Try Something New

Published: 7.24.2017
Level 4   |   Time: 3:27
Accent: American
Source: TED

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.


triangle Directions

  1. REVIEW the vocabulary / background.
  2. WATCH the video.
  3. ANSWER the questions.
  4. CHECK your answers. (Show Answers)

triangle Vocabulary

  • stuck in a rut [exp] - stuck in a bad habit or low point in life
  • follow in the footsteps [exp] - do something the same way
  • fly by [v] - pass quickly
  • memorable [adj] - easy to remember
  • desk-dwelling [exp] - spending a lot of time behind a desk
  • from scratch [exp] - starting with nothing
  • it turns out [exp] - the surprising result is
  • sleep-deprived [exp] - lacking sleep
  • novelist [n] - person who writes novels
  • mention [v] - say quickly
  • sustainable [adj] - able to continue
  • to stick [v] - to become habits
  • gave up [v] - stopped using
  • guarantee [v] - promise

[n] - noun,  [v] - verb,  [phv] - phrasal verb,  [adj] - adjective,  [exp] - expression

triangle Questions

  1. Why did Matt decide to do?
    search for Morgan Spurlock
    follow Morgan Spurlock
    copy Morgan Spurlock
    look for Morgan Spurlock's footsteps

  2. Why did Matt decide to do that?
    He was stuck in his house.
    He was stuck in the ground.
    He was stuck in his job.
    He was not able to start new habits.

  3. What did he do?
    tried something new for 13 days
    tried something new for 30 days
    tried something new for 33 days
    gave up

  4. That time is the perfect amount to do what?
    change a habit
    add a habit
    delete a habit
    try a habit

  5. What was the first thing he learned?
    The time was memorable.
    The time was less memorable.
    The time seemed longer.
    The time seemed shorter.

  6. What else started to grow?
    trees he planted
    his self - care
    his self - confidence

  7. What change happened to him?
    computuer job to bike job
    bike job to computer job
    passive to active
    active to passive

  8. Where is Mount Kilimanjaro?

  9. Every November tens of thousands of people try to write their own…..
    5,000 word novel
    15,000 word novel
    50,000 word novel
    55,000 word novel

  10. What is the secret to finishing the novel?
    Sleep every day.
    Sleep before you write.
    Write before you sleep.
    Don't sleep.

  11. What is the key to continuing your habits?
    Make small changes.
    Make sustainable changes.
    Make big changes.
    Make fast changes.

triangle Script


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. For fun!




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? 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. 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. 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."




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.





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