If you remember I mentioned earlier that it takes about 30 days to create a new habit. So I decided to start a 30 day experiment creating several new habits. You might ask– why 30 days? Why not to just decide to do something period? Why put in this time limit instead of just deciding to do something permanently?
Well, for several reasons actually. First of all, most people have this psychological barrier against change. The most difficult part in doing something out of your ordinary routine is to get started.
So when you think about the change as something permanent, something you’ll have to do from now on for the rest of your life, you get overwhelmed and are much less likely to actually start doing it. Consciously or subconsciously you will start finding excuses to not do it or to put it off as long as you can.
That is why I think a 30 day experiment is a great idea. When you think that you will have to do something only for 30 days, when you treat it just as an experiment, you are much more likely to start quicker and then when you start moving and actually do it for 30 days, you will most likely develop a new habit and stick to it.
That said, you don’t have to stick to it of course, you can reconsider and start a new experiment until you find the ideal solution that fits your life and your goals.
I think it is better to start with one habit at a time, especially if this new habit is something really big and way out of your ordinary lifestyle. I will start with 3 though.
1. I will start going to bed by 2AM at night. For the past year or so I’ve been going to bed at 4AM or even later. But since I have a small child who still wakes up at night sometimes and won’t allow me to sleep in the morning, this year of not sleeping enough started showing on my productivity.
Even though I am shifting my schedule by only 2 hours, it is still going to be a big change for me. I can’t really change it any further, since I do need this time to work and I am a night owl, my brain works much better at night than in the morning. So 2AM it is. I am turning off my computer, even if there is something really important to finish.
2. I will meditate every day for at least 20 minutes. I am a huge advocate of meditation. For some reason lots of people in our society consider meditation as something too new-age or weird. I think it is a great way to reconnect with your inner self, get clear and to stay focused on your goals.
There are lots of other great benefits of meditation like reducing stress, improving your health and overall well being and much more. I’ve been practicing mediation for the past several years, but never incorporated it into my daily schedule. I hope now I will.
3. I will write down detailed daily plans and actually do all of them. This is a big one for me. I am one of those disorganized people who start hundreds of things at a time and then don’t know how to go about finishing them. I tried several times before incorporating daily planner into my life. I would go to the store, buy one of those nice notebooks or calendars, get really inspired, go on for couple days and forget about it.
I do plan certain things and have a big white board where I write out my big plans. But I get stuck planning little everyday details. If after 30 days I don’t see much boost in my productivity due to detailed planning, I’ll go back to normal. I do get a lot done this way too. Maybe there is no need to reinvent the wheel (As you can see, I have a huge resistance toward this one. We’ll see how it goes..)
So those are my three 30 day experiments I am starting today. I’ll let you know in a month how it went. I really encourage you to start doing something similar. What did you want start doing but been putting off for a long time now? Start doing it.
Again you don’t have to treat it as something permanent. Try it for 30 days. If this is something that you need, chances are you will develop a new great habit and won’t want to return to the old way of doing things. If after 30 days you still feel like you are doing something you are not ready for yet, you can stop and reconsider. Who knows, maybe after 30 days, you will discover that your old way is the best way, but at least you tried and now know for sure.
For those of you who have no idea what new habits to start, here are some ideas for you:
· Schedule your email checking and limit it to only 2 times a day or even less.
· Cut down your television time in half
· Read a book for at least 30 minutes every day
· Spend 20 minutes cleaning something in your house every day
· Don’t go to bed before you wash all the dishes sitting in your sink
· Don’t eat any junk food for 30 days
· Walk for an hour every day
· Exercise every day
· Tell someone “I love you” every day
· Smile to every person you meet
· Start a gratitude journal and write in it every day
· Talk to a stranger every day
Give it a try at least! Start some new habit today. Just for the fun of it. Even if you decide to not stick to it after 30 days, you will still learn a lot from the experience you had.
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