I like this down-to-earth approach to changing habits, by taking on finite “30 day challenges”. Matt Cutts, who is the unoffical spokesperson for Google, illuminates some very useful points in this 3 minute video.
One of the biggest challenges with patients is to get them to make a diet or lifestyle change which will inevitably bring up a resistance either small or large. The idea of simply “trying” something for a brief period of time can sometimes be enough to get them over the hurdle from resistance to actually engaging, as the commitment doesn’t seem so monumental. As Matt pointed out, 30 days seems to be just about the right amount of time to make or break a habit, and the likelihood is high that the new habit will continue afterwards. And it’s so much better than the typical “…I know I should” resigned attitude.
I first saw this video a few months ago, and I was inspired to try a few of my own 30 day challenges. My most recent one has been to give up grains, which I’ve done before, but never on a permanent basis. The first couple of weeks of this challenge brought up all kinds of suppressed emotional content within myself, but since I’ve passed through it, it has been quite smooth sailing, and the cravings as well as the emotional attachments are gone at this point.
As we always advise patients, the best way to make changes that stick is to make progressively small, incremental changes over time, rather than cramming a huge life transformation into a short time (which always blows up on itself). These small, steady changes build self-confidence, and each new challenge becomes a little bit easier than the previous ones.
As Matt says — the next 30 days are going to pass, whether you engage in a 30 day challenge, or not, so why not give it a try?