30 days later: How I made a new habit stick

Hey everyone,

Are you happy right now? If not, take 5 minutes and try to define what you can do right now to make you feel better. It has to be something small and simple that you could do the second you finish reading this post (I’m giving you the perfect procrastination before actually doing it).

OK, it’s time to focus. About a month ago I wrote the post: ‘What is the 30 days challenge?“. I told you the story about Google’s Matt Cutts, the Ted speech and how the idea of trying something new for 30 days came into my life. I invited you to join our secret Facebook group ‘the 30 days challenge’ where people from all around the world post their challenges, discuss , support and help each other succeed in their challenges.

Last Thursday I finished my first challenge – working out for an hour every day when I wake up, eat a healthy breakfast and start my day energized. Here we are, 30 days later and results are in.

What I’ve learned about habits

For years I wanted to adapt this productive habit. I always wanted to be the kind of person who has a daily work-out routine but I’ve never actually managed to do it. What changed? I wasn’t trying to change my life at once. I wanted to do it for 30 days.

The first few days were hard, but by tracking my challenge and “checking in” on a tracking sheet every time I did my workout I was motivated on daily basis. So basically I was trying to do 1 thing every day. It was the same thing but it was a simple task. 30 days later getting up, working out is like a second nature to me. I miss it if I don’t do it.

The point wasn't gaining the habit, not getting ripped

Start small

Here are the 3 things that helped me keep up with my 30 days challenge:

1. Start small – at the moment my workout length is around 55 – to 70 minutes (depends on the day of the week and sleep hours). On my first day it was a simple 15 – 20 min workout doing less than 4 different types of exercise. My goal was to get used to waking up and exercise.

I knew I had a long road ahead and I was not about to get ripped for 30 days. The habit itself is what was important. I iterated my workout almost on daily basis

2. Right measurement – The most important thing about adapting new habits or learning something new is getting motivated. The best way to get motivated is seeing results as soon as possible. Something you can easily measure.  So what could I measure?

Most of my friends told me to measure body fat or muscle girth which all sound right – but as mentioned before, I knew I wasn’t about to get ripped in 30 days (Remind you that I’m doing this workout at the gym but at home) so I knew measuring girth would bum me out because I expect to see a little change.

I decided to measure the growth of weight or sets I can do and see if it gets better in those 30 days. Guess what? It did. We’re talking triple weights and tripling repetitions on almost every exercise I did. That felt great. Now, after getting this daily habit I plan to focus on getting in actual better shape.

3. Task oriented –  We’re all great at doing daily tasks – if we commit to them. By looking at it as a daily task and a way to ‘not check emails’ first thing in the morning I was able to commit to it. Because I wasn’t trying to ‘Change my life’ I was trying to do this 1 simple task a day and i looked at every day as a one time thing.  By setting a one-hour bulk in my morning schedules I was able  to do it every day without it being a hustle.

 The most important thing about adapting new habits or learning something new is getting motivated. The best way to get motivated is seeing results as soon as possible. Something you can easily measure.

What I’ve learned about failing

So did I get through the 30 days challenge perfectly? Of course not. Out of the 30 days I did only 25. I was abroad in 3 days out of the 5 missing days. In the other 2 days, well, something just didn’t clicked. It happens. The important thing is that it didn’t throw me off.

failing isn't fatal

Failing doesn’t make you a failure . Credit: freedigitalphotos.net

Remember the “Task oriented” part? Well, because I looked at it as a daily task I knew the next day is another completely new chance for me to get the exercise right. Failing to deliver for one day doesn’t reflect or affect the day after or the day after that, so it didn’t bum me out for the complete challenge.

If you’re planning on adapting a new habit, be ready to break it as Joel from buffer explains perfectly in his blog.

What’s my next challenge?

Even though the 30 days workout challenge is done, I’m going to keep working out every day. It keeps me more focused, energized, productive and boosts my general ‘happiness’. So I love this new habit.

But, a new set of 30 days requires a new challenge and this time it  – Learning French.

I always wanted to speak French and never really got to it. This is a double dare. I’ll be learning French using Tim Ferris’s method of learning new languages (read more about it here).

I already deconstructed the language and put on a schedule for the learning process. My goal is to be able to watch a 15-20 minute French film or show without subtitles as well as being able to read an article about social media in French.

What is your new 30 days challenge?

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