How’s It Going, Incremental? (my word for 2012)


“There’s a hard work alternative to the magic lottery, one in which you can incrementally lay the groundwork …” Seth Godin

I chose incremental after I told my son, “I’ve never in my life done anything incrementally.”

This year seemed like a good time to start.

Especially after decades of frenzied writing, exercise, organizing closets and cabinets, you name it, followed by nothing – a month or two or three of what our daughter calls the ploms (poor little ‘ole mes).

I’d wear myself out, which is a surefire way to end up feeling sorry for myself, especially when the whirlwind of work doesn’t instantly produce a book deal, the loss of 13 pounds, or a home that’s in perfect order.

I looked forward to the day I’d settle down and practice daily action that adds up to big goals.

Incremental living is turning out to be easier than I thought, probably because I’ve gotten help at every hang-up. God works like that, you know. When we seriously commit to a lifestyle change, he opens floodgates or at least a spigot depending on what we can handle, and change seems possible, even probable.

Jeff Goins’ blog post confirms that when our writing shows up everywhere, it’s more about the habit of writing daily than one post going viral. He walks writers through an incremental series called 15 Habits of Great Writers. It’d be good for anyone who wants to accomplish anything. Just commit an hour of your day for the next two weeks and substitute writing with your art/goal.

Chris Guillebeau offers his book for free, although I’d pay just because of the title, 279 Days to Overnight Success.

Seth Godin’s post about choosing incremental work over magical solutions (like winning the lottery) showed up when I was searching another topic. How gift-like is it that he used the word incremental, almost like it was written for me, except it’s from 2010 so guess not.

Here’s my part, what I’ve done with the information so far.

  • I returned to an exercise routine that includes Zumba, Pilates and walking. My goal is to do at least one of these six days a week. So far, I usually accomplish one at least four times a week.
  • I participated in Jeff Goins’ 15 Habits for Great Writers, and I’ve read everything I linked to in this blog post and more, as well as listening in on two webinars about writing and marketing.
  • I write daily and my goal is to complete a blog post a day so I have a backlog. By the end of the year, I want to have a regular posting schedule.
  • I read daily, something every writer (and everyone else) should do, but previously I was not committed.

My additional goals for 2012 include work and play, to write toward a book, and visit our mountain home once a month.

Did you choose a word for 2012, or maybe a lifestyle change? If so, how’s it going?

WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – Some days I feel like I’m in a circus and juggling lots of plates on sticks. However, incremental living is only accomplished by focusing on one at a time.

On the side: Thanks for the reminder to check on my word, artist Kelly Rae Roberts.



10 responses »

  1. I go back and forth with this. I try a routine for awhile until life disrupts it or I am exhausted trying to follow my schedule! Then I go to the other extreme of “living by the Spirit.” Sometimes it works for me and sometimes it doesn’t. My word for this year is “intentional.” Thanks for reminding me that I had a word! I also have a picture. It’s the scene of Peter and John running to the tomb with great expectation of seeing the risen Lord by Eugene Burnand. I want to live intentionally and expectantly. I guess incrementally is in there too…living intentionally and expectantly one day at a time.

    • I really like combining the two words, Andy. I also want to lived intentionally. It reminds me of being “write where i’m supposed to be,” living in the moment, being where my feet are … all that good stuff that I don’t do so well. Thanks to you for that reminder.

  2. Kim,
    You inspire me. I like that word “incremental” all the more now after reading your post.
    And, yes, I chose a word for 2012: Trust.
    And it was just the right word for this year.
    I had no idea why that was the word for the year, but seven months in, I know why. And I’ve got five months to go.

    • I love your word, Beth. You were one of the bloggers who inspired me to choose a word this year. Your word certainly has fit your year so far, with the fire and evacuation. Happy you chose trust … no coincidences, are there?

    • So happy you’re back to yoga, Heather. After finding the yoga/drunk poster, I’ll never think of it quite the same. Lol. I’m doing my best at incremental living in 2012. Reading your blog sure helps!

  3. We call it the churn factor in architecture, when there are gaps between decisions, approvals, reviews, managing several projects or tasks at once. There are often lost energies, synergies, efficiencies, impetus, morale, and good will and reputation that are affected by “incrementalism” We also have a phrase in architecture called ” disjointed incrementalism” describing increments that do not fit a master plan, in a community, neighborhood, campus, development regarding divergent or cacophonous styles. Kim, We always love your writing, and appreciate the depth of inspiration it brings. Thanks also for the references and introductions to Jeff Goins blog posts and book.

    • I had no idea incremental had so much to do with architecture, Joel, but it makes sense.

      Isn’t Jeff’s writing the best? I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by him so far. As always, thanks for being a great supporter of my blog.

  4. reminds about somewhere – can’t remember the source the habits of highly effective people…my incremental seems to follow the line of writing the 5 most important things I need to do each day…in order of priority…and if I don’t complete, repeat and re-list for the following day…I get more done and find out often things I don’t need to get done as quickly…love the term incremental…think of you with it when I feel overwhelmed! thanks for sharing!

    • I really like that idea, Linda. Writing down the top 5 things to complete for the day. I write lists daily and sometimes I follow the top 5 rule, but not always. That’d be helpful to keep in mind every day. Thanks!

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