30 Days to Change a Habit
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design by W Brian Duncan

I recently read a blog post by Leo Babauta at ZenHabits entitled A Year of Living Without.  Leo has a plan to eliminate one thing or habit from his life for 30 days for the next 12 months. At the end of 30 days he says he will evaluate the results and determine whether he will bring it back into his life or if he truly no longer needs or doesn’t miss whatever it was he lived without.

I like the idea. I think we all need to examine our beliefs about what we feel is essential, those things we “can’t live without”.

It reminded me of my former diet Coke habit. For many many years I held on to one diet Coke a day. I was convinced that I needed it. I justified it as my “only” vice. I cleaned it up with the Splenda version. But everyday at about 2 or 3 pm, I “had” to have that caramel colored fizzy water.

One day (although I can’t remember exactly when) I decided it had to go. I think it was not long after I started the business. Perhaps I felt like a hypocrite chastising clients for soda when I still had my daily dose.  Or perhaps it was when I started to tighten up my own diet to counteract all the stress I was under. It was a slow weaning process but once it was gone it was truly gone. No more diet Coke, not even a temptation. My body did not rebel and I am still able to survive a full day with plenty of energy.

It is our minds that often hold us back. We hold on to old messages, old habits really, things we think are non-negotiable in our life.

I can’t live without chocolate.

I’ve never liked (fill in vegetable here).

I’m not a breakfast eater.

I don’t like water.

We accept these statements as the absolute truth about ourselves. We use them to give ourselves permission to not change. We allow them to stop us from living a life that is simpler, healthier or truer to the self we really want to be. What we don’t stop to consider is:

What if I just tried it?

What if I just gave myself permission to change the message for 30 days?

I’m not talking about a fad diet where you eliminate food groups or eat nothing but grapefruit for 30 days.  I am talking about changing your outlook about what is necessary in life for 30 days. It doesn’t even have to be about food. It can be television, shopping or Facebook.

For the next 30 days I am going to give up gum. I love gum. I had quite the Orbit habit that I had to kick after my thyroid issues developed. (Do you know how hard it is find gum without aspartame?) I found Spry and now I go through packs a week. It’s not cheap. And I tend to drink less water when I chew gum. So no more gum. I will drink more water and keep a toothbrush at the office for post meal freshness.  I will NOT chew gum for 30 days.

Will you join me? What one thing, large or small, will you live without for 30 days? What message will you change? How will you make redefine where you on this journey with one simple change?

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