11 for 11 is the umbrella we’re using to contain our ideas, thoughts, recommendations, observations, etc. as 2011 looms before us.
Here are 11 things that you can do for a better 2011.
First of all, a confession: I’m terrible at following through on New Year’s Resolutions. For the past few years I’ve tried to avoid them like the plague because I know that I won’t follow through with most of them.
I’m a sucker for mnemonics and catchy phrases, though. For some reason, the phrase 11 for 11 stuck in my mind. Why not put it to good use? Therefore, I came up with a few ideas for 2011. They’re mainly aimed at the person who wants some more discipline and better habits in their life. Most of them are common sense. Some will help you develop your creative skills.
Oh, and these ideas are liberally sprinkled with the number 11.
Here we go:
1. Read 11 new books this year – I imagine that most of you do this already, but it’s worth mentioning. Reading can be entertaining and relaxing but, as we know, it’s an excellent way to learn. I think that non-fiction may lead to better learning, but good fiction stimulates the mind as well. Use this goal as a means to expand your mind further.
2. Exercise 11 minutes per day – 11 minutes may not seem like a lot, but 20 – 40 minutes of cardio at least three times a week can make a difference in your health. 11 minutes per day will help you improve your health and your emotional well-being. Plus, once you establish the 11 minutes per day benchmark, you can always increase the duration of your physical activity.
3. Connect with 11 new people every month – entrepreneur/author Chris Guillebeau recommends reaching out to at least four new people per week and that’s probably a more powerful move towards growing your network. But for some of us, a slower pace may work better. Hence, 11 per month. In this day and age, it pays to know and work with more and more people, so adding 11 more new connections per month (note: this is not the same thing as Twitter followers or Facebook Friends!) can help you tremendously in the long run. Try to reach out to some people with similar backgrounds, interests and careers but balance that out with some people who are outside of your normal circles. Add depth and variety to your network!
4. Reconnect with 11 people you know every month – I’ve seen Chris Brogan give this kind of advice on a couple of occasions. At its most basic form, this idea is all about keeping in touch with people. It’s very easy to disappear into your own rabbit hole and lose track of the rest of the world – I’m terribly guilty of this. Make a point of renewing old acquaintance on a regular basis – you never know what you might learn.
5. Write 11 minutes per day – this is a start, but it really needs to be done in tandem with #6 below…
6. Write another 11 minutes per day – put 5 and 6 together and you’ve got 22 minutes/day of writing. You can do a lot over the course of a few weeks or months if you put in at least 22 minutes/ day. You should be able to write at least one page in 22 minutes. By the end of a month you have thirty pages of material. In a year you’d have 365 pages, enough for a decent novel or non-fiction book. See item #11 as well.
7. Explore 11 new places this year – variety provides us with the raw materials we need to be creative. Seeing new sites gives us plenty of new visual stimuli to internalize. You don’t have to go far away, either. It can be a new restaurant, an art gallery, or a local tourist attraction that you haven’t visited before. A change of scenery provides great creative material to work with.
8. Experiment with 11 different art forms at least once in 2011 – if you write, try sketching, painting, singing, dancing, playing a musical instrument. Just try something different! Using different skills helps you grow as a creator. It often feels awkward at first and you may decide you don’t like doing the new art forms. That’s OK. If nothing else, you’ll have something new to write about!
9. If something gets you down or stresses you out, repeat the following phrase 11 times (slowly): “Everything is temporary – this, too, shall pass.” Everything is temporary in this life. This phrase will help you remember that minor irritants will eventually go away or resolve themselves. I learned this little phrase during one of the lowest points of my life and it helped me to regain my footing. Sometimes you’ve got to change the way that you talk to yourself (mentally, I mean) in order to make good changes.
10. Add 11 good habits into your life or get rid of 11 bad habits in 2011 – Steve Pavlina talks about habit building (or breaking) in terms of the 30 day trial periods for shareware. Take something you want to do (or stop doing) and try it for 30 days straight. That’s normally enough time to change a behavior. Read Steve’s blog post for more insights into habit change, especially the 30 day trial concept. I’ve used 30 day trials to successfully kick a couple of bad habits during the past couple of years. There’s always room for improvement, though!
11. Write 11 kickass blog posts, essays, articles, letters – this is a more focused goal related to items #5 and #6. This is taking your daily writing and channeling it into longer works. Longer works, whether they are fiction or non-fiction, force you to stretch your mind and skills into doing something bigger and better. It doesn’t have to be done publicly either. Writing a longer, detailed personal letter to a friend might deliver many of the same benefits.
One final note: treat all of these as minimums. Doing more will be even better for you.
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