It Just Takes 30 Days

The quality of our lives is directly proportional to the habits we have. Our entire lives are based on our habits. We have all kinds of habits, from what time we get up in the morning, to the way we brush our teeth, to how often we work out. Habits run our lives. In fact, they run our lives so much most of the time we don’t even realize it’s happening. Think about when you drive to work. Chances are you go the same way every day.  In fact, have you ever started to drive somewhere else and ended up at work?  Imagine how many complicated decisions you had to make to drive somewhere and you did all of it out of habit. Driving consists of some pretty ingenious skills, like looking for traffic, stopping at lights, avoiding accidents. And yet, you can drive a car to the wrong place because your mind was on something else. That’s because habits can be quite complex.  We tend to think of habits as small acts, but they can be very complex things as well.  

Each of us have both good habits and bad habits. You may have the great habit of eating right but the bad habit of procrastinating. You may get up early every morning but just can’t resist that cigarette. We’re all human; none of us have it completely right.  However, the best way to get better is to consciously create empowering habits, one at a time.  Get one habit in place and then, once it has become a true habit you no longer have to think about, start the next one.  

I’ve read in many places that it takes 30 days to form a habit. I’m not sure if this is exactly true, but it seems to be somewhere between 2 and 6 weeks.  There is an old Chinese’ saying:  The best day to plant an oak tree was twenty years ago, the second-best time is today. So, based on this philosophy it seems today would be the best day to start a new empowering habit.  Ask yourself this question. What one habit, if you put it in place in your life today, would make all the difference? What one habit, if you practiced it consistently, would take your life to a new level? Don’t make it ten things, make it just one thing. THE ONE thing.  

In addition to starting new habits that make us better, we should also practice stopping bad habits that disempower us or make our lives worse.  Wouldn’t it be cool to commit to starting a new empowering habit while at the same time stopping a bad one? What one thing could I stop that would improve my life dramatically? These bad habits could be negative self-talk, procrastination, criticizing others, being late, not eating correctly. Pick the most important thing and then commit to stop it today.  

Being conscious that habits drive our day to day happiness and successes or failures, we can start to make habits more consciously and think more about what we want our good habits to look like and how to get rid of the bad habits that keep us from being successful or happy.  Start today, but start a habit that will empower you and stop one that it is inhibiting you.  Do it for 30 days and let me know how it goes. 

Dr. Tim 
Tim Reynolds M.D.
Living Every Minute

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