Matt Cutts, head of webspam at Google, appeared on AOL.com this morning as part of their “You’ve got:” series of videos in which well known talking heads and commentators suggest an idea to readers.
The 90 second long video is called “You’ve got Matt Cutts“.
Cutts discussed a subject that many SEW readers will recognize from his personal blog – his 30-day project, in which he has been sharing his experience of trying something new and sticking at it for 30 days, every 30 days.
It’s a fun little vignette of the 30 day projects Cutts has personally taken on recently. His advice is to start with “something simple and small like biking to work, not watching TV, giving up caffeine, not doing sugar”.
His own projects have led him to create new habits for himself – in particular, walking 10,000 steps a day. Using a pedometer, Cutts increased the average number of steps he took a day by over 300% from 3,000 steps to 10,000. If he did not reach his target, then he would simply go for “a walk around the block” until he had done so.
Of the experience Cutts discusses how these smaller projects helped him gather confidence and momentum to take on bigger projects, saying, “as I took on more and more challenges, I realized I could do more things. I became more confident and in fact last year i ended up climbing mount Kilimanjaro. There’s no way I would have done that before.”
What are you going to try?
My favorite part of the video are Cutts’ closing remarks which give food for thought:
“The next 30 days are going to pass no matter what. Why not try something really easy and new and just give it a shot.”
It’s true, if you give up the idea of simply ‘surviving’ the next 30 days, one can be empowered to look at the passage of time as an opportunity rather than something slipping away from you. Also, doing anything regularly for 30 days is meant to be habit forming.
Cutts suggests starting with something “really easy and small, like taking a picture a day” and then when you have gained some momentum, you can take on bigger projects such as “writing an entire novel in one month”.
If you read between the lines, Cutt’s core message is ‘get out there and get involved’. Many of his suggestions are not as hypothetical as they might seem (at first) and actually allude to community projects that already exist on the web, and there is a sense that implicit suggestion is go out and find other people who want to do new things too.
And in so doing, Cutts certainly highlights a cool aspect of the web and social media today. We don’t actually need to be at our computers all day and, perhaps counter-intuituvely, the web can actually enable, support and empower us to get active and committed to our personal goals.
If you want support in taking on your personal 30 day goals, you might want to look at the community empowerment site 43 Things. If a daily photo seems like a simple way for you to develop a new habit, you might want to checkout Dailybooth (although there are many daily photo projects taking place on dozens of photo-sharing sites). And if you are ready to write an entire novel in a month, you might want to sign up for Nanowrimo.org who’s novel writing 30-day challenge starts next month (Nov 1st).