I just completed the inktober challenge yesterday and I’m about to embark upon the “blogvember” or “NaBloPoMo” (or whatever you choose to call it). I know I’m not alone in attempting this or similar challenges so I thought my first post should be about the challenge – meta, I know.

Be kind to yourself.

With challenges like this, or starting a new habit, it’s very easy to get into all or nothing mindsets: To think that we must do the best everyday.

When we inevitably fail, in some minor or major way, we beat ourselves up and condemn ourselves as worthless. “I’ll never be able to do it! I couldn’t even keep it up for three days.” So, we just stop and feel bad.

This is the wrong approach.

Spoiler; it doesn’t matter if you miss one day of a thirty day challenge. You’ve still done 29 days more. You can catch up later, or not. The point isn’t to do every day, it’s to do more.

James Clear in his book Atomic Habits advises the “rule of two”. Basically, don’t miss two occasions in a row. It’s a useful mindset to help a habit going. But I also like CGP Grey’s comment on Hello Internet where he talks about the meta skill of restarting a habit fast.

If you miss a day, identify why (I was driving on Wednesday evening when I would normally do my inktober sketch) and think of a way to get round it (for example, do my next sketch in the morning. Make note when I’m traveling this month and make sure I can find a different time instead).

And importantly, start again.

These challenges should be fun experiment not a guilt trip.

Be kind to yourself this November (and all the time).