month is spent on debt. Then we could save more, even if we also spent more and had less income. That’s mind-boggling to think about. Blog income-even before expenses--of over $1K/month is barely conceivable, so I suppose by the end of 2020 I oughta be bringing in $10K/month via (a) blog(s). That is definitely life-changing for my partner and I--enough that after we pay off debt, we could easily share considerably more every month. (Woah--we’d be in the fancy annual club for NPR Donors over $1.2K!) (Or maybe even some #TwitterPhilanthropy!)
People like Ruth suggest we (we being new bloggers) establish content before worrying about monetization, so I’ve got to post at least an average of every day during September, and have at least 10 new viewers on an average day this month. That’s 300 sets of eyeballs in September--so we’re aiming for 3000 sets of eyeballs in September?! 30,000 page views in one month alone?!? Again: failing to get 30,000 page views by even 20,000 views is vastly preferable to half-assedly hitting 3000. So what if my lifetime view count is under 230? All the more reason to aim high!
This guy spoke up on my twitter account with a video about 10X thinking. Get past his thick accent and he's got some good advice.
Ruth, too, agrees that good goals should scare us a little bit, which is good news for this entire post thus far.
I'm sure I'll have plenty more to say about the 10X Rule and my assortment of September goals. In the meantime, I'd love to hear from you on Twitter or in the comments! Do you bother making New School Year resolutions, or just Random Month Resolutions? Are you familiar with 10X thinking, and if so, what sort of goals are you making?
Love and kittens,