Matt Shelley

Commitment: Weekly Posts

August 19, 2020

When I began this blog, I publicly committed to writing one post per week. I knew it would be a challenge, but I agreed to that challenge.

I know I need to help myself keep going. By extension, I hope I can help others keep going. So, I plan to write one short post per week on software development and self-improvement to support continuous improvement.

Well, this week, I have inevitably struggled to write a blog post. Gasp!

I know it’s only Wednesday, but the rest of my week is booked, leaving just a few hours today for this post. But hey, that’s life. Some weeks we may have all the time in the world, and others we may struggle to find an hour or two. It is hard to commit to a weekly goal.

Recently, my manager and I discussed this exact problem. A few years ago, he wrote one post per week for a full year. He recommended pushing through each week even if it meant “phoning in” some posts. He encouraged me to keep up the momentum. Better yet, he suggested building a backlog of posts to cover the weeks where life gets difficult—because there will be hard weeks.

I love that idea. If I can push through writing one post per week, then I can increase the momentum to write more than one post per week and build up a backlog. From there, I can even release posts on a regular schedule.

So simple, yet so impactful.

Now, let’s be realistic here. No one will be upset if I don’t write a post this week. I mean, I will, but no one else. The worst that will happen is I will feel bad, try to work harder next time, and maybe damage my quarterly goal at work. But, that is no excuse to throw away a commitment that is important to me.

Similarly, I could argue nothing bad will happen if I don’t eat well or exercise today. Yet, I think it’s important to eat well and exercise often to be healthy.

To me, writing this post during a busy week is like working out for 10 minutes when every fibre of your body tells you to skip exercise today. It’s easy to quit just one day, but when you push through anyway you keep up the momentum, you keep up the discipline. Those 10 minutes of exercise may feel insignificant, but they kept you going. In that sense, those insignificant days are important. Like following through on regular exercise, I believe following through on my weekly posts will enable me to reach my personal goals.

I believe that discipline builds success.

Today, I am writing because I want to be a Technical Lead, because I want to create great software and great software developers, because I want to support others through their struggles, because I want to support myself through my struggles, because I want something more.

It’s not the post that matters. It’s committing to a larger goal.

Matt Shelley
Writing about software development and self-improvement