Every year I find myself motivated at the new year, and every year I find that motivation dwindle quickly as the weight of a year’s worth of commitments weighs down my shoulders. Sound familiar?

I allowed myself to remain in motivation limbo at the start of the month, because I was only at work for a few days before I would head off to Thailand for a week, and we all know how well trying to stay on top of things while traveling goes. But now I’m back, and ready to do some “productive adulting.”

Including a few other more vague or boring new year’s resolutions, I have three main goals for this year: learn Korean, exercise, and write. The problem with new year’s resolutions like these is that they’re too vague, and that in itself is daunting. My tendency is to say “write every day,” but then by the seventh day of the year I’d broken my resolution and thus my motivation.

So today, inspired by my inability to meet long-term deadlines and my overall impatience, I am starting a 30 day challenge of personal growth. Why of growth? Well, ultimately, growth is always my goal. What is the point of life if we are not constantly learning and growing? Also, growth is just a nice catch-all that can encompass my ambitions to learn a language, become physically active, and be a productive writer. It’s simple.

Rather than say that I’m going to write every day for a year, I’m going to instead commit to writing every day for 30 days, in the hopes that by the end of these 30 days I will have developed some very healthy habits that will lead to an entire year of the kind of growth that I am after.

I’ll be honest, I know that this is an entirely unoriginal idea. People have been doing 30-90 day challenges since probably the start of time, but particularly since the start of commercialized weight loss. I myself got the idea last night after reading this post about learning a language in 90 days, which I’ll be taking some (though not all) advice from in order to work on my linguistic goals.

Despite the utter lack of originality, I encourage you to do the same. Don’t give up on your new year’s resolutions, but break them down into attainable goals. Work on them in earnest for 30 days, and you’re more likely to continue these habits into the rest of the year.

The biggest hurdle for myself and likely for all of you will be how to balance these goals with work. I’m fortunate enough that I don’t have work right now, but it will start back up again soon. I’m worried that when it does, I won’t have the time to devote to three different pursuits each and every day – each one will take about one hour a day, which is three hours of my day during the work day, in addition to maintaining my other pursuits. Still, I have to believe that if I want something enough, it’s only worth my effort, regardless of my time.

Recently, I’ve read Elizabeth Gilbert’s novel Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. While the there are some redundancies in the novel that fail to grasp my attention, one piece of advice has stuck out to me: if you want something enough, you will find the time. Have an affair with your work. People who have romantic affairs often work full-time jobs and maintain long-term relationships, yet still find the time to sneak away and enjoy themselves. The time is always there if you really look for it.

Of course, you don’t need to follow this 30 day challenge. Odds are, you’re much better at productive adulting than I am, and can follow a simple daily schedule with goals. I’d love to hear about your goals and methods of achieving them in the comments!

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