It’s hard to believe this day is here already.

On November 1, I threw down a challenge to myself. It went like this:

I can memorize verses and inspirational quotes. I can write down my goals and action lists every week. But none of that matters if I don’t live it out.

I’ve realized that every day is a test. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate my faith and my priorities – mainly to myself. If I let anxiety or worry or busyness distract me too much, I’ve failed my test for that day.

This month, I’m setting the bar low. My test for each day is to post a complete thought or observation to this blog, sometime before midnight.

I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I said that I was 100% confident that I could do it. History wasn’t in my favor.

With this post, my blog will have 90 entries. The last third came in 30 days. The third before that took 10 months, and the first third took all of 2010.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. – Aristotle

I’m still trying to determine exactly what made the difference this time. I can think of a few things.

  1. I’d already been practicing building new habits. This is definitely a skill that can be strengthened with practice. Training myself to floss every night (my first new habit) was infinitely harder. Layering them on is tricky, but one a month is a good pace for me right now.
  2. It was a goal I set for myself simply because I wanted to do it. I think of myself as a writer, and I wanted to practice writing. In the beginning, it really didn’t matter if anyone else read it or not.
  3. I’ve really enjoyed the conversation. Over time, the comments and engagement have increased, and it’s been fun. I like reading different viewpoints and answering questions.
  4. It was a realistic goal, given all of the constraints in my life. There were many nights where my post was published in the hours just before midnight. One was about 12 hours late. Looking back, my previous writing goals were too ambitious and would have required sacrificing another activity that I didn’t plan for.

It’s been interesting to see the results in terms of my statistics.

Between October and November, visits increased from 366 to 704. Pageviews went from 674 to 1,534, and the average time spent on my site went from 1:57 to 4:32. (You should also know that one post about the Occupy movement drove almost half my activity for October. Without it, the increase would have been even more dramatic.) It’s clear to see how you can build up steady blog traffic over time.

My affiliate income took a dive though, down to $0.88 from $0.99 last month. Anybody need some books for the holidays? (Just kidding, though it is fun to share this info as my trolls on Twitter fuss about the affiliate links.)

I’m also proud of the quality of my writing. I can see areas of definite improvement. In particular, yesterday’s post is one I’ve been thinking about for a long time, and it was fun to see it come together.

So, what’s next?

I want to think on it for another day or two, but I’m leaning towards keeping this up. I think my goal for December might even be to stay one day ahead. (I’m actually writing this on Tuesday night, so I’m already getting a bit of a head start.) That would allow me to post earlier in the day and have more time for conversation.

What do you think? Are you enjoying reading these?

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