As I mentioned earlier, my friend and I are doing a picture-a-day challenge this October. We were inspired by an older TED talk by Matt Cutts titled appropriately, "Try Something New For 30 Days." You do something, or take something away, for 30 days- like write a novel, stop eatting sugar, etc. If you've always wanted to learn to sew, well choose to sew every day for the next 30 days.
Along the same vein, I recently read an article on Life Hacker titled, "How Seinfeld’s Productivity Secret Fixed My Procrastination Problem." it suggests you spend some amount of time doing a desired activity every day. Instead of putting off cleaning your house, decide to spend 15 minutes each day cleaning something and before you know it, you're house will be clean and more importantly- it will stay that way.
What both the video and the article have in common is that you're taking a big problem/desire/goal and breaking it down into a bunch of little problems/tasks. Micromanagement.
You've always wanted to learn French. Well if you're like me, you'll buy a big textbook on Amazon and be really excited for a week, spending an hour or two each day studying it. And then, never pick it up again. I've taken on too much and I burn out. But how about learning a word a day instead?
As I mentioned before, I've been hoping to create more content instead of consume it. Well doing a big art project every day is hardly sustainable. But a photo-a-day? Whether I take the time to go to a forrest preserve with my handy-dandy DSLR like I did today or I stay at home and take an iPhone pic with my dog- well that sounds reasonable. I can do it and I will do it and when it's all over, I'm going to be a bit closer to my goal of creating more content.
Furthermore, as Matt Cutts mentions in his mini-lecture, instead of time passing by in a blur, these little projects give you an anchor, a goal that keeps you grounded. I will know exactly where I was and how I felt when I look at the picture above. Perhaps that is the greatest reward of all.