Time-limited personal challenge projects and resolutions pop up everywhere. Buy nothing day! No internet for a month or even a year! Write a novel in a month! Or the original – give up something for Lent! Are projects like these gimmicky and pointless? Or are they worthwhile?
In two weeks, I’m going to be participating in a gimmicky challenge myself – National Novel Writing Month. I will join 250,000 writers across the world in an attempt to write 50,000 words during the month of November, or about 1667 words a day. This will be my third time participating.
Gimmicky? Yes. The word count goal they’ve established is a bit “out of a hat”. But…it seems to work.
I’ve found that participating in a time-sensitive challenge has a lot of benefits:
- Helps build new habits – in my case, daily writing
- Establishes a deadline and concrete goals
- Gives you the support of other participants, if you’re doing a group challenge
- Feels achievable due to the limited timeframe
- Lets you try out a ‘different life’
- Provides a structure that’s easy to talk about and easy for people to understand
- Sets up a mental framework that the project is a fun adventure
- Helps you achieve a hard goal or complete a large amount of work
Of course, you get out of a challenge project only what you put into it. It only works if you take your goal and your timeline seriously and stick to it.
What challenge projects have you tried, and how did they work for you? What challenge project are you interested in?