Forming a New Habit

It’s one month since my first thirty day challenge. You may remember that the basic idea behind the challenge is to acquire new behaviour. Essentially, if you can commit to doing something, or nor doing something, for a period of just thirty days, then provided you follow through with action of course, you will have gone a long way toward making the new behaviour a habit. At least that’s the theory. So how did I actually get on? That’s what I want to look at in this post.

The two habits I decided to work on were:

1. To write a one thousand word article for my blog each day
2. To stay out of my favourite online forum

So, I guess that now is the time to report on my results.

Firstly, I did not quite manage to complete either one of them, though I have certainly made significant changes to my behaviour. So much so, that I am confident I will continue with this idea as a way of introducing change into my life. The writing challenge has been very interesting for me. As I said, I didn’t quite manage it, but that is not because I didn’t want to or didn’t try hard. At present, other activity that I recognise is very important is also pressing and has naturally consumed some of my time and attention. That’s not an excuse; it’s simply the way it is.

With regard to the forum challenge – and really, this should have been a lot easier because it involved not doing something – I also did not quite succeed. Why? Because, I have come to realise that I use the forum for a quite number of different purposes. Sometimes I visit the forum simply to get ideas for example, so this was related to the writing challenge in a way I did not quite realise at the start. I also used a facility of the forum to advertise one of my products. It was very easy to make an odd post during those visits in response to issues that other people had raised.

So, although I technically failed both of these challenges, I nevertheless learned a lot about myself, and the motivation for some of my behaviour, and in itself, that is most valuable to me. Moving forward, I will be dumping the forum limitation because it clearly does not serve my main goals and therefore it makes sense to drop it. But I will be keeping the writing challenge because, although I may not be able to write every single day, I think it is a great discipline, it has made me think about various ways to achieve the goal and it is actually helping me to get closer to my major goal.

In writing my blog, I have come to realise that I write better when I have something to comment about. That might be a TV program that sparked a thought; it could be a book I have been reading; it might be a website, or blog, that I have visited and found interesting; it might be a forum at which some post set my mind to work. These are the activities I have found have contributed to the writing goal. So even in that short list, you can see how the forum goal was slightly in contention with the writing goal – something I will watch out for in setting my future challenges.

The blogging activity has definitely produced positive measureable results in terms of my Google rankings. The website has been steadily moving up the rankings for the past month. Now, I already had very good rankings for some hotly competed-for search terms including ‘personal development’ for example. But for some time now, my promotional effort has been in the direction of getting articles syndicated by other sites in order to create links. What the writing challenge has clearly shown me is that I can get much better results simply by looking after my own site.

With regard to visitors, the increase has actually been negligible. But that is, I believe, because you really need to be in the top four or five results, in the world, to get a significant proportion of traffic from any given search term. Now, for my main term, I am in the top four results in the UK Google engine, but not in the ‘dot com’ engine. However, during this past month, I have watch the site gradually move up the rankings on the ‘dot com’ site where it now seems firmly established on the first page. So my analysis is that a continued effort can only make a further positive contribution.

There are also a myriad of other smaller volume, long-tail search terms, which people actually use to find my site, which I do not – and indeed, cannot – track. But, I believe that as my site continues to rise against its main keyword, so it is very likely to continue to rise against the many other keywords that I do not track. My analysis is, therefore, that I need not be too concerned about what Google is doing. I can leave my old promotional efforts behind and simply concentrate on improving my own site – something I actually always want to do and enjoy doing. In short, this challenge has definitely made me a blogger.

There we have it: the results of my first thirty day challenge have been very encouraging and have definitely resulted in the discovery of some things about myself and also about how the process of cause and effect has operated to move me in the direction of my major goal. The thirty day challenge is an idea I will keep in my toolkit and repeat when I want to get answers to the effectiveness of some new behaviour. I have proved to myself that this period of time is useful, both from the perspective of examining my own behaviour and also in analysing internet success.

So, I commend this idea to you. There are probably lots of questions to which you could find the answers within just thirty days. At the end of that period, you can simply decide whether or not to carry on with the new behaviour based upon whether or not you find it to be beneficial. Even if you find you can’t commit to a permanent change, within just thirty days, you can learn a quite lot about yourself. Remember too, that you can always choose to extend the trial period after the thirty days are over; this could be a great option if you still don’t feel able to completely commit yourself to the new behaviour.

One thought on “Forming a New Habit

  1. Philos

    Sounds like a great challenge. Time to go create one of my own, stick it to day 30 and see what happens (the goals I can achieve during that time frame)

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