I am thinking about how I want to go about looking at my plans for the new year. To do that it makes sense for me to look at previous plans and see how they did.

Looking at my intentions from last year it is clear to me now that I was far too ambitious. The idea that I would try and engage in multiple projects and habits was way too much for me to do given how much I am trying to accomplish and all my responsibilities with work and school.

I also focused too much on outcomes. The goal of losing weight is a totally fine goal but the goal is an outcome instead of a focus on a process. I can't control how much weight I lose but I can control how much I eat and how much I exercise.

So this year I want to come up with a habit that meets two criteria:

  • It is simple to measure
  • It has the potential to be fun

I don't want to try and get nitpicky and try and emphasize too many things this year. So instead I am going to focus on one habit and one habit only.

My habit goal for 2024 is to attempt to write 1000 words every single day.

If I get close to writing 1000 words every single day then I will have succeeded at a tremendous amount of my secondary goals.

If I write 1000 words a day I will have written 365,000 words. Since most novels are about 100,000 words that would mean I would have written enough for three novels in a year.

Now I don't imagine I will write three novels a year. But I can write a tremendous number of things within the umbrella of 365,000 words. That can be essays, short stories, a book, a screenplay. All the things I said I want to accomplish but haven't because I have put too much friction in between me and that goal.

So rather than saying "Tuesdays are my essay day and Wednesday is my novel day" I will simply set a goal of writing 1000 words for the day. No regard to quality.

Quantity produces a quality of its own. I have no doubt I will become a better writer at the end of this year if I even accomplish my goal at a 50% rate. That's also why I don't plan to be militant about counting exactly 1000 words - the goal is to approach 1000 words a day.

This doesn't mean that I am only going to try and write. In order to write interesting things I will have to continue to read and do interesting things. The act of writing something that I will share every week will force me to continue to engage in other things that are important to me. I will continue to eat a carnivore diet and I will write about the results of that experiment here. I will continue to do my gymnastics training and I will continue to sketch. The difference is that I won't make a specific goal or outcome about those things. I will track how many sketches I do and I will continue to document my progress with doing handstands but I won't make a goal of doing 200 sketches or anything like that. The writing will be the only thing I attempt to set a goal around for 2024. By making my writing the focus I hope that I can improve in a variety of other ways.

I think the trick will be to find an accountability mechanism. Something like a checklist to make sure that I write every day and keep track of it. It will need to be simple and frictionless other wise I will forget to do it.

I am trying a habit tracker app on my phone. It is called habit8. It is basically just a calendar that allows you to put a check on the date. You click the check on the date every day that you accomplish the particular goal. This is similar to Jerry Seinfeld's idea of not breaking the chain. Every day that you successfully engage in a positive habit adds a link to the chain. The goal is that you don't want to miss a day that will break your chain.

Seinfeld supposedly has done this throughout his years in comedy to keep him working on making jokes. He writes jokes every day and is able to continue his streak of joke writing in perpetuity as he does not want to break his chain.

I am excited about this because it doesn't feel like willpower will be necessary to make this happen. Yes writing is a grind but because I am not attaching anything pivotal to the act of writing it doesn't feel like a tremendous burden.

I am confident that I will still engage in other tasks that are fun but freeing myself from trying to "optimize" other tasks seems like it will remove it from the feeling that it is "work" as opposed to just stuff I am doing because it is fun.

So no big challenges this year. No particular weight loss goal. No project that I have to complete this year. Just a simple system of daily writing that I will implement. If I implement it even halfway I will be much better off next year than I am today.