Habits! We all have them. Some are good and some are really not so good. I have always been told that it takes 28 days to make a habit. This article in How Stuff Works says it is 21 days and that these findings are based on empirical (personal experience) testing instead of clinical. At any rate....I do believe there is truth to it. Our bodies and minds can get used to doing the same thing over and over again almost like a physical memory. The more precise you are in your action the more precise the memory and the more precise the fall out if you go off course at all. An example would be if you are a morning coffee drinker. If you are use to having at least one cup of coffee by 7 a.m. and then you run out of coffee or can't get to coffee by 7 a.m. then you could very likely end up with a major caffeine headache. Your body is so attuned to that coffee before 7 a.m. that if you miss it, your body begins to rebel. It's a habit.
The thing about the 28 day rule is that along with creating good habits like drinking 8 glasses of water daily, going for a 1 mile walk daily or drinking that coffee daily, your body can also create bad habits in 28 days. Really bad! Just as you can turn your life around for the better in little more than a month, you can also run yourself into the ground. If you eat a bag of chips everyday at 3 p.m. for 28 days, mark my word that on day 29, when 3 p.m. hits....your mind is going to start telling you it is time for those chips. You will start to crave the salty flavor and before your know it.....those chips will be all you can think about. The same goes for being a couch potato. If you come home from work and plop down on the couch everyday not to move until bedtime.....in 28 days.....that couch will have the imprint of your rear end on it and you will have zero motivation to do anything but lift the remote.
At my age, it is all about the deprogramming of bad habits and the reprogramming of good ones. If I am honest with myself, my bad habits probably far outweigh my good ones simply because the bad ones are easier. But really in the long run, they aren't. I live a life of stress but if I am completely truthful, a fair amount of the stress I deal with daily is self imposed and caused by my bad habits.....procrastination being at the top of that list. Putting things off seldom makes them go away and usually it just compounds whatever situation or issue you are trying to avoid at the moment. Trust me I know.....I am the self-titled Queen of Procrastination!!!! You may now bow before me!
So this year is about change and the change is coming in baby steps. Today I will acknowledge what needs to be changed.....(that list may take a while!) Tomorrow I will begin some bad habit changing and some good habit reprogramming. Twenty eight days is doable, especially if I remind myself that each day I am one day closer to good habits and one day further away from the bad ones. Again, this will likely be a minute by minute journey with some things but I do believe I am up for the challenge.
Speaking of challenges.....I told you that in this year there were going to be some interesting things going on and here is the first one. I am going to challenge all of you. Yes, you at home can play along too! Here is Challenge #1 for you! Today..... think about one really bad habit you have that you would like to change and one good habit that you might change it with. Let tomorrow.....November 11th be the beginning of your 28 day habit change. Feel free to share in the comments what you are changing if you like. On December 8th, we will revisit this and see if my habit changing has been a success and you can weigh in on your own too. Now go forth and let the challenge begin!