How to Build Something Substantial

Fire hydrant outside of Paisley Park.

Did you make a New Year’s resolution? If you did, chances are good that you’ve abandoned it by now, because 80% of resolutions fail by February. But if you managed to beat the odds and keep your resolution going, you might already be seeing the benefits of consistency and experience the subtle but powerful way that success compounds.

While I may not have achieved the creative output of Prince, I’m publishing a blog post every day and that feels like a brisk pace. It feels particularly brisk on a Sunday evening when I realize I don’t have enough posts to fill the coming week! Still, if I manage to keep up this pace for a year, I will have built something substantial. I am accumulating 400 words per blog post, five days a week, for 52 weeks. That comes to a grand total of 104,000 words, or precisely one 400-page book.

If I was a financially minded person, I’d make some comment about the time value of money here. My husband, a CPA and CFP, likes to remind me of the time value of money when I want to spend and he wants to save. Money, like the written word, also compounds over time.

While cranking out blog posts like a veritable content machine, I’ve continued to do Alternate Day Fasting, January’s challenge. (That means I’m eating 500 calories one day and whatever I want the next). Some days I mess up on my fasting days and eat too much, and sometimes on my eating days I eat too much sugar and get annoyed at myself (not to mention that I pay a steep price the next day because too much sugar on an eating day makes me hungrier on a fasting day). But so what? I pick myself up and try again. And I am seeing slow but incremental weight loss, in addition to feeling light and strong on fasting days. Surprisingly, the initial feeling of constant hunger dissipated and now that I have reached 51 days of Alternate Day Fasting I am over my habit of snacking and no longer suffer from cravings. The compounded effects of Alternate Day Fasting are liberating.

On top of those two endeavors, February saw me add a third ball to the juggling act in the form of dressing up daily. Today is a snow day and the kids are home from school but instead of cozying up in sweats, I’m wearing a sweater dress, tall boots and my beloved mirror heart bracelet, and I took a photo of it for posterity, which I do daily. While getting dressed up daily takes effort, I am motivated by the idea that at the end of the month, I will have photographed 28 outfits that I assembled from what was already hanging in my closet. I’ll have a handy reference guide when I don’t know what to wear.

What you do each day matters and builds on the rest.

One thought on “How to Build Something Substantial

  1. Erica Eaton

    Laura,
    Another great post to make me think and smile.

    I even got a good laugh, as I guessed wrong when I read this: “…I’d make some comment about the time value of money here.”

    I anticipated that your husband’s comment might be about people having to be so busy making money that they struggle to find time with loved ones.
    Wrong on that one!

    Still, it’s not an either/or, and I’m sure many spouses comment on both of these things.

    I occasionally manage to keep up with some pretty positive habits. Also challenged by lots of pretty negative habits. Habit is such a fascinating force, especially to a bio/psych geek like me.

    Love your word-count math. : ) Someone in my household participated in NaNoWriMo this year, so there was lots of word-count talk here at home this past November.

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