How to Test Drive a New Habit for 30 Days


Many of you know that during the month of May many other members of the Inspiration2grow for Female Goal Getters FB group are doing a wellness challenge.  Each day there is a new challenge to try in order to elevate our wellness and introduce some new and helpful wellness habits into our daily lives.
So, today I would like to introduce the concept of ‘test driving’ a habit you might be interested in incorporating yourself.  It can be anything really, health and fitness related, work related, hobby related, maybe it is a habit you’d like to implement in a relationship.  Whatever you choose, I am going to walk you through the concept and the how-tos of the 30-day habit challenge.

I actually talking in depth about this idea with some clients recently and they had two basic questions about the challenge and it’s concept:

1. Why should I try a 30-day habit challenge?
2. How do I implement this idea?
So, let me cover both questions in this podcast episode…
First, the simple truth is most of the time, we fail when it comes to building habits.   
I feel that the problem stems from one scary word – permanent.
Deep in our subconscious, it’s hard to mentally build a permanent habit.  
The problem with forever is it seems like…forever.
For instance, let’s say you want to exercise more.  Most people struggle with this habit because it’s hard to imagine exercising a few days a week, for the rest of their lives. 
So, the 30-day habit challenge (or 30DHC) allows you concentrate on forming a new habit for just one month
Basically, you’re taking it for a “test drive.”  Instead of committing to a permanent change, you’ll try it for awhile and see if it’s a helpful behavior.
In a way, the 30DHC tricks your mind into forming a new habit.  It’s easy to do something unpleasant if you think it’s only for a month.  And when the time expires, you’ll be a little closer to making a permanent change.
Also, the 30DHC gives you an “out” if you don’t like the new habit. At the end of the month, you can decide if it’s worth continuing.  What’s funny is your average habit is a lot easier to maintain once you’ve done it for 30 days.
How to Get Started with the 30-Day Habit Challenge
It’s not hard to get started with the 30DHC.  The secret to success is to focus on a single change every month.  Don’t try to do everything at once.  Instead make the commitment to start a new habit every 30 days (or 31/28 days depending on the month).
To get started, you can buy a journal, grab an old notebook or even use any piece of scrap paper. From there, make an entry for each routine. 
Include the following pieces of information:
#1 – Reason Why 
Give a specific reason why this habit is important.  It doesn’t matter what you write here.  The important thing is to know why it’s personally important to make this change.
#2 – Description
Write down an overview of this habit, with the step-by-step actions that you’ll complete.  Be sure to include any tools or environmental cues that will help/hinder your completion of this new routine.
#3 – Obstacles
Every habit has a trigger.  This is a thought, cue or action that creates resistance to this change.  Your job is to identify any trigger that pops up.
Use your journal to track obstacles.  Write down them down whenever they occur.  Include important information like: Where are you?  Who is with you?  What are you doing? What thoughts are in your head?
#4 – Results
Track your success with a daily metric.  You can jot it down in your notebook or use a habit-building app. 
You can track a habit in a variety of ways:
Yes or No (Did you do it today or not?)
Quantity (How many times did you complete the habit?)
Number (Are you over or under a set quota?)
Time (How long did you spend on this habit every day?)
The daily metric is the key to forming a permanent habit.  There will be days where you’ll fall off the wagon.  The important thing is to track these lapses and carry on.
Remember this:
Success doesn’t happen overnight. It comes from the commitment to focus on continuous improvement.
#5 – Verdict
You’ll need to make a decision at the end of the month: 
Should it stay or should it go?
Then take a few minutes to analyze this habit.  
Did it help your life?  Can you improve the process?  Did you have time to complete it?  Should you keep it?  Or should you eliminate it?  Should you try it for another 30 days and see what happens?
The key here is to make some sort of decision after this trial period.
I recommend doing one of three things:
#1. Keep It: Continue to track this habit daily and try to turn it into a permanent change.
#2. Ditch It: The habit didn’t work for some reason, so stop doing it!
#3. Tweak It: Some habits didn’t work because you created a bad process.  So, change the routine and try it again.
My Challenge to YOU…
The 30DHC can create a dynamic change in your life.  Remember, it’s not permanent.  Instead, you’ll promise to do one thing for the next month.
That doesn’t sound very hard, does it?
So I want you to do three things right now:
** Buy a journal for tracking a habit.  
** Commit to one habit change – starting today.
** Follow this habit for 30 days – even if you hate it!
You can make a significant change in a month.  Just commit to a single habit in the next 30 days and you’ll be one step closer to making a positive change in your life.

Til next time,

Lisa xoxo



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