Is there something you’ve been wanting to change about your life, but you just haven’t gotten around to it? If so, have you ever tried a 30-Day Challenge? Since discovering this approach, I now find it easier than ever to create and stick with a new positive habit.
We’ve all been in that place where we’ve decided to change a habit – whether it’s getting rid of a bad habit or starting a healthy habit. We typically stick to the change for a few days or longer, and then something happens. We get off track. We stop doing the new habit, we give up, and that’s the end of it. We’re back into our usual routine of daily living – our good old familiar comfort zone.
Starting today, let’s make a new habit and let’s make it stick. Have your notebook ready to write things down and then follow these 7 tips to set yourself up for success:
- Choose something small and easy to fit into your daily routine.
Think of where you are now, and then think of a small step you can take to bring you to the next level. If you want to improve your fitness level, but you don’t currently have an exercise routine, don’t decide that you’re going to run 10 miles every day and then win a marathon next month. For this challenge, you’re not aiming for a big, spectacular outcome. The point is to train yourself how to start a new daily practice in the direction of your goal. What matters is that you’ll see yourself as the type of person who makes a plan and then sticks to it.
- Choose something that’s important to you.
It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks you should or shouldn’t be doing. Pick something you care about. Be clear on the reasons why you’re choosing this particular habit.
- Write a short description of your new habit and tie it to your current routine.
Be specific. Don’t say, I’m going to improve my fitness. That’s vague and too hard to measure. Here are a few specific examples… I will eat an apple every morning before I leave the house. I’m connecting the action of eating the apple to something I do every morning – leave the house. Another example: I will do a minimum of 30 sit-ups every morning before I brush my teeth. One more: I will meditate for 1 minute every evening before bed.
- Have a plan for dealing with obstacles.
Think about how you’ll deal with obstacles that may cause you to ‘not’ follow-through with your daily practice. It could be things like: I’m in a rush. I slept in. I don’t have time. I didn’t get the groceries. I’m too tired. My kids need me to drive them somewhere. You get the point, right? Write down all the potential obstacles and then think about how you can overcome them. Maybe you’ll let your family know that you’re doing this challenge and it’s important to you. If you’re doing the apple a day habit, for example, plan ahead and make sure you have a good supply of apples available at all times.
- Keep track of how you’re doing with your new habit.
Use your notebook or a calendar to record your progress and make notes on how your feeling as you go along.
- Reward yourself.
Congratulate yourself every time you complete your new daily habit. Do this and you’ll notice that your confidence level will start to grow.
- When you get off track, don’t give up. Start again right away.
Keep in mind that it’s normal to have days where you get off track, and that’s okay. The important thing is to pick it up again where you left off. Don’t give up and quit part-way through. If you have an ‘off’ day, get back into the challenge right away.
I wrote this article not only to challenge you, but to challenge myself as well. I’m going to do the Challenge and what I’ve chosen to do is ‘sit-ups’. I used to do sit-ups regularly and when I was doing them daily, I felt stronger and more centered, but somewhere along the way, I got out of the habit. Every once in a while, I think to myself, I’d really like to start doing my sit-ups again, but then something always comes up and I don’t bother.
Therefore, for the next 30 days, I am making a commitment to myself to do a minimum of 30 sit-ups every day. For me, it’s an easy goal (and that’s what matters). It’ll take me just a few minutes to do. I already know how to do them properly. I’ve done them before. I’ll make it part of my morning routine, while I’m getting ready for work. To help me remember to do them each day, I’ll connect it in my mind to a habit I already have – like brushing my teeth every morning.
My new daily habit is as follows: I’ll do 30 sit-ups before I brush my teeth every morning.
Now over to you. What habit will you start today?
One small change every day may not seem like much now, but that’s how big changes come about – through many, many tiny changes that add up over time.
The 30-Day Challenge is a recurring theme in our new weekly series of mini-workshops on Facebook Live. Live Your Potential takes place on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern Time.
We first learned about the power of these 30-Day Challenges from our Mentor. Through his generous help and guidance, we have been able to create a life that we love, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to help others do the same.
– MaryLet's Keep In Touch...