New Year, New You.
That's the idea a lot of people have in early January and why not? It's a good time to start self-improvement after the excesses of Christmas.
Just as most of us take a golden opportunity to do something positive, most of us have given up as quickly as we began. How are you going to stick with it this year?
The 30 day trial
One of the most effective ways of motivating yourself to start a new habit is to cut yourself some mental slack. This is where the 30 day trial comes in.
Instead of trying to make a change for the rest of your life, tell yourself you are going to throw yourself into it for just 30 days. At the end of that time you can, if you want, go back to your old ways.
This works in two ways. Suddenly you are not depressed at the thought of doing things this way forever and second you will probably be in the habit by the end of the 30 days and will not want to stop.
As long as you do it right.
How to start a 30 day trial right now
Imagine for a moment you are thinking of giving up smoking, starting at the gym, developing a slower ball, learning how to play the reverse sweep, giving up chocolate, upping your vegetable intake, reading more and procrastinating less at work. You make a start without telling anyone and have already blown at least 2 promises to yourself by the middle of the month. 30 days seems like an age to last out.
This is too much too soon. It's certainly not how the 30 day trial was designed to work.
In our fictional example, you would pick just one goal as your 30 day trial. Let's pick joining the gym and going twice a week.
When you have your goal you need to do two things:
- Write it down.
- Tell everyone you can you are doing it.
Both of these bring in a key element: motivation.
Writing it down and putting it somewhere you can see it often (but not too often) will be self motivating. Perhaps you can set a reminder in your phone on Tuesdays and Thursdays to remind you to go to the gym. Telling others will encourage them to support you when you forget or feel unmotivated that day.
One great way of doing this is to hold yourself accountable online with our training log forum. You could just as easily tell your friends, family and co-workers in 'real life' too.
As this is a 30 day trial, every day of the trial you need to report on how the day went. In our example you could start writing down the workout with the amount of work you did. Seeing this increase will motivate you further to keep the gains coming.
At the end of the 30 days, take a step back, look through your notes (whether online or just kept in a private notebook) and decide whether it's worth continuing.
Sometimes you will decide it is and will carry on without the need for daily reporting and feedback. Other times you will stop, but it will have been a conscious decision.
So what are you waiting for? If you start today you may have a new good habit in 4 weeks time!
Image credit: enggul