30 Day Habit Challenge: How to “Test Drive” a Habit Change

  • Starting a new habit is hard.
  • Breaking a bad one is even harder.
  • Eliminating our negative habits is something we often try.  Unfortunately life usually gets in the way.  We might be good for a few days, but something always stops us from forming a lifelong habit.
  • So why do we often fail?
  • The problem stems from that scary word – permanent.
  • Deep in our subconscious, it’s hard to mentally “let go” of a habit forever.  We also don’t like the idea of following an unpleasant activity for the rest of our lives.  The problem with forever is it seems like…forever.
  • For instance, let’s say you’re a smoker.  Most people can’t break this habit because it’s impossible to commit to never having another cigarette.  Most people don’t have the willpower to go “cold turkey” like this.
  • A better solution is to concentrate on forming a new habit for a few weeks.  Basically you’re taking it for a “test drive.”  Instead of committing to a permanent change, you’ll try a habit for awhile and see if it works.
  • That’s the idea behind the 30 Day Habit Challenge (30 DHC).
  • Why not take a new habit for a “Test Drive” with a 30 Day Habit Challenge?

Here is how to get started!

#1– Choose a new habit that will create a positive change in your life.

#2 – Put your name and your chosen habit on the board at the box.  Every day you accomplish your new habit you give yourself a red check in the box.

On your own – document the following:

#3 – Reason Why – Give a specific reason why this habit is important.  It doesn’t matter what you write here.  The important thing is to know why you want to to make this change.

#4 – Description – Write down an overview of this habit, with the step-by-step actions that you’ll complete.  Be sure to include any tools or environmental cues that will help/hinder your completion of this new routine.

#3 – Obstacles – Every habit has a trigger.  This is a thought, cue or action that creates resistance to this change.  Your job is to identify any trigger that pops up.

Use your journal to track obstacles.  Write them down whenever they occur.  Include important information like: Where are you?  Who is with you?  What are you doing? What thoughts are in your head?

This data is very important for discovering why you do the things you do.

#4 – Results – track your success with a daily metric.  A good tool is the Habits Pro App, which will help track your habit as well as putting your red check on the board at the box.

You can track a habit in a variety of ways:
Yes or No (Did you do it today or not?)
Quantity (How many times did you complete the habit?)
Number (Are you over or under a set quota?)
Time (How long did you spend on this habit every day?)

The daily metric is the key to forming a permanent habit.  There will be days where you’ll fall off the wagon.  The important thing is to track these lapses and carry on.

Remember this:
Success doesn’t happen overnight. It comes from the commitment to focus on continuous improvement.

#5 – Verdict – You’ll need to make a decision at the end of the month: Should it stay or should it go?

Analyze this habit.  Did it help your life?  Can you improve the process?  Did you have time to complete it?  Should you keep it?  Or should you eliminate it?  Should you try it for another 30 days and see what happens?

It’s important to make a decision after 30 days.

I recommend doing one of three things:

Keep It: Continue to track this habit on a daily basis. Try to turn it into a permanent change.

Ditch It: The habit didn’t work for some reason, so stop doing it!

Tweak It: Some habits didn’t work because you created a bad process.  So you can change the routine and try it again.

My Challenge to YOU…

The 30DHC can create a dynamic change in your life.  Remember, it’s not permanent.  Instead, you’ll promise to do one thing for the next month.

So I want you to do three things right now:

Put your name on the board at the box

Buy a journal for tracking a habit. 

Commit to one habit change – November 1st

Follow this habit for 30 days – even if you hate it!

You can make a significant change in a month.  Just commit to a single habit in the next 30 days and you’ll be one step closer to making a positive change in your life.