Habits and Goals

One of the pieces of advice stressed most often by successful YouTube creators and YouTube’s own staff is to upload consistently. Whether your upload schedule is weekly or daily, the algorithm and audiences both seem to reward creators who upload on a predictable schedule and rarely deviate from it. However, one of the most often-heard complaint from YouTube creators is that they find it difficult to upload consistently, citing a lack of time, resources, or ideas to make the habit into a reality.

Why is it so hard to create habits that can help fulfill our goals?

One of the easiest traps to fall into is believing that motivation and habits are the same thing, or that habits rely on our motivation. In truth, habits are a way to bypass motivation and keep working on the things we want (or more often, habits have us working on the things we don’t want, like bad health or weight gain) through sheer repetition and the brain’s ability to stop actively thinking about doing something the more you do it.

Have you ever gotten to work and can’t for the life of you remember leaving the house, driving down the highway, or walking into the building? That’s the force of habit. The things we’ve hard-wired our brains to do on auto-pilot, often through nothing but the sheer force of repetition, can create neural pathways so strong that we are freed up to think about and do other things while those habitual processes are taking place.

Since the overarching advice about YouTube is to be consistent, and the easiest way to build a habit is through repetition, it should be a no-brainer to simply build a habit of making videos. The upload schedule you decide on can determine the rest of the habit, and if you are able to build in a backlog of video content, you can even create built-in wiggle room for those days where circumstances don’t allow you to keep up the habit for that day.

If you reverse-engineer from your upload schedule, factoring in your other scheduling conflicts, a filming and editing schedule should be able to emerge. Work Monday-Friday from 8-6? What does your weekend look like? Would you be able to carve out a few hours on Saturday mornings for filming and Sunday afternoons for editing? Are you a daily vlogger? Can you set out an hour each day for finding new, interesting activities to film and create a one-week cushion between filming and uploading to accommodate an editing schedule?

While it may seem impossible to stick with a regular upload schedule at first, it’s no more difficult than taking on a new job and working out what it will take to commute there, perform your daily tasks, and work on long-term goals. The main thing is to not give up and realize that most of it can happen through good habits that you build up at the beginning of the process.

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