Reaching a Personal Milestone
And what it taught me about consistency
This newsletter features weekly musings about life, career, identity, and behaviour by a questioning African centennial. To get it in your inbox every week, subscribe here:
When I created this newsletter in the first week of January, I set a goal for myself to publish consistently for 10 weeks. Last week, I hit that goal!
The 10-week mark is an important milestone for anyone looking to make anything a habit.
In a blog post by James Clear, one of the leading thinkers on habit, he explained how scientific research shows that it takes exactly 66 days for any behaviour to become automatic.
Because it’s easier for me to count the weeks instead of the days, the 10-week mark (70 days) was my 66-day target. I published every single week, no matter the constraints, to make sure I hit that mark.
Ten weeks later, does writing my newsletter every week feel like a habit yet?
Most definitely! I can no longer leave my room on a Saturday without starting to write my newsletter piece for the week and I can no longer leave my flat on a Sunday without publishing my piece for the week.
My body has built an automatic alarm that blares loudly each time I try to step out of this weekly habit I’ve created.
Creating this habit was important to me because I wanted to break away from my default pattern of overthinking the quality of my writing and double-guessing if what I wanted to say was really relevant enough.
Being perfectionistic about my writing made me stop writing for more than a year. Forcing myself to publish consistently was a way to get myself to spend less time thinking about writing and more time actually writing. And it has worked so far.
Reflecting on what helped me achieve my goal of publishing consistently for 10 weeks, there are three key things:
I had a clear goal in mind
If you’ve ever checked out the ‘About’ page of my newsletter, you’ll see that I stated very clearly what I wanted to achieve with this newsletter. Having clear goals allowed me to remind myself why I started this whenever I was tempted to quit or give myself ‘just a week off.’ Knowing my ‘why’ kept me going.
I held myself accountable
Naming this newsletter Arinze’s Weekly was no accident. It was my way of forcing myself to publish every week. Because what’s a “weekly” if not something that’s published...well...weekly? With the name, I set myself up to ruin the entire brand of my newsletter if I skipped a week.
I had accountability partners
This is where you come in. Readers like you have kept me accountable. The awareness that there are some 350+ people waiting for my newsletter every Sunday keeps me on my toes. Some of you also check in on me with a “where’s our newsletter 😤” text on days I publish late. Not wanting to disappoint any of you also made me push myself to keep the streak going.
Hitting this milestone taught me that in order to be consistent with anything, I need to build powerful accountability systems. The things, tools, and people that comprise those systems will make sure that I never miss a beat.
Is there any area you’ve been wanting to develop consistency in?
Try the three things I mentioned above and let me know how it works for you.
Before you go…
I’m keeping this week’s piece short so that you can spend the extra time giving me feedback on how to improve this newsletter as I go into my second 10-week sprint.
You can either fill this short form (it’s anonymous) or reply to this with:
thoughts on new things you’d like to see in the newsletter,
specific topics or questions you’d want me to write about, or
anything else you think will be relevant to help improve this newsletter.
If you can do this, it’ll mean the world to me.
Next week’s piece is going to be the most personal piece I’ve written so far. Be on the lookout for that 🙈
I’m considering challenging myself to keep each weekly piece to 500 words or less. Please email me to let me know if/why you think that’s a good idea or not.
Currently reading 📖
I’m not reading anything this week. Instead, I’ll be catching up on my saved podcasts
A song I’ve been playing on repeat this week 🎶
Hollywood’s Bleeding – Post Malone
An article that got me thinking 📜
Final Thoughts: Do deathbed regrets give us a special insight into what really matters in life? There are good reasons to be sceptical – Nigel Warburton
I loved reading this! I’ve been trying to form new habits lately and I’d definitely incorporate your tips and let you know how it goes.