I looked up an article I read once before I sat down to write this but I can't seem to find it now (cool story, bro). It was written by a guy who tried to broaden his horizons by trying one new habit every month. It's not exactly a new idea, but his pursuit of it was probably the best case study I could point out. Nonetheless, the show must go on.
This is something that I'm going to try and incorporate into my own life, and I highly recommend that you give it a shot too. I have two good reasons: 1. It's easy, and 2. It will make your life better.
Let me explain.
I like to think that we all, or at least most of us, have good intentions for continuing to expand our lives in new and wonderful ways every year. We all sit down at New Years and think of how we want to become the best possible version of ourselves the next day: "Right after I finish puking up this egg nog, it's going to be a whole new me!"
That's almost a direct quote from someone I know, but it could be any of us. The problem is, that we almost all suck at following through on these promises for more than a few weeks, if that long. There are entire industries built around our failure to accomplish tasks we set out to do!
This is where the one new thing a month comes in. As Aristotle said,
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.”
You won't just wake up one day and become excellent; no one does. You become that way by pushing yourself a little bit further until you have built up these habits of excellence. This is the same way that anyone gets there, and there aren't any shortcuts (and if you don't believe me, then I have a 'Get ripped in 30 days' book that I'd like to sell you). By simply committing to incorporating one new habit into your life every month, you can become excellent as the momentum of your habits build and build, pushing you forward.
If you want to try this out, I highly recommend it, but start slow. I'm going to start this month; my habit is simply going for a walk for 30 minutes every day, and I'm incorporating the walks into time for me to practice my photography too. I've been letting my fitness slip because I always go gun-ho into the gym and then drop the habit 2-3 weeks later, but by building the simple task of walking 30 minutes a day into my schedule, it will open the possibility to maybe expand it to an hour a day next month. Then, before I know it, I'm dedicating an hour every day to fitness already and I can start incorporating trips to the gym regularly again instead of telling myself I'm too busy. You might think this sounds to slow-paced for you, but if you're thinking that way, then I'll be waiting for you at the finish line because you're already losing.
If you want to try this out, there are people with much more expertise in this subject who have written down a set of suggestions for getting started and keeping it up. I've got a link to one take on it right here.
If you need more motivation, you can pair up with a friend to help each other stick to the habit, and if you're feeling a little ambitious, I don't see anything wrong with incorporating a couple of new habits every month as long as they aren't in the same area of improvement and you measure your success at them every day.
This is all part of a bigger subject, self-improvement, on which I will be writing more shortly.
Until then, let me know in the comments if you think of a good habit to add to your life.