Thanks to Josef Grunig on Flickr

Develop a Habit, Create a Lifestyle

I was completely gassed.  I hadn’t worked out in about two weeks, and decided it was time to get back at it.  Half a mile into my run, I could immediately sense that I was completely out of shape, and every ounce of me wanted to head back and get comfortable on the couch.  I had been working out 5 times a week for years, and after just 14 days of bumming around, I felt like everything had been lost.  Years of constant fitness, and after just two weeks, I could easily have dropped the ball again.

As the New Year approaches, people tend to start brainstorming on their resolutions for the upcoming year.  Financial stability, physical fitness, and generally breaking out of bad habits tend to be popular goals.  There’s an old statistic that says “It takes 30 days to develop a habit, and 7 days to break it.”  Here’s what I’ve learned, year after year, from setting resolutions and goals for myself; the first month is awfully tough.  Getting through that first month of ‘habit-building’ takes discipline, strength, and determination.  But after those 30 days are up, you’ve created a new lifestyle for yourself, and are a better person as a result.

Think about it.  You never set goals for yourself that are going to worsen you.  You are always trying to improve yourself as a human being, and make yourself more valuable, more production, more HAPPY.  Whether your New Year’s resolution is to become a better writer, or a better athlete, or a better spouse, getting through those first 30 days is critical, but afterwards, your overall lifestyle will reap the rewards.

If you want to become a better writer and improve your blog, write 1000 words every single day for 30 days.  Flex that brain muscle, and don’t give yourself a day off.  And then after those 30 days are up, I promise you that you will feel incomplete if you go to sleep without writing; it will just blend into your lifestyle.  If you want to become a better athlete, then go to the gym or go for a run every day for 30 days, no breaks.  And just like writing, after that first month is up, you’ll be hooked.  And if you want to become a better spouse, then make sure that you do something nice every single day to make your other feel better, and it will become part of you.

Those first 30 days are tough.  The absolute toughest.  But you CANNOT take a week off, or else all the work you’ve put in was a lost cause, and you’ll end up panting like me on sidewalk, dreaming of sitting on the couch.  When January rolls around, you’ll notice that the gyms are slammed for the first 2 weeks of the year, but by the end of the month, it’s back to normal.  Most people put forth about 10 days worth of work on their resolution, and then just fall back into their old ways.  If you put forth those 30 days of work, you’ll have developed not only a habit, but a healthy and productive lifestyle that you’re addicted to.  When you look at your New Year’s resolution as a lifestyle adjustment, it becomes much more serious.

And heck, if it only takes 30 days to develop a habit, why not set resolutions for yourself every month?  Why wait until the end of the year to start this brainstorming.  Imagine how HAPPY you’d be if you developed 12 healthy habits every year!

What habits will you build into your life this coming year?  What sort of lifestyle habit could increase your overall happiness?

Josh Ludin is an eCommerce entrepreneur who tries to motivate young graduates to start businesses and pursue dreams early.  He runs a subscription box and website featuring awesome things to buy online.