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.




  • stuck in a rut – remaining in the same negative situation in life
  • dwell – live in or at a specified place
  • from scratch – from the very beginning, especially without making use of or relying on any previous work for assistance
  • deprive – lacking a specified benefit that is considered important
  • sustainable – able to be maintained at a certain rate or level


Think about it

Decide whether the statements below are True or False.

  • Matt decided to try something new for 30 days because he had been feeling unhappy.
  • Matt discovered that time flew by quickly.
  • Matt started to bike to work because he didn’t find it fun.
  • When you write a novel you’ll end up sleep-deprived.
  • Small challenges will not stick for long.


Practice makes perfect

Fill in the blank spaces with the missing words. Use ONE word per blank space.

A few years ago, I felt like I was ________ in a rut, so I decided to follow ________ the footsteps of the great American philosopher, Morgan Spurlock, and try something new for 30 days. ________idea is actually pretty simple. Think about something you’ve always wanted to add to your life and try it ________ 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 ________ 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 — ________ fun. Even last year, I ended up hiking up Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. I would never have ________ 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. ________ you ever wanted to write a novel? Every November, 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. ________ the way, the secret is not to go to sleep until you ________ 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 ________ a month. It’s awful. 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.”


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