Just this past week, one of my clients asked me whether I make New Year’s resolutions. The short answer is no, but the longer one could be interpreted a little different.
Every year on about January second, if you are a regular at a gym, you get to see the crowd of people who make those resolutions and before the end of the month have simply disappeared. We have all, at one time or another, done this and were determined to make that change. Sadly, all of us have something else in common…it didn’t work. It wasn’t that we weren’t determined or that we didn’t try. It isn’t like we are bad people, but we just weren’t able to follow through.
A couple of years ago, I happened upon two different concepts. The first one was fashioned around the idea of making a thirty-day commitment to yourself. The premise was that rather than telling yourself you were going to quit doing or start doing something for the rest of your life, you just make a commitment to do it for thirty days. Kind of like a test run, to check it out and see if you like it. For example, if you were contemplating walking more. Instead of putting the pressure of doing it forever, you would just make an agreement with yourself to take a twenty-minute walk for thirty days. After thirty days you would then make a decision; do you like it and want to do more, or do you dislike it and will move onto something else.
So why does that work? There is a wide basis of study that now recognizes part of the challenge with making any change is that as some point, you unconsciously crave going back to what you know. The pull to do so, can eventually overtake your will to make the change. You see, when you were only thinking about making the change, you didn’t feel the physical aspects of doing it. You weren’t thinking about what it would be like to walk when it was super hot, or super cold. You didn’t imagine there would be the mornings when you didn’t want to get out of bed. You didn’t think about the sore muscles or what it would be like to juggle your schedule. You had a romanticized idea of what it would be like to make the change. As these realities come into play, of course your unconscious screams at you to give up and get back to the comfort you know. The louder that unconscious voice gets, the greater the chance of you reverting back to the way it was.
Most of us can put up with a little discomfort if we know there is an end. By just promising to make the change for thirty days, you know there is an end. A second benefit is that you are likely more willing to give something a go, if you know you only have to do it for thirty days.
Right now, I am in the middle of a thirty day, “give up Facebook challenge”. I don’t know at the end of thirty days what the result will be, but I will tell you that there are somethings that I have learned. Number one, it was definitely my go-to app when I was having to wait around for something. Number two, I seem to be able to get more done in a day and number three, there are some people’s posts that I really miss seeing. There is a lot you can learn about yourself by taking on these thirty-day challenges, so why not give that a go.
It seems that I haven’t the room to talk about the second concept in this post but tune in next week and I will tell you about the second one. It might help you, as well!