As the Fall begins and there is a crispness in the air I am always transported back to the beginning of a school year. New looseleaf with empty pages to fill, new pens and pencils, shoes and clothes if you are lucky. A freshness to begin anew. As much as I love the summer I really enjoy sunny fall days in NYC! I also begin to think about what new habits I would like to bring into my life. ( I do this check in several times a year, but Fall always feels like a new beginning.) I begin to think about what is no longer serving me and what new habit I can bring in to establish a new routine that would serve me. If I am interested in health for example, how can I choose something, one thing, that I can do that would support this goal? I like to use a 30 day challenge to help me develop a new routine. Let’s say, for example, I have decided I will begin to swim three days a week. How can I make sure I will sustain this new challenge? I would first print out a blank calendar to hang on my refrigerator. I would choose a time that I know will work for me. Possibly early morning or even after work at the end of the day to unwind and relax. Than I would gather my gear and have it all ready to go. When the time comes I may not want to go but I have challenged myself and this is for my health and I have chosen something I love to do. In her book, No Sweat, Michelle Segar says in order to stay motivated it is necessary to first choose something you would enjoy doing. So my cue is the time, the gear, and my reward is feeling great at the end of my swim! I also love the hot sauna that I get to enjoy at the end as well, a special treat and reward. I also will reward myself with a glittery star sticker on my calendar. I intend to fill three days each week with glittery stars showing I accomplished my challenge leading to a new routine. All of these steps develop a positive outcome pattern and after thirty days you have usually developed a new sustaining routine and habit. I love 30 day challenges! I find them playful, interesting, challenging and fun. the key is to only choose one or maybe two to accomplish at a time. If you choose more you will not be able to sustain it.
Okay, now it’s your turn. Take a moment, take a few deep breaths in and out, imagine what new habit you would like to challenge yourself to. What would that new habit look like? Feel like? What cues can you put in place and what will your reward be? Use your imagination and see yourself engaging in this new habit. I would love to hear what you chose and how the 30 day challenge worked for you!