Listening through the Bible [EXPERIMENT] – Day 9

Well, the experiment is off to a good start. I’m quickly approaching the halfway point, but I’m not even a third of the way through the month yet. That’s encouraging.

In fact, this is something I probably could have mentioned a long time ago regarding experiments like this.

There’s a delicate balance between pushing myself to do something challenging and setting my expectations too high. When I don’t have enough of a challenge, the experiment doesn’t feel exciting. Like if I tried to do one pushup every day for a month, I’d question why I’m trying it at all.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, when I set my expectations too high, like when the daily routine requires too much from me, I can get discouraged and give up all together. This happened when I tried to work up to 100 consecutive pushups in only six weeks. The daily struggle was too hard. I got behind.

All of this is pretty obvious in general terms. It can be difficult, though, to know where those points are for any specific project.

At the beginning of NaNoWriMo, writing 50,000 words in one month seemed huge. It turned out, though, that I was able to churn out over 10,000 words the first weekend into the challenge, which gave me a decent margin from the get-go.

Let’s talk about margin. It’s so important in these experiments. If there’s no way to get ahead, if I can’t do extra in the beginning to create a cushion for myself, the experiment usually suffers. It’s just the way I work.

I work in bursts. There’s going to be a lull, no doubt, maybe more than one throughout the course of any given experiment. But if I can use my initial energy and enthusiasm to get ahead, that margin can keep me in the game even when I slow down in the middle of the challenge.

Thankfully, right now with listening through the Bible, I’m ahead. I have some of that margin. Not only does it give me a breather if I need one later – it helps me keep my enthusiasm up for the project, pushing me to extend this early lead even further.