Running Monthly Experiments

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I’ve written before about some of the experiments I run on a monthly basis. I borrowed this concept from AJ Jacobs of My Life As An Experiment fame. It had a deep impact on me. Monthly experiments has had a huge positive impact on my life over the past 36 months since I started them.

There a few things that I like about calling something an experiment vs. a goal, challenge, or mission. Why? As long as you are being observant, you’re always winning at an experiment. With others, you’re either winning or failing. Failing a lot early can be discouraging and it might be compounded by the fact that goal setting can be drastically unrealistic because of what we don’t know about a challenge. For example, I had a goal of ascending the CN Tower by stairs in under 12 minutes when 99% of climbers had climbed slower than this including those who had years of training behind them.

The goal of the monthly experiment is to learn about oneself and decide if something is worth adopting. Some questions:

  • How do I feel when I am trying to run this experiment?
  • Am I adhering to the experiment?
  • When I don’t adhere, what are the reasons I tell myself?
  • Is this something I can adopt for the long term?
  • What am I giving up to adhere? What am gaining?
  • What are the influences on adherence?

Daily gratitude writing, daily Medium posts, ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting, and cold exposure are some the things I’ve adopted long term as the result of these experiments but I probably wouldn’t have done so if I didn’t know I could give up after 30 days.

Bonus for some things that didn’t make the transition…waking up at 4:30 AM daily, going to bed by midnight, running three times a week. I learned from these about the constraints of my schedule and what my priorities are at this point in my life.

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