The 20 M.A.D Challenge

It’s that time again where I’m brainstorming my goals for the New Year. To be completely honest, I really enjoy this practice. I realized early in November it was almost time to goal-set, and my mind started bursting with creativity.

2020 was a good year for my goals. COVID-19 put a dent in some of what I set out to accomplish, but a couple of my goals were massive successes.

For the twelve goals I set, five were failures. One wasn’t in the books financially and three I could have accomplished if it weren’t for the pandemic (it’s difficult to play a hundred shows and earn extra money playing shows when concerts aren’t legal…). The last two goals I lost interest in and didn’t pursue.

Of the five goals I accomplished, three yielded the results I expected and two blew my expectations out of the water. 

The last goal was a wash. It wasn’t a success, but it wasn’t a failure.

This year I’m going about my goal-setting process a bit differently. Rather than setting a short list of huge goals, I’m writing a longer list of different sized goals. Some are major projects, others are simply to integrate practices or to save money to buy certain items. This year I’m also writing a list of steps I need to take in order to accomplish these goals. The “how list” as I call it, seems obvious, but this year will be the first time I incorporate it.  

One practice I’ve used over the last several years that I’ll continue using in 2021 is the 20 M.A.D Challenge. In 2017 I made it a goal to practice guitar for 20 Minutes A Day, every single day. Other than one day I missed on accident (it still haunts me) I accomplished this goal. Through the process, I transformed my playing. 

The magic of the 20 M.A.D Challenge is that it’s easy to accomplish. If I were to tell you to practice three hours a day, you wouldn’t even try. 20 Minutes A Day is practically the blink of an eye, but if you add up all those minutes over the year, you’ll have practiced for over 120 hours.

Another magical facet of the 20 M.A.D Challenge is that it lowers the barrier to entry, which often leads to more practice. It’s easy to sit down for 20 minutes. It’s even easier to continue practicing for the next hour. 

To record my practice, I follow the “Seinfeld Method for Excellence.”

1. I buy a big wall calendar that shows the entire year on a single page.

2. Every day I practice I put a big red X on that day.

3. After a while I develop a chain of Xs. My primary focus is to keep the chain unbroken.

For several years I just bought wall calendars off Amazon, but last year I thought I’d design my own. I liked how it turned out, so I made another one for 2021.

If you’re brave enough to take on the 20 M.A.D challenge in 2021, this calendar can help you. 

Whether you buy my calendar doesn’t really matter, but if you want to transform your skills, the 20 M.A.D Challenge will do it for you.

While I’m already in the habit of working out, practicing guitar and training Jiu Jitsu almost every day, my 20 M.A.D challenge for 2021 is to practice dry-fire. I’m excited to see how much my shooting will have improved by the end of the year.

If you’re brave enough to undertake the 20 M.A.D Challenge, post in the comments what you’re going to commit to practicing in 2021.

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