The term ‘3-day monk’ has come to mean someone that gets obsessed with something in the short-term, but quickly loses interest. The object of our high-level of interest might be our new blog, learning an instrument or language, or some new hobby.
We genuinely have a lot of interest out of the gate, but yet get little accomplished. You can’t get in great shape by exercising for 5 days. You also can’t write a book or learn to speak Russian in a similar amount of time.
If you want to make meaningful progress with something, it’s important to show up every day. You don’t have to spend hours each day, but you need to put forth some effort on a consistent basis.
These ideas will make it easier to beat the 3-day monk challenge:
1. Start with something you genuinely enjoy. These are voluntary activities, so choose something that you love to do. It’s far easier to be successful if you don’t have to use discipline or brute force to get yourself to follow through. Willpower only works in the short-term.
- Start with an activity that has always interested you, but for one reason or another, you never followed through on it.
2. Keep a positive attitude. Having doubts is part of being human. However, they will often go away with a little time. Just forge ahead and leave the doubt behind.
- Do one more day and see how you feel tomorrow. You might find that you feel great tomorrow. It would be a shame to waste a day.
3. Do it every day. If possible, spend some time each day on your new activity. Developing a new habit is much easier with a daily activity than with something that is only done once or twice a week.
- Even if it’s just for a few minutes, it can really make a huge difference in sticking with it.
4. Go slowly. It’s very challenging to suddenly add 60 minutes of an activity to your life every day. Fifteen minutes a day this week and 20 minutes a day next week usually works better than three hours on day one. Set a schedule that supports that idea and you’ll be ahead of the game.
5. Just get started. There are going to be days when you simply don’t want to engage in the activity. A great way to salvage the situation is to tell yourself that you only have to do 10 minutes.
- Planning for only 10 minutes makes it easier to get started, and once you’ve put in your 10 minutes, you’ll likely continue for even longer.
6. Keep the ‘why’ in mind. It’s easy to be focused on the grind of daily practice, but you can quickly lose motivation this way. Always return to the source of your motivation, which is usually the end result.
- Focus on the end picture, and your motivation will return.
Just because you have a history of being a 3-day monk doesn’t mean you have to continue down that path. Today is a new day, and you can choose to do things differently.
Those that are successful consistently put in the time to create meaningful progress.
Short-term, intense action is rarely the right tactic for accomplishing something that requires a significant amount of learning. Take it easy on yourself. Start slowly with an activity that you truly love.