You know how we are suckers for productivity and hacks for “doing your best”? Yes, I am too, and during the course of hopping one podcast after another, I fell upon Matt D’Avella. If you haven’t checked his Youtube channel, you must, just for the sheer classy and high quality videos he makes. (No ads you guys!) I watched a few videos and I must admit, he’s a delight to listen to and watch and so easy on the eyes too, and I fell upon his 30 day habit and exercise, one for every month of a year.
To adopt and make one habit a month for one whole year. To master a change or an action and see if it becomes a habit in 30 days. The changes it can bring about if any, and for all to see. See, he tried quitting sugar for 30 days here.
The goal wasn’t super lofty, as in, the pressure to stick with it forever was simply.. removed. I liked that. I am all for trying new things and seeing where it takes me and so of course, it stuck. And it kept coming back to me and I am now sold! Sold enough to actually write about it, here and hope to kick it off on Instagram.
Okay, but first things first:
Even before I declare my habit a month (tbh, I haven’t thought of what and where to start) a few things I must do so I can position myself to succeed. Most of the time, it’s intrinsic and the internal motivator is self-discipline. That’s the most of it, and then there’s the science of it all. So am going to pretend that this is an “experiment” and go about treating it as such. Let’s dive right in!
Positive & Open Ended Goals:
Focusing on the positive aspect of the goal will help us further than the goal itself. Let me explain. Saying, “I hate how I look in my LBD” is a harsh statement for you to build and stay on. Instead, saying “I will eat a salad a day, and swim twice a week” will allow you to lose weight AND make you look amazing in that LBD! So, make the positive aspect of your goal clear and blaze that across your wall, head, mirror or phone. It helps, trust me.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s super important that you nail the darn goal down to its finest detail. No point being wishy-washy about it. It’s like going on a road-trip. Most of us usually know where we want to go and then plan how to get there. It’s the same. So, goal or my habit-change will be super specific. WHAT AND BY WHEN AND HOW?!
- I have to lose 20 pounds, by June, and I will do it by doing this and this and this. (I know this is like a boring and super cliched goal, but honestly it works and hence used a lot)
Write it out. Write a paragraph, an essay, on paper, on phone, wherever, but do a brain dump on what is the precise action and next steps that need to be taken. It may even be as simple and starting from – I need a book to write down all that I am eating! But writing every little step with no ambiguity and gap will help us visualize the journey and allow us to stay with it.
“What do I do to start this off?” – and answer that as truthfully as possible.
A simple excel sheet, a calendar on the wall, a whiteboard with tally marks or maybe a post on Instagram. Any kind of easily trackable progress sheet helps and the more visible it is, the easier it will be to not fall off the wagon. Over time, all those checks will add up and just watching them grow will motivate you to stick with it.
Your Network Of Five:
Look around you and see who your 5 are. They say you are the average of the five you spend your time with, so look around. Like what you see? If not, tweak it. Not asking you to ditch your friends, but try adding more self-disciplined folks into your day who will motivate and inspire you to stick with your goal. Watch what they do and how they do. The little hacks are important, we all know what to do, but how they find ways to do it is what you are aiming to emulate and copy. So, observe, and copy.
The hardest part of cultivating self-discipline is remembering the WHY we want to be disciplined. Journaling helps. A short few lines, anywhere, but as a night time routine, to go over your day and telling yourself why you are doing what you are doing will reiterate the reasons.
Ultimately, the more we realize this is a marathon and not a sprint, we will eventually reach our destination. Here’s a progress sheet that I use, and if you’d like you can download it too!
Also, if you are the kind who loves saying a prayer, say one for me too, coz those habits can be little devils to catch on to! <3