How the Rule of 100 Can Help You Reach Your Goals

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Welcome to Good Enough Creative, a podcast for creative people.

Hi again, welcome back. I’m your host, Marie Greene, and today I want to share an idea called The Rule of 100. Have you ever heard of this? If you are hoping to learn a new skill or improve in an area of your life that requires practice, the Rule of 100 is a great way to make it manageable.

One of the tricky things about learning a new skill is that it takes time. It takes practice and repetition, and there will be a period of time when you aren’t feeling particularly good at it.

How do you handle being new at something? How do you feel about it?

I love the initial surprise and curiosity of starting something new. I love those moments of discovering aspects that I didn’t anticipate. I love learning how things work and seeing my efforts start to come together.

But it can sometimes feel like a long distance from where you are today to where you want to be in your chosen art. So today we’re diving into an approach that can revolutionize the way you pursue your creative passions: it’s called the Rule of 100. Whether you’re a painter, a writer, a musician, or any kind of creative soul, you will love this simple idea and how it can transform your skill.

So, what exactly is the Rule of 100? It’s the idea that to become proficient in any skill – creative or not – you should commit to completing 100 projects or practicing for 100 days or 100 hours. Many people who write about this topic focus on the 100 hours, because that’s a little bit easier to break down, I think (and I’ll explain why in a minute).

The magic number here is 100. It’s not about perfection; it’s about consistency, learning, and steady progress. Imagine dedicating yourself to writing 100 poems, painting 100 pictures, or knitting 100 sweaters. The journey from 1 to 100 is where the transformation happens.

And what I love about the idea of 100 hours, especially, is that we can break down to a daily ritual, it’s between 16-18 minutes a day to improve at whatever it is we want to get better at doing.

It can be tough to focus on 100 paintings (or to even keep track), or 100 sweaters, which will take ages to knit. And in fact, if you think of the fact that some sweaters take as long as 100 hours to knit, you can imagine that every single sweater you make will help you improve your skills by leaps and bounds.

But 16-18 minutes a day – that is manageable. It’s not an overwhelming number. In fact, when I’ve set goals to work on something creative every day, I am often waylaid by the fact that I feel like I don’t always have time. I bet you can relate to that. It’s tough to make room in your day for something that feels like a luxury or maybe feels frivolous in the context of the rest of your day.

But if you’ve been hanging out here with me for a while, then you know that creativity is good for keeping your stress in check and it’s good for your soul and it will improve your quality of life. So – if it feels frivolous, it’s not. But it still might be tricky to make space for it when other – seemingly more important things are pressing for your time and attention.

16-18 minutes a day, though? We could do that, right?

Let’s talk about a few ways we could apply this idea to some of the different kinds of creativity we’re pursuing, and I want to talk about each of these examples in two different ways: either completing 100 projects or focusing on 100 hours, breaking it down by the day.

If you’re a writer or a poet, you could commit to writing 100 short stories or poems or blog posts. You could mark it on the calendar every time you finish one or keep a binder so that you can see your hard work at the end. But we all know that writing a story or a poem or a blog post can take hours – or even days. I swear to you that every time I sit down to write a blog post, it takes me all darn day. Making that trip from 1 to 100 could take years, and it depending on your level of commitment, that might be longer than you feel like devoting to it.

But what if you were to just commit to working on your poems or stories or blog posts for 16-18 minutes a day? I know that doesn’t sound like very much, but those minutes add up. That consistency adds up. In one year, you will have devoted that magic number of 100 hours to that project. And over the course of that year, even just devoting that small amount of time each day, you will notice that your voice, style, and storytelling skills will evolve.

If painting is your medium, and your goal was to produce 100 pieces of art. How long might that take you? I am a newb to painting, but I can spend hours on something that I end up throwing away, so 100 finished pieces of art could feel pretty daunting. It would feel daunting to me. But if I told myself, INSTEAD of 100 finished pieces, what if devote 16-18 minutes a day to my painting hobby? Doesn’t that seem so much more manageable? I realize that progress will be incremental at that rate, but sometimes the thing that stands between us and what we want to do is that it feels overwhelming and too big. 16-18 minutes feels doable. It’s little. And if that small amount of daily commitment could help me reach a meaningful goal, then hey – that’s pretty great, right?

Let’s say you want to play guitar. You could set a goal to learn how to play 100 different songs. OR you could commit to practicing for less than 20 minutes a day for a year to get those 100 hours of practice.

Do you see how breaking down a goal into bite size portions feels so much more achievable?

I mean, everyone I know has a huge list of reasons why they can’t spend hours every day working on the thing they love. If only, right? Life gets in the way of our dreams sometimes. But most of us can scrape together 15-20 minutes, right? It can be something we do with our morning coffee or as part of our winding down routine at night.

You can improve at anything you set your mind to. You can learn a new skill, improve a skill you already have, or commit to expanding your creative practice with this approach.

Choose a skill you’d like to develop or improve. And think about ways you could break it down into 16-18 minute daily chunks. What I’ve learned by doing this podcast every day for a month is that routine really helps when you are working on a goal. Making a plan so that your daily practice becomes a natural part of your day will ensure that you make the time. And beyond that, it really will become second nature if you make it a priority. And after a few weeks it won’t seem like a big deal to set aside that little chunk of time to do the thing you want to do.

And find a way to track it – put on your calendar or make a daisy chain, whatever works for you. But seeing your consistency like that will really help, especially when you may not yet see the results you want in what you’re doing, but you’ll see your consistency. You’ll feel that personal pride that you are plugging away at it, a little at a time.

And don’t wait until you’ve finished the year and hit your 100 hours to celebrate. Celebrate every week that you were consistent. Every month that you hit your goal. Toot your own horn. I love this for us. We do not celebrate ourselves or each other nearly enough as adults, and I think that’s a shame. There is absolutely no reason you shouldn’t be thrilled with yourself for being consistent and making time for something that brings you joy.

There is plenty of hard, serious stuff that will come up in our lives; it’s unavoidable. But we can and should make time for something that lights us up. And even if all you can do is devote 16-18 minutes a day to improving your skills in some creative area that matters to you, that is better than nothing. Some days maybe you’ll be able to do more. By creating consistency in your practice you will always be in a state of growing and learning – two things that we should always be doing, no matter how old we get. If you’re still here, you still have things to learn and discover.

The Rule of 100 isn’t just about improving a skill; it’s about transforming your approach to creativity and life. It’s a way of fostering resilience and patience, and it invites you to make creativity a constant in your day. It’s less about where you arrive at the end and more about who you become along the way.

If something you are longing to do feels too big, try the rule of 100 to squeeze incremental progress into your days.

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Until next time, my friend – you’ve got this.

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