What I learned from failing #The100DayProject

I failed to complete #The100DayProject.

It was a simple, self initiated project that started here: https://www.the100dayproject.org/, where you pick your topic or activity and do that thing every single day for 100 days, starting on April 2nd (because if you start the day before then the internet thinks it’s a prank). I forget who retweeted it into my social media radar, but I decided to try and spark up some friendly competitive spirit with my friends and we all gave it our best shot at 100 days of worldbuilding.

As you can tell from the title, I didn’t make it that far! I got to around 37/100 consecutive days before becoming burnt out.

Here are the lessons I took away from this challenge:
  1. I didn’t realise that I was taking on too many new habits at the same time.
  2. I did not make my goal S.M.A.R.T.
  3. I need to be kinder to myself! and set up rewards!!
  4. Accountability was a great motivator, but also a great stressor.
  5. I need to have an overarching goal that the challenge leads towards.

I could have just abandoned the project and walked away from it not saying anything, but I feel that it’s important to evaluate progress (or lack of progress) in order to improve and hopefully help some other folks who might be reading this.

Expanding on the points:

1. Too many habits

My original goal was to take part in #The100DayProject by worldbuilding every day. This took the form of new articles in my world Melior on World Anvil, but what I didn’t account for was the new habit of promoting the hell out of it on social media every day, too. This evolved from “a bit of writing in the evening” to:
– making a polished article
– turning it into an image suitable for sharing on  social media
– writing up a semi-engaging post and hashtags
– getting it out there on Twitter & Instagram
– engaging with folks and replying to comments

Bit of a jump, right? Needless to say – this added a LOT to the burnout I am feeling at the time of writing this blog post.

2. S.M.A.R.T. Goals

S.M.A.R.T. Goals are “Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.”
My goal, was not. In order to turn it into a smart goal, rather than “worldbuild every day for 100 days” it should have been refined into something like:

“I will write 200 words of worldbuilding in my world Melior (in new or existing articles) every day at 7pm, concluding on 11th July 2019.”

This makes it much clearer, defined and achieveable. My previous goal did not specify a wordcount, so it was hard to tell if I had done “enough”.

3. Kindness and rewards

Due to the previous point on smart goals, I found it hard to feel like I had achieved my daily goal (because I had not established a wordcount). When I got to the end of the day and still hadn’t done an article, I mentally beat myself up over it and bullied myself into getting it done. This lead to poorly produced, rushed content, and I felt pretty crap about it, too!

When I next attempt a challenge like this, I need to establish clearer rules and set some rewards for myself for achieving good progress!

4. Pros & Cons of Accountability

At the start of the challenge, having the accountability of friendly rivalry and social media engagement was a huge motivator. I was eager to get ahead of the game and make some great content, but as the challenge went on and my weeks got busier with work life and home life, the coin flipped and suddenly the pressure of accountability was crushing.

This is good to note, because I could use this to my advantage to spur myself on in a future challenge, or I could not announce my participation and keep it to myself.

5. Overarching Goal

Finally, the thing I found challenging about this #100DayProject was that I did not have an overall goal. Sure doing a thing for 100 days is great for habits, and overall worldbuilding for 100 days will grow my world, but there was no target to aim for.

A better way of approaching this would have been something like:
– a wordcount goal
– to explain a certain number of subjects/topics in the world

Closing thoughts and why I stopped when I did

Today would have been…. day 54? ish? Looking at my twitter, I stopped at around day 37 before burning out and calling it quits. The reason I decided to stop there was simply because I was evaluating my content and noticed a big downward trend in quality, and my mental health was suffering for it too. As I had no overall goal at the end of it, there was no harm in stopping, no bets lost, and some lessons learned. At the end of the day, worldbuilding is meant to be a fun project for me!

I feel a little sad that I lost bragging rights by stepping out of the challenge, but I am grateful that I took the time to look after myself and learn better for next time.


Do you have any better tips or tricks for me? Comment below or send me a tweet @WorldbuidlingW

2 thoughts on “What I learned from failing #The100DayProject

  1. You know, I was struggling on how I would approach this because of the amount of variables and guesswork. “Do X for 100 days” was vague enough to my brain to make it seem impossible.

    But reading through this, I believe I can conquer it through the S.M.A.R.T. system.

    Numbers going up is a big motivator for me, probably why I love Idle Games, so I think I will hop on the trend way too late. Maybe do it quietly.

  2. I really struggled with this as well and ended up stopping a lot before you. I did create a S.M.A.R.T Goal but I still struggled to keep to it due to feeling overwhelmed, and when I fell behind a bit, I found it very hard to catch up.

    The extra work of social media promoting it really did me in as well. It was too much work

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