the 30-day challenge

Experts say that changing a habit takes somewhere between 21-66 days. Although that’s a fairly big range, nearly any habit can be changed when a concerted effort is made every day for a month.

Don’t just jump into changing a habit with enthusiasm today or tomorrow, for often that enthusiasm will wane before the 30 days are over and you will be right back where you started.

Planning Process:
Instead, write down your goals and create a written plan (I can’t stress that enough) for how you will change your habit. Include a vision statement and what your obstacles might be.

Track your progress:
Get a notebook or start a spreadsheet on your computer to track your progress.

Be accountable:
Find an accountability partner and schedule regular check-ins with that person. Make sure it is someone who will hunt you down like a dog and keep you honest! If you don’t have someone to do this for you, make your accountability public through email updates to friends, blogging, or Facebook.

Apart from your accountability buddy, what other resources are available to support your change. Family and friends can be part of your support structure, but sometimes they can also undermine your progress. Look for a support forum online or a support group you can join. Sometimes a professional or therapist is a crucial part of your support team.

Listen to what you say out loud and in your head about yourself. Use daily affirmations and guard against negative self-talk. Engage in fun activities and stay around positive people during your month of change.

Reward good behavior:
Have a list of rewards connected to benchmarks in your tracking process. Don’t penalize yourself if you fall off the horse. Just get back on right away and keep going. Nobody is perfect.

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