Please note that Current of Life was previously published under the title: Living Your Potential
Not Just For Kids
Last week a client of mine happily reported progress made with her 10 year old daughter’s homework and bed time routines (a prior source of frustration).
Explaining to her daughter that it typically takes 21 days to solidify a new habit, they agreed to visually keep track of their progress. They created separate charts (for the habits they each are implementing) and the object is to reach 21 consecutive days. If they skip a day, they go back to “Day One” and start over.
Apart from the focus on reaching 21 days, it was actually two other factors that proved to be the most motivating. First, her daughter loves seeing her own progress. “Look how well I’m doing, Mom.” In addition, she appreciates the fact that her mother is also working on her own habits, i.e., that they are accomplishing something together.
Breaking and Replacing
In addition to the 21 day rule, behavioral experts also agree that if you are attempting to break an old habit, it’s best to have a new habit ready to take its place. For instance, if you are trying to break the habit of staying up too late at night, then consider a new night time routine that will make going to bed earlier more likely.
For habits you are trying to break, it’s also helpful to have a list of things you can do when you feel tempted. One woman who successfully quit smoking (along with her husband) had a list of “10 Things” that helped them in such moments.
This March: Begin Your 21 Day Experiment
What new habit would you like to form? Check your motivation, make sure you are ready for it, and then put the appropriate supports in place.
Approach this as an experiment, noticing what works and what doesn’t. If you like, mark your progress on a chart or calendar. You’ll need to practice your new habit before it becomes natural. A new month is upon us and it even includes some extra days, just in case you need a few “Do-Overs” to reach your 21!
“Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man,
Here's to you,
© 2006, Virginia M. Kravitz and In the Current®. All Rights Reserved. You are welcome to reproduce this article provided it is without any alteration, includes the copyright above, and if distributing electronically includes a link to www.inthecurrent.com.
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