October 26

Essential Strategies to Overcome Your “3-Day Monk” Challenges


Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going~Sam Levenson
Have you ever started something with a hiss and a roar and you were absolutely on fire, nothing could waver or stop you?  Then a funny thing started happening a few days, weeks or even month in; you start slacking.  First a corner here and there, then a short-cut, then no attention or action for a wee while.  And before long you canned the whole thing and found the next shiny thing to get super excited about.  Ever had this experience?  I know I have.  It is called a “3-day monk” syndrome.  The term “3-day monk” has come to mean someone that gets obsessed with something in the short-term, but quickly loses interest in the long run. And it could be with anything, whether a high-level of interest in a new blog, learning an instrument or language, or any new hobby.

What happens is we genuinely have a lot of interest out of the gate, but yet get little accomplished. You can’t get in great shape by exercising for 5 days. You also can’t learn to play the piano or speak French in a similar amount of time.  And because most people are results driven, meaning we need to see some progress for our efforts to stay motivated, we tend to fade a bit once our endevours do not yield the desired results as quickly as expected.

If you want to make meaningful progress with something, it’s important to show up every day. You don’t have to spend hours each day, but you need to put forth some effort on a consistent basis.  So today, I want to show you a few Essential Strategies to Overcome Your “3-Day Monk” Challenges that you can apply in your life to finally achieve the results you desire.

These few simple ideas will make it easier to beat the 3-day monk challenge:

  1. Start with something you genuinely enjoy. These are voluntary activities, so choose something that you love to do. It’s far easier to be successful if you don’t have to use discipline or brute force to get yourself to follow through. Willpower only works in the short-term.
  • Start with an activity that has always interested you, but for one reason or another, you never followed through on it.
  1. Keep a positive attitude. Having doubts is part of being human. However, they will often go away with a little time. Just forge ahead and leave the doubt behind.
  • Do one more day and see how you feel tomorrow. You might find that you feel great tomorrow. It would be a shame to waste a day.
  1. Do it every day. If possible, spend some time each day on your new activity. Developing a new habit is much easier with a daily activity than with something that is only done once or twice a week.
  • Even if it’s just for a few minutes, it can really make a huge difference in sticking with it.
  1. Go slowly. It’s very challenging to suddenly add 60 minutes of say exercise to your life every day. Fifteen minutes a day this week and 20 minutes a day next week usually works better than three hours on day one. Set a schedule that supports that idea and you’ll be ahead of the game.
  2. Just get started. There are going to be days when you simply don’t want to do the thing you want to do. A great way to salvage the situation is to tell yourself that you only have to do 10 minutes.  Just keep moving forward.
  • Planning for only 10 minutes makes it easier to get started, and once you’ve put in your 10 minutes, you’ll likely continue for even longer.  The principle is however that little movement done consistently is much more valuable than huge chunks of progress ever now and again.  Keep in mind the old fable of the tortoise and hare.
  1. Keep the ‘why’ in mind. It’s easy to be focused on the grind of daily practice, but you can quickly lose motivation this way. Always return to the source of your motivation, which is usually the end result.
  • Focus on the end picture, and your motivation will return.

Listen, just because you have a history of being a “3-day monk” doesn’t mean you have to continue down that path. Today is a new day, or could be one, and you can choose to do things differently. You past does not need to predict your future.  Make a new decision here today.  Decide, take the first step, dig in and keep going.

Those that are successful consistently put in the time to create meaningful progress.  It will be no different for you.  Success leaves clues and this is one of them. 

Short-term, intense action is rarely the right tactic for accomplishing something that requires a significant amount of learning. Take it easy on yourself. Start slowly with an activity that you truly love, and the key is perseverance.  Just keep going.

I hope I served you today!

Please leave your comments and questions below and I will personally respond to them.


3 day monk, 3 day monk syndrome, perseverance, persevere

About the author
Gideon Hanekom

Gideon Hanekom is a relationship coach and the creator of The Relationship Guy – a Top Marriage Coaching and Relationship Advice Blog that helps married couples create healthier relationships. He is a trained professional counsellor and one of New Zealand’s top relationship bloggers and coaches. He’s been happily married for over fourteen years and is a dad of two.​ He also holds Bachelor and Master degrees in the field of Theology and is currently studying post-graduate Psychology at Massey University.

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