From A Goal To A Habit To An Addiction

goalhabitaddictionI have had an interesting personal insight this week. As you all know I write and post daily and have been for a while, to the tune of seven months. But what I have realized is that I have gone from a goal to a habit to an addiction. And it’s kind of scary.

Here are the stats more or less… On November 22, 2014 I had 22 accumulated posts in my blog and it was then that I decided to become serious about writing and adding content to my site. Those numbers are flexible I just use the 22, and 22 references to keep my math easy, and it’s close enough. Out of those 22 articles, I had probably written half of them in the three months prior.

What I had was a website that was very static, meaning that it didn’t change much, didn’t get much notice, and as far as attracting attention and potential clients, not doing a danged thing for me. So I decided to change that and after doing a lot of reading on the how’s and why’s of internet inbound and content marketing I decided that my website needed to grow. A lot!

The basic premise that was stuck in my brain was that I needed to write/publish at least one article per day for a year, so 365 days straight. Of course, that seemed utterly impossible but to prove it I challenged myself over the week of Thanksgiving when I had some flexible and free time to write and publish one article a day for seven days straight just to prove that I could do it, and I did.

So that set up my first goal which was to write everyday until I had 100 posts total and while that was the first primary goal, the secondary and actually the REAL goal was to write and post for 100 days straight.

I met both of those goals sometime in early/mid February and by writing everyday I began to see results in the traffic to my website. It was what I would call an overnight success but there was a steady upbeat in traffic, people started noticing my stuff, and even liking some of it.

But a huge reason for my goal to write 100 days straight was not just to accumulate content and drive traffic, no, it was also so that I would get into the habit of writing everyday. I wanted to learn how to consistently write and publish material on a daily basis but really just to prove to myself that I could actually do it. I wanted to prove that I could do it because in the beginning, that concept had seemed so impossible. I guess in a way I wanted to prove myself wrong while still realizing a positive benefit from it.

Of course, after hitting that goal I began to focus on the next phase…. 200 articles total posted followed by writing and posting for 200 days straight which would give me a grand total of 222 articles or so some time in May.

The goal became a little more challenging to meet. The plus side is that I believe writing had become a solidly formed habit. The challenges were a nine-day vacation which forced me to pre-write a lot of stuff before my trip, a business trip or two, and days with a lot of work stuff that would have made writing difficult. But the biggest challenge happened around the beginning of April, on Good Friday no less.

My traffic, which had been erratic but still growing over time took, a dramatic hit on Good Friday. By a dramatic hit, I mean I lost probably 70% of my average traffic that day and all traffic from all sources were affected such as Google, Facebook, and other sties that link to mine. That trend that lasted nine days and it proved to be devastating for both my confidence and my motivation. To be honest, I was ready to just quit and give up. In order to keep myself motivated I agreed with myself to keep at it until I got to 200 posts total and then see how I felt about it. If I wanted to give up then I could and I would have been okay with that.

Fortunately though, after those nine days everything magically became normal again, actually better than before so I endeavored to continue on and as of today the stats look like 232 total posts which translates to about 210 days straight of writing and publishing on my blog. I can definitely say that it is a habit now.

Maybe more than just a habit though. I maybe exceeded the bounds of habit and wandered right into the realms of addiction! Yikes!

How do I know this? Well the past three weeks have been tough for me schedule-wise and some days writing becomes a task that I have to creatively cram into my schedule. Even last week I had a 12-hour day, came home exhausted and before eating dinner, I managed to sit and write something out for that day. Wednesday of this week was the same way with me getting home late after a run, still wanting to write something and all the while having the inner-discussion with myself to just skip a day. But I couldn’t.

I sat down and wrote Wednesday night and when I was done, I felt a lot better. I had met my goal for the day, my habit was satiated, and my addiction soothed. A time for a break might be coming soon but I wonder if I can really do that?

In the end I have decided to just keep doing what I have been doing and to press on. My goal is to hit 300 posts total which I think will happen around the end of August, and then after that push on for a year straight which was the original long-term goal from the beginning anyway. I recognize that this part of my life and my business has gone from a goal to a habit to an addiction but in the grand scheme of things, is it really a bad addiction to have? And especially if the underlying intent of it all is really to help people?

Yes, I have my goals of creating content and driving traffic to my site but my first goal every day when it comes to writing in this blog is to create and deliver something that will help someone else even in the tiniest bit. And if I can’t write anything that helps someone directly that day then at least write something that gives the reader something to think about or potentially gives a new perspective.

I heard someone say once that every addiction works until it doesn’t any more – meaning that every addiction can be a functional part of life until it then turns against you. So for me, this addiction, this writing, is still working on many levels. And as hard as it can be sometimes, I think it does more good than harm, and the bottom line is that I enjoy and I relish the challenge of coming up with new ideas every day.

In the end, I don’t know if there is such a thing as a good addiction, but for now I am going to consider this one mine.

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – Certified Life Coach – Aspen, Colorado

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Comments

  1. Huw Edwards says:

    Interesting perspective on the step from habit to addiction. I have always focused on how to create a (good) habit and less so on where such a (good) habit might lead – even to an addiction. It makes sense though as the key to building any habit is the queue-routine-reward sequence causing a positive loop that reinforces each time. I’m sure you’ve read Charles Duhigg’s ‘The Power of Habit’ but if not then take a read. You’ll find it aligns well with what you are experiencing.

    • 3peaksblog says:

      I will have to read that Huw, thank you. Some thoughts about addiction are they are “replacement needs” or to put it simply a means to fill a void or sense of lack in one’s life that could stem from many things… Before I wrote this I had a long conversation with someone who is a professional blogger and they had gone through the same things that I have experienced and have explained in the article. I guess that writing every day now is as automatic and something that I expect of myself just as much as brushing my teeth every morning or night. If missed you don’t feel right until you get it done for the day. One thing I can tell you is that I have really enjoyed this journey of writing so far. It is so nice to talk to a client and to be able to point them to an article about something that we were discussing in a session. Just another benefit.

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