I’ve heard it said many times. Do something new consistently for 30 days without a break and that thing becomes a habit. That’s why, when I started my #CHA30DayChallenge blogging exercise, I committed to 30 days straight – it was for a reason. Despite the fact only ONE week has passed and it really does feel like a whole lot longer, I’m not giving up!
When was the last time you tried something new and stuck to it for that long? What was your motivation? I’d love to know some of your stories.
I find the idea of committing to something new for a 30-day unbroken stretch much more palatable than I do ‘perfecting my art’ with the requisite 10,000 hours apparently needed to master a new skill, as suggested by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers. 10,000 hours for most of us equates to several years of elapsed time.
Apparently, the 10,000-hours concept can be traced back to a 1993 paper written by Anders Ericsson, a Professor at the University of Colorado, called The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance. Read the full article: Can 10,000 hours of practice make you an expert? – BBC News
Initially, 30 days sounds like quite a long time. It is really. But you see, sitting there listening to Trish telling me how she had recently passed 50 days straight walking 10,000 steps per day really did harden my resolve. Call me competitive if you like 😉 Incidentally, as I write this, she’s just headed out of the door for day 62!
But you don’t just magically find that resolve to stick to the plan for 30 days I think. You need a reason and a passionate belief that a) you can do it and b) you really want to do it.
So now, back to the shower business. The most recent proof I have of my own ability to do something new for 30 days straight comes from a fairly recent change to my morning ritual. Showering in freezing cold water. Now, to be clear, I don’t start and finish under cold water, but I do turn the water to cold for the final minute or so of my shower. Every single day. Even when I’m overseas.
This cold shower malarkey started right after my trip with a colleague to Khartoum, Sudan. He was complaining one morning over breakfast in the (very pleasant) hotel that the showers weren’t cold enough. “Not cold enough? Are you mad mate?” I said. “No, it’s flamin’ luke warm. The water tanks must be on the roof. I want a cold shower in the morning and I just can’t have them. It’s annoying me!” or words to that effect. Subconsciously I think, that set my mind thinking about trying this cold shower thing out on my return to Blightey.
You see, I first heard people talking about how wonderful it is to start your day with a ‘Miracle Morning‘ routine on JLD’s Entrepreneur On Fire podcast, which I’ve mentioned previously. See the book by the same name, penned by Hal Elrod if you want to know more.
Lots of people, it turns out, are crazy enough to make cold showers a part of their morning routine. So I set about having a go myself very soon after we returned home from that trip. At first, it was horrendous. It was all I could do to fight the urge to flee and took a lot of self-control not to slip and fall over in the shower trying to escape the jet of freezing water.
However, after just a few days, I started to notice just how much I did feel better getting out of the shower afterwards. I was smiling, laughing even. Gradually I have managed to increase the amount of time I stay under the water. Indeed, I now have a few positive affirmations that I repeat to myself, which themselves take at least a minute to repeat a few times. So you can see how it’s possible to a) stay under that cold water for longer and b) change my mental state and approach the day with a different, more refreshed and positive perspective.
So what’s been your secret to making anything new a habit? What morning rituals do you have that set you off on the right foot? Please leave a comment below and do join the discussion on Twitter. Remember to use the hashtag: #CHA30DayChallenge
Thanks for stopping by and see you for more tomorrow friends!
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