Matt Cutts: Try something new for 30 days
March 3, 2011
Is there something you've always meant to do, wanted to do, but just ... haven't? Matt Cutts suggests: Try it for 30 days. This short, lighthearted talk offers a neat way to think about setting and achieving goals.Matt Cutts
Matt Cutts is an engineer at Google, where he fights linkspam and helps webmasters understand how search works. Full bio
Double-click the English subtitles below to play the video.
A few years ago,
I felt like I was stuck in a rut,
so I decided to follow in the footsteps
of the great American philosopher, Morgan Spurlock,
and try something new for 30 days.
The idea is actually pretty simple.
Think about something you've always wanted to add to your life
and try it for the next 30 days.
It turns out,
30 days is just about the right amount of time
to add a new habit or subtract a habit --
like watching the news --
from your life.
There's a few things I learned while doing these 30-day challenges.
The first was,
instead of the months flying by, forgotten,
the time was much more memorable.
This was part of a challenge I did to take a picture every day for a month.
And I remember exactly where I was
and what I was doing that day.
I also noticed
that as I started to do more and harder 30-day challenges,
my self-confidence grew.
I went from desk-dwelling computer nerd
to the kind of guy who bikes to work --
Even last year, I ended up hiking up Mt. Kilimanjaro,
the highest mountain in Africa.
I would never have been that adventurous
before I started my 30-day challenges.
I also figured out
that if you really want something badly enough,
you can do anything for 30 days.
Have you ever wanted to write a novel?
tens of thousands of people
try to write their own 50,000-word novel from scratch
in 30 days.
It turns out, all you have to do
is write 1,667 words a day
for a month.
So I did.
By the way, the secret is not to go to sleep
until you've written your words for the day.
You might be sleep-deprived,
but you'll finish your novel.
Now is my book the next great American novel?
No. I wrote it in a month.
But for the rest of my life,
if I meet John Hodgman at a TED party,
I don't have to say,
"I'm a computer scientist."
No, no, if I want to, I can say, "I'm a novelist."
So here's one last thing I'd like to mention.
I learned that when I made small, sustainable changes,
things I could keep doing,
they were more likely to stick.
There's nothing wrong with big, crazy challenges.
In fact, they're a ton of fun.
But they're less likely to stick.
When I gave up sugar for 30 days,
day 31 looked like this.
So here's my question to you:
What are you waiting for?
I guarantee you the next 30 days
are going to pass
whether you like it or not,
so why not think about something
you have always wanted to try
and give it a shot
for the next 30 days.
Matt Cutts is an engineer at Google, where he fights linkspam and helps webmasters understand how search works.Why you should listen
Matt Cutts works on search at Google, specializing in search optimization. He's a friendly and public face for helping webmasters understand how Google's search actually works, making hundreds of videos that answer questions about SEO. (SearchEngineLand made this handy chart of all of them.) He's an advocate for cutting down on poor practice such as link spam. He also wrote the first version of SafeSearch, Google’s family filter.
Read about all of Cutts' "30 days" adventures here >>
The original video is available on TED.com