Josh Spector’s article, “Only Do It If You’re Willing To Do It 100 Times,” explains why committing to doing something 100 times furthers your efforts towards accomplishing a goal. He writes that the 100x method gives you a way to use a seemingly arbitrary structure to discipline you through the challenge of working towards a goal that may seem large at the onset. That structure also serves to push you forward through what Seth Godin refers to in The Dip — that point in the project where you’re unsure whether to go on or quit.
At the end of the day, it’s not what you choose to do 100 times that matters most — it’s the act of committing up front to do something in volume that helps you make things happen.
For some work that we do, we naturally reach 100 times because it’s the work we’re given. Other times, the work could be to acquire a new skill, or to become knowledgeable in a new subject area. At the onset the challenge can seem daunting.
Having completed 100 days this past year on a creative side project and starting another, I believe the power of committing to doing something 100 times is that it forces you to do the work every day. Simple as that.
For me, saying that you’re going to do a thing 100 times is like establishing a contract. In the past year I’ve learned that this kind of agreement made with oneself can really help you to avoid quitting, because the dip will come, some of your output will suck (particularly in the beginning), and you won’t be happy with everything you produce. But the more you show up and produce, the more chance you give yourself to make something worth the effort, something to be proud of.
Showing up is hard when the output is mediocre. Being gentle with yourself and setting reasonable expectations and pace is everything. This is something that I learned after several weeks into the project, but I coincidentally learned it from running.
The past few years I started to run as a form of self care, despite previously hating running. I set a goal of doing my first running event, the SF half marathon. In the months that I trained to finish the event, I started to understand that sometimes you really have to take it slow to go fast. What I mean is that ultimately, when I set my effort and pace reasonably for the distance I was hoping to go, I found myself finishing at a better pace than when I was trying to go longer distances running fast. I know I’ve read this before, but it didn’t make sense until it started happening.
The idea of pace and commitment go hand in hand when you’re trying something new or setting a larger goal. Finding a way to show up every day and do the work is why the 100x idea helps. I just embarked on another 100x project and today was my day 1, so it’s fortuitous to have found Josh’s article. And with that I gotta get to work. See you in 100 days!