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Time to grow again (or loose money)

Posted on 19/8/08 by Felix Geisendörfer

Hey folks,

Update: I have decided to allow myself to write my posts for the weekend the night before and have them auto-published. Otherwise my girlfriend is going to kill me ; ).

life is good. Back in late 2006 I set myself some very challenging goals. Among them were things like wanting to make 2500 EUR / month (at that point I made ~300 EUR), buy myself a fancy laptop and find the girl of my dreams. As I'm writing this in late 2008 I achieved all of the above by far. However, there were also things that I didn't achieve on that list. Among them the habit to pick up regular blogging, gym workouts and establish a substantial amount of passive income. For a while I thought I was close to achieving these goals. I even got up at 5am every day for several weeks and went on an early morning run. However, at some point I got off track : ).

That being said, I've been really frustrated as off late with my lack of personal growth. I've done an okay job at keeping up with most of my duties, moved into my first own place here in Berlin and done some cool things on occasion. But I feel its time to do the move from doing "okay" to exceptional again. And after several unsuccessful attempts at increasing my discipline about it, here is a new one:

Two things I've been really bad about for a while is getting up early and regular blogging. Every day I'm reminded of those failures and its a constant source of distraction in my mind. So instead of empty promises of improvement, I decided to set up punishments and safety guards for all my goals from now on. As far as the two things just mentioned go, here is my offer:

I will pay EUR 50,- every time I fail to do a daily blog post before 9am CET / Germany to the person who first notices for the next 30 days.

So if you notice the lack of a blog post one day, email me at and CC so I can't cheat. Participants need to have a German bank account or PayPal.

I will also keep everybody updated on failures so I get the punishment of loosing my face in public as well. If I get sick that is no excuse. However, since I'll be traveling I'm allowed to publish blog posts in advance up to 3 times as long as I announce why it is impossible to do a post before 9am the following day.

The 30 day trial period is basically so I don't break down and cry somewhere along the way if I notice I run out of material to publish. But I also like the idea of having the option to re-evaluate if I can move on to a more challenging public promise after this one.

Feedback is more than welcome, and wish me luck for tomorrow since I still have a bunch of stuff to do and its getting late here ; ).

-- Felix Geisendörfer aka the_undefined


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rafaelbandeira3 said on Aug 20, 2008:

Hope you don't miss a single buck on that bet, so I and CakePHP's community will have a lot of good things to read!

Steve Oliveira said on Aug 20, 2008:

Lol, that's a pretty crazy way to motivate yourself. It's extremely hard to discipline yourself when you're freelancing, at least for me it is, and I notice there's a difference in motivation. External motivation is a lot more powerful than internal motivation. When it comes down to making deadlines, paying bills, etc.. I'm able to get the job done. This is all external motivation, things beyond my control. Internal motivation, like blogging, reading up on new technologies, tuning my skills, etc., I find a lot harder to get. I guess it's a matter of forming good habits. Getting up early and sticking to schedule should help with internal motivation, but it has to become a habit.

Good luck with your plans, I don't want you to pay me 50 euros =)

Edmunds said on Aug 20, 2008:

I'd say getting up early for a morning run is a lot more important than posting something in your blog.

Lucian Lature  said on Aug 20, 2008:

I don't know what to say about this...Big risk! What about a cake in your face everytimne you forget to blog?...:))

Tim Koschützki said on Aug 20, 2008:

Steve Oliveira: Don't bother, I'll take it. : )

Christoph Tavan said on Aug 20, 2008:

Damn, so I gotta get up early now if I want to earn money, heh? But seriously: Good luck for your plans, your blog definately is the greatest resource for CakeBakers on the net, I'm looking forward to it!

Daniel Hofstetter said on Aug 20, 2008:

Wouldn't it be more effective to use a strategy not based on "punishment"? At least for me it is not very motivating to do something out of fear of punishment...

Anyway, good luck with your challenge :)

Felix Geisendörfer said on Aug 20, 2008:

Daniel Hofstetter: I'm experimenting with different checks & balances strategies for different goals. As far as waking up early in the morning goes I was unable to motivate myself otherwise for a while : ).

Aitch  said on Aug 20, 2008:

This is the wrong way to set a goal, you are creating an obligation on yourself when it sounds like it perhaps is not something that is truly important to you. Your blog should be something you want to create.

Figure out your long term vision for your life and focus on those things that take you towards that goal. If it transpires blogging is part of that, then so be it.

PS Try Robert Fritz's "Your Life As Art" for the creation process.

Felix Geisendörfer said on Aug 20, 2008:

Aitch: There is no right or wrong in archiving your goals. I know the long term vision of my life and I'm inspired by and enjoy the process of blogging a lot. My brain is just stuck in some unproductive / distracting patterns right now and this is my way to free myself out of it.

Personal growth isn't just as easy as saying this is what I want to do, being all inspired and watching everything happening by itself. I don't buy into that. It is true for some things one wants to achieve in life. But trying to break with bad habits (for me sleeping in late and blogging on a irregular basis, for others it may be smoking) isn't that easy ; ).

Daniel Hofstetter said on Aug 20, 2008:

@Felix: I think the easiest way to become an early riser is to go to bed early. Everything else is done by your body, it awakes you automatically if you got the sleep you needed.

Felix Geisendörfer said on Aug 20, 2008:

Daniel Hofstetter: My body has decided that it's a good idea to approach a 9h of sleep average by always going back to sleep after the alarm went off. I decided that my body is not functioning properly and lacks discipline ... ;).

Nate Abele said on Aug 20, 2008:

@Daniel Hofstetter & Aitch: You're looking at this the wrong way. It may look like a punishment, but actually, Felix is inviting accountability into his goals, which is a powerful way to achieve anything.

Bruno Bergher said on Aug 20, 2008:

Good luck on this process, Felix.
Just please don't allow the fear of punishment drive you to write posts below your average quality, just because 'you gotta do it'. The whole thing could turn back against you. : )

NOSLOW said on Aug 20, 2008:

How about some positive re-enforcement: add a "buy me a beer" link (much cooler than a "donate" link ;) at the end of each post so that if people find value in your blog post, they can easily reward you.

Justin said on Aug 20, 2008:

I don't see anything wrong with punishing yourself for not getting a post out considering it's only for a short time period. I look forward to reading your next 30 (hopefully) posts!

Nik Chankov said on Aug 21, 2008:

Punishment is painful way to grow. But I also regret that I lost this selfmotivation to force my self :(

Good luck with the challenge, but as far I can see from the update above is that you found a way to trick your own rules. Be a man, wake up 5AM and start writing. People setting auto publisher are loosers :))

SayB said on Sep 01, 2008:

Nice idea! Only you yourself know best about yourself. My experience is that jogging / walking in the morning or evening is directly related to your sleep cycle. It really helps in establishing a good sleep cycle when you're working out. And it's "healthy" sleep. Although I got carried away and first left working out in the evenings, then my sleep cycle returned to it's "un-healthy" normal self :( - Workout is the best medicine for insomniacs like me :P

So don't forget to workout in the evening or mornings if you wanna get a good healthy sleep, and good luck !

Fahad Ibnay Heylaal said on Sep 03, 2008:

looking forward to reading more articles on cakephp :)

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