Want to lose weight or become healthier this year? You’re not alone. And here’s the good news -- you can toss your New Year’s resolution right out the window!
If you’ve ever tried going the resolution route in the past, you probably won’t be surprised to know that of the 45 percent of Americans making resolutions, as many as one-third have ditched them within the first month. And three-quarters have given up before reaching their goals.
So maybe it’s time to find another path to success. The new trend? The 30-day challenge. And here’s why it may be your best bet for success.
There’s an urban myth that it takes just 21 days for something to become a habit. The reality, according to a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, is actually about 66 days. While a resolution is just a vague desire to do something, completing a 30-day challenge would have you halfway toward making that wish a habit.
There’s no doubt about it – making a significant health or fitness change is not an easy process. It takes time. It takes commitment. And the 30-day challenge can help you with both.
The idea of getting healthier doesn’t have a deadline, but the 30-day challenge is clearly, well, 30 days. And 30 days is manageable.
The first order of business is to make a specific goal that you can track. Narrow down your goal. And don’t worry – achieving little goals will put you on your way to achieving that bigger goal.
So break it down: pick a specific number of days per week you want to exercise, a number of miles you want to bike, or maybe keep a daily journal of what you eat. Those are all things you can do for 30 days.
And having a successful 30 days will help your self-confidence. Which will lead to even more success. If even 30 days seems daunting, try committing to one week or two weeks. It’s the same principle used by coaches everywhere --they tell their teams to take it one play, one basket, one goal at a time. Then one game at a time. Instead of picturing a season full of tough games, they focus on the one at hand.
And the 30-day challenge can do that. But don’t think of it as 30 whole days where you have to do such and such! Think of it as one day and then two days and then three-- that will get you closer to your goal inch by inch.
So besides the slow-but-sure method of working your way to a goal what else makes the 30-day challenge successful?
- It holds you accountable.
- It establishes a routine.
- It gives you a chance to see the results.
- It builds confidence.
But keep in mind…
- Start slow – trying to do too much too soon may make you sore, tired or want to quit!
- Grab a friend for support -- and to make the time go faster.
- Don’t set your goals too high (you aren’t going to lose 50 pounds in two months.)
- Give yourself a break – if you miss a day because you have a commitment or are feeling under the weather -- or just want to play hooky – it’s OK. Just get right back to it the next day.
- And don’t give up. Some days may be harder than others, but if you just do it, you’re sure to see results.