How to shake up your habits in just 30 days

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What can you achieve in 30 days?

It doesn’t seem that long when you think about it, but you’d be surprised how much 30 days can change your world.

I read an interesting article by Benjamin Hardy on Medium recently that sparked a huge fire underneath me and I am excited to share this idea with you. I won’t just regurgitate his words as you can read the ‘Real McCoy’ yourself, but in order to lay the foundations for my article, I will give you a very quick summary based on my understanding.

Benjamin spoke about how you can change your identity by simply changing your behaviour. This is due to the understanding that your identity is defined by your behavioural patterns. He explains that the relationship between identity and behaviour works on two psychological concepts: ‘self-signaling’ and ‘precognition’.

Self-signaling: which means that, as a person, you evaluate and judge yourself the same way you judge others - based on behaviour. So, if you watch yourself do something, you identify yourself with that behaviour.

Think of it this way: your friend gets up and runs 3 mornings a week and therefore you would think of her as a runner. Her behaviour creates her identity of a runner. This works exactly the same for you; you have chosen to not eat meat anymore, you now identify as a vegetarian. Your behaviour creates your identity.

“Precognition: which means that thoughts don’t necessarily lead to behaviours, but that behaviours can also lead to thoughts.”

This concept challenges the commonly held idea that your thoughts create your behaviour and argues that you can control your inner thoughts through well-considered behaviour and by ‘placing yourself in certain environments’.

“Thus, change doesn’t only happen from the inside out, but also from the outside in.”

The very simple idea is: if you change your behaviour, you can change your identity. If you started eating fresh food every day, you would identify as a healthy eater; you would identify as someone who cared about their body. Once you have created this identity, you are far less likely to act in a way that conflicts with your identity. These new behaviours become part of who you are and therefore this acts as a feedback loop where your behaviour forms your identity and your identity then reinforces your behaviour.

That is all good said and done, but I can hear the voices already saying: ‘Great, but how do you change years of old, embedded habits? If it was that easy, everyone would have perfected themselves already.’ A key takeaway from his article is that behaviours are far easier to change when you have a very good reason (a strong why) and a period of deliberate practice.

The 30-Day Challenge

To solve this problem, say hello to the wonderful 30-Day Challenge…

It’s time to sit down and review what behaviours you would like to change to create the identity you want? Who do you admire? Why? Once you can clearly pinpoint the identity you would like, you can explore the particular behaviours and simply reverse engineer it to emulate the behaviours to create the same result.

With this in mind, I have decided to not only take on one 30-Day Challenge, but I am going to embark on a series of 30-day challenges – some just for fun, some out of curiosity, and some as a way to reshape my identity and behaviour. I have a variety of new habits that I would like to ingrain into my daily life, therefore, I have decided to approach each one as a 30-day challenge over the remaining months of 2018.

I encourage you to join me; here are a few from my list and the accompanying ‘why’. Remember – the why is the key driver; if you have a strong why, you are more likely to achieve your goal.

My Challenge: 30 Days of Rejection

My Why: I watched a TEDTalk by Jia Jiang called ‘What I learned from 100 days of rejection’ and the idea of desensitising myself to the shame of rejection really appealed to me.

If you were no longer afraid of hearing ‘no’, what could possibly stop you from asking for something you truly want? Well, I’m going to find out.

By seeking out rejection for 100 days — from asking a stranger to borrow $100 to requesting a “burger refill” at a restaurant — Jiang desensitized himself to the pain and shame that rejection often brings and, in the process, discovered that simply asking for what you want can open up possibilities where you expect to find dead ends.”

My Challenge: 30 Days of Juggling

My Why: I am desperate to learn and read faster. I have so many books that I have never touched and Jim Kwik, King of speed reading, suggests that learning to juggle will improve your peripheral vision, which in turn improves your reading speed. A selection of studies have also found that juggling increases the grey matter in your brain, which increases the brains processing speed – I don’t know enough about the science behind this but I am determined to give it a try. Plus, my ability to catch is horrendous and this needs to change. By the end of the 30 days, I want to be able to juggle 3 balls with ease.

My Challenge: 30 Days of Yoga

My Why: I have been trying to establish a daily yoga practice into my life for months now and I’m failing miserably. I really want to incorporate this habit into my daily life and start my morning with an incredibly refreshing session of yoga. Not only is yoga an incredibly calming and meditative practice, but it is also extremely effective in improving your strength and flexibility. Yoga with Adriene is an amazing YouTube channel for yoga beginners and enthusiasts – I will use Adriene’s ‘True’ 30-Day Yoga program to embed this practice, once and for all.

My Challenge: 30 Days of ‘Pay it Forward’

My Why: It really bothers me that I always ‘want’ to do nice things for others and then find myself getting caught up in my immediate surroundings, distracted by the list of things I need and want to do. The frustrating thing is that I want to make more time to be kinder to others – I want to make a difference in this world – but I am always so busy. I need to stop paying lip service and start acting in accordance with my values. This is my first step to ingraining a deeper sense of meaning and love into my life and adding value to the lives of those around me.

The First Challenge

For my first challenge, for the month of April, I will be starting with “30 Days of Rejection”. Watch the TEDTalk [if you haven’t already] and you will get a good idea of the kind of month that I will be facing. Just so happens, tomorrow is my first day of rejection and it is April Fools’ Day. Might have to start on a really fun one.

I will be making a video for each rejection [wherever possible] and sharing this on my YouTube channel in May. I’ll also be back with a fun report of how I got on in 30-Days; wish me luck!

Call to Action

Join me!! Post a comment below and let me know what your 30-Day challenge will be for April. Even better – join me on my month of receiving a wonderful selection of full-blown rejections … come along, it will be fun.

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