30 Days to Change - A Whole New Approach - Part 2

CONTINUE: 30 Days to Change - A Whole New Approach

What if?

You exercised daily for just 30 days, then quit?
You maintain a neatly organized desk for 30 days, then slacked off?
You read for an hour a day for 30 days, then go back to watching TV?

Could you do it? It still requires a bit of discipline and commitment, but not nearly so much as making a permanent change. Any perceived deprivation is only temporary. You can count down the days to freedom.

And for at least 30 days, you’ll gain some benefit.
It’s not so bad. You can handle it. It’s only one month out of your life.

Now when you actually complete a 30-day trial, what’s going to happen?

  • First, you’ll go far enough to establish it as a habit, and it will be easier to maintain than it was to begin it.
  • Secondly, you’ll break the addiction of your old habit during this time.
  • Thirdly, you’ll have 30 days of success behind you, which will give you greater confidence that you can continue.
  • And fourthly, you’ll gain 30 days worth of results, which will give you practical feedback on what you can expect if you continue, putting you in a better place to make informed long-term decisions.

Hit 30 days and your chances of making the habit permanent increase by a ton. But even if you aren’t ready to make it permanent, you can opt to extend your trial period to 60 or 90 days. The longer you go with the trial period, the easier it will be to lock in the new habit for life.

Another benefit of this approach is that you can use it to test new habits where you really aren’t sure if you’d even want to continue for life. Maybe you’d like to try a new diet, but you don’t know if you’d find it too restrictive.

In that case, do a 30-day trial and then re-evaluate. There’s no shame in stopping if you know the new habit doesn’t suit you. It’s like trying a piece of shareware for 30 days and then uninstalling it if it doesn’t suit your needs. No harm, no foul.

This 30-day method seems to work best for daily habits.

Just FYI, I’ve had no luck using it when trying to start a habit that only occurs 3-4 days per week. However, it can work well if you apply it daily for the first 30 days and then cut back thereafter. This is what I’d do when starting a new exercise program, for example.

Daily habits are much easier to establish.

Here are some other ideas for applying 30-day trials:

  1. Give up TV. Tape all your favorite shows and save them until the end of the trial. My whole family did this once, and it was very enlightening.
  2. Give up online forums, especially if you feel you’re becoming forum addicted. This will help break the addiction and give you a clearer sense of how participation actually benefits you (if at all). You can always catch up at the end of 30 days.
  3. Shower/bathe/shave every day. I know YOU don’t need this one, so please pass it along to someone who does.
  4. Meet someone new every day. Start up a conversation with a stranger.
  5. Go out every evening. Go somewhere different each time, and do something fun — this will be a memorable month.
  6. Spend 30 minutes cleaning up and organizing your home or office every day. That’s 15 hours total.
  7. Give up cigarettes, soda, junk food, coffee, or other unhealthy addictions.
  8. Become an early riser.
  9. Write in your journal every day.
  10. Call a different family member, friend, or business contact every day.
  11. Make 25 sales calls every day to solicit new business. Professional speaker Mike Ferry did this five days a week for two years, even on days when he was giving seminars. He credits this habit with helping build his business to over $10 million in annual sales. If you make 1300 sales calls a year, you’re going to get some decent business no matter how bad your sales skills are. You can generalize this habit to any kind of marketing work, like building new links to your web site.
  12. Write a new blog entry every day.
  13. Read for an hour a day on a subject that interests you.
  14. Meditate every day.
  15. Learn a new vocabulary word every day.
  16. Go for a long walk every day.

Remember, you don't necessarily need to continue any of these habits beyond 30 days.

Think of the benefits you’ll gain from those 30 days alone. You can re-assess after the trial period. You’re certain to grow just from the experience, even if it’s temporary.

Nathan's Final Thoughts

The power of this approach lies in its simplicity.

When you commit to doing something every single day without exception, you can’t rationalize or justify missing a day, nor can you promise to make it up later by reshuffling your schedule.

Give trials a try. If you’re ready to commit to one right now, please feel free to post a comment and share your goal for the next 30 days.

If there’s enough interest, then maybe we can do a follow-up on everyone. Sharing the insights we learn would be priceless. You'd be making a difference and that's what we are all about. Get to it and make sure you stop doing whatever you're doing after the first 30 days!