This was originally posted as a comment in response to this post from my good friend Chris Schilling. It has been suggested by him that I should repost it here. So here it is:
I’m going to say something that may come across as harsh here. I’ve had a bad day, so the sweeteners might not be applied. Apologies in advance.
One A Day is a great concept BECAUSE it’s difficult. Because not everyone will complete it. Because if you miss just one, it’s hard to get back on that horse.
The problem with diluting the concept is just what some other commenters have said – it just becomes a community of bloggers looking for a hook. And the desire to make this all more inclusive for people who have lapsed and don’t feel they can come back at present, would only lead to more apathy, imo – the direct opposite of the intention.
There is absolutely nothing to stop One A Dayers who haven’t written for a bit to start the habit again, save for the feeling that they’re somehow now only phoney participants (they’re not). There’s no reason for anyone to feel that they have to do it, that their lives will suddenly be over if they miss an entry.
But the dilution idea strikes me – rather topically, given that the General Election was announced today – that it could be the same kind of mistake that was unleashed when the Government decided that everyone can and should leave school at the age of 16 with the same bit of paper. In seeking to include everyone, what happens in practice is that you get rid of the peaks and troughs and individuality and challenge that exist in everyone’s lives. And you suddenly find that you’ve unintentionally devalued the system.
Yes, One A Day is difficult. You’re not beholden to it. But that challenge is why it was a good idea in the first place. People wanted to stretch themselves, wanted to see if they could manage it. One A Week Maybe If You Want To Perhaps But Don’t Worry About It just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
It’s the London Marathon very soon, right? Some will run it. Some will jog. Some will walk. Some will dress up in chicken costumes. Some will faint and end up in the back of an ambulance. Many will succeed. Many will fail. But nobody gets to do 20 miles or 10 or 5 or however much they want to. They’re all out there to do 26, cos that’s the game. You don’t have to “win”, just taking part – testing yourself – is achievement enough.
But without that challenge, that marker in place, the taking part would mean considerably less than it does.
I wholeheartedly support the idea of a central “hub” for links to everyone’s posts. But I signed up for the challenge because I’m a stubborn git. No matter how far through the year I get, I’ll have learnt something about myself. If the concept had been weaker from day one, that wouldn’t be the case.