“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently."
Have you ever committed to doing something for thirty days and then reverted back to your old habits? I know I have, and I’m guessing many others have too!
My challenge to you is to decide what actions you are willing to weave into your life on Day 31 and after to pursue goals that are meaningful. This is when the magic happens. The changes don’t have to be drastic, just consistent.
Short-term changes get you in the game. Long-term shifts elevate the playing field. You have to decide where you want to play.
This idea of making a change came up during a recent coaching conversation with a client. He shared that he wanted to get back in shape and planned to work out everyday for thirty days and hire a trainer with the hopes of losing ten pounds (you can substitute working out for anything you want to shift in your life).
It always starts with an intention—and I like this one, as getting in shape aligned with the client’s value of healthy living. Your intentions and actions are much more powerful when they align with your values.
The question is what happens on day thirty-one, and thirty-two, and thirty-three, and so on? Do I think someone can work out everyday for thirty days or achieve any other short-term target? YES! Does the research suggest that the majority of people resume their old patterns once they hit an interim target? YES!
The challenge is maintaining the results you want after the thirty days or initial time frame is over. Then what happens when the trainer is gone?
My client and I focused on why he wanted to lose the weight, how that would make him feel, and what having more energy would allow him to do in his life (i.e. play with his kids on the weekend and be involved in their lives). The point is, my client wasn’t committing to working out just for thirty days but rather committing to a way of life and taking care of himself. That’s a very different intention.
He wanted to use the thirty-day period to jumpstart the project but realized that working out everyday wasn’t a viable strategy given his heavy travel schedule. Since he was only currently working out one to two days, and sporadically at that, he revised the goal to work out at least three days a week (anything more was a bonus and helped to build his confidence). This small shift helped him look forward to working out rather than seeing it as a chore and stressful. Once he successfully completed the month of three workouts per week (and lost five pounds), he built confidence, had more energy, and believed that he could keep going.
Being your best self is a lifestyle issue (a.k.a. Living in YOUR Top 1%) rather than a one-off fad. For example, if you practice a specific religion or being a vegetarian, that’s how you live everyday as opposed to just the days it’s convenient. The challenge for all of us who want real change becomes creating a sustainable set of rituals that we are willing to honor and put into practice consistently.