Monday, 2 December 2013

Change a Habit in 30 days? - Challenge Accepted!

Any new resolutions or plans for change usually only materialise end of December. That's when we sit down and review how the year went and in what way you want to be different or what you want to do different the next, brand new year.
There is this power to a new year. You feel like you can shed bad habits, that you will finally work on things on your bucket list, or (as well) decide that it's time to simply - be a new you. 
I would argue that every single day could be looked upon just as magically as New Year's Eve, that we don't need to wait for the New Year to do the things we really want to do - but, I'm not here to be a grouch. As the blog title suggests, YES. I am here to equip you on ways you can carry out your resolutions for 2014.
It's too early? It's not even end of December? Carpe diem! My view - New resolutions can be looked upon simply as 'new habits'. It's a game of replacement. It's replacing bad habits with better new habits.

Below is a list of typical bad habits
  • Smoking
  • Overspending
  • Gambling
  • Overeating
  • Arguing
  • Being ‘superconnected’ (spending too much time on the computer, watching television, texting, or on Facebook)
  • Being late
  • Complaining
  • Eating junk food
  • Exaggerating
  • Not listening and/or always trying to dominating the conversation
  • Working too much and/or being stressed

Feel like you might want to change an unhealthy habit? 

Take a look at these steps.

Change a Habit in 30 Days 

Step 1

Identify the bad habit that you want to change
ie 1. snacking even when not hungry
ie 2. smoking cigarettes 
Step 2 

Identify the triggers of that bad habit
ie 1. stress, bored, angry, sad
ie 2. social situations, drinking tea or coffee, driving in the car, waiting between classes, checking email, bored, talking on the telephone 
Step 3 

Identify a replacement habit for every trigger
ie 1. wait until your body feels physically full, replace junk food with real food (fruits, veggies, nuts), don't shop for unhealthy food, plan out healthy snacks
ie 2. call a friend or a family member, nicotine patch or gum, stretching, yoga, do crossword puzzles to keep your hands busy, brush your teeth, nap
Step 4 

For the next 30 days, every time there are triggers, focus on the replacement habits

It's a simple method. 

But since simple doesn't always mean 'easy', check out the tips below.

9 tips to help make that new habit stick

  • Take on changing only one bad habit at a time. Don't try to change all at once. Tackle one resolution at a time. Habit changing is not easy. Keep it simple.
  • Start out with small replacement habits. You can build it up gradually over time. Stopping habits cold turkey will not work.
  • Find a good 30 day challenge online or better yet, create and plan one out. Commit yourself. Write down your motivations for changing. Understand the obstacles you might face and how to overcome them.
Check out these fitness challenges you can try. It's a good way to build up the habit of exercising daily.

go to these websites for more ideas
  • Get support. Ask for help from friends and family or even a support group online. Spend more time with people with habits you want to mirror. Find role models.
  • Be your own cheerleader. Stop beating yourself up. Have a positive daily mantra or use 'The Secret' and practice powerful visualizations. Visualise yourself with replacing the old habit with the new. Attach the visualisation with a positive feeling of accomplishment or happiness. Do it daily as you are about to sleep.
  • Reward yourself from time to time. Give yourself a pat on the back.

You could make a reward chart. It doesn't just work well for kids. Stay motivated! You'd be surprised how the urge to 'collect more stickers' or 'complete the chart' can motivate you to replace bad habits.

  • Be your own drill sergeant. No exceptions to the replacement rules. Every time there is a trigger to your old habit, you must replace it with the new habit. Be firm with yourself for the 30 days. That's the only way you can create the new better habit.
  • Get accountable. Tell people about your plans, blog about or post it on an online forum. When you are accountable, the chances of sticking to the plan (all the way through) is much higher.
  • But what if it goes wrong? That's perfectly fine. It's hard to be both drill sergeant and cheer leader. Review what went wrong, make a new plan and give it another go. Don't beat yourself up. You didn't fail. You just found out ways which didn't work. Feel the pain and move on. Rome wasn't built in a day. Keep on trying.

So what say you?
Ready to change a habit in 30 days?


*Update: 4 August 2014*

Hi guys, just a little update. We've come up with our very own 30 Day Shape Up Challenge! Finally! What's it all about? More details here.


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