Want to start a new routine or create a new habit, but don’t know where to start? Try the 30-day challenge.

Is it simple? Yes. It’s so simple, you could argue it’s foolproof.  

Is it easy? No!  

Creating new habits is HARD.  It requires effort. It requires willpower.  It requires doing something consistently, even on the days you don’t feel like doing it.  It requires not quitting or taking the easy way out. It requires getting tough on yourself.  It requires honesty & integrity to hold yourself accountable. It requires not letting yourself cheat because – as I like to say – when you cheat on habits, the only person you’re cheating is yourself.  

How Do I Do it?

  1. Pick one small action that you will do every day for 30 days to start a new habit. Ideally, this new habit should take no more than 20 minutes and be something that you can attach to an already existing routine. (i.e. commit to flossing your teeth and plan to do it immediately after you brush them in the mornings).
  2. Create a physical calendar and cross off each day when you’re done (I have attached a template just for you below!). Trust me, it is SO satisfying and a really good accountability tactic.
  3. Now, this is the hardest part: start.  After Day 1, you just can’t break the chain of X’s on your calendar.
  4. Repeat.  Do it every day for 30 days.
  5. BOOM. The new habit is formed.  By the time you finish, you won’t even need the tracker to hold yourself accountable!  More importantly, you’ll have stronger will power for future habits!

Is it even possible? Absolutely. 

Although creating and sticking to new habits is hard, it is entirely possible.  Not only is it possible, but it is worth every day of struggle. Take it one day at a time and focus on one small habit that will have a definitive impact on your life.  

What Habit Should I Start?

There are endless possibilities of habits you could create that will improve your life.  This will be different for everybody. For you, maybe that is going to the gym, meditating for 10 minutes, not checking your phone first thing in the morning, not snoozing your alarm, eating 5 fruits or veggies every day, reading, journaling, or something else entirely.  Whatever that habit is, make sure it is specific, measurable, and realistic. You want to set yourself up for success so when you finish, you are ready to take on a newer, bigger challenge.  

My Experience

I have used this tactic several times throughout the last year, including: to start a morning routine (including stretching, reading, and journaling every day), to stop eating refined sugar, to stop snoozing my alarm (though I’m still not perfect at this one), and to do all of my academic readings for 30 school days straight. 

These all sound like big challenges, and they were.  The secret? One habit at a time. If I had tried to do all of these things at once, chances are I would’ve failed miserably.  Choose one action that will have a big impact on your life, and stick to it.  As I like to say, small changes lead to big results. 

Parting Advice

You already have the power and strength to create any habit you want – it is up to you to decide you want it badly enough.  Once you find that motivation and initial spark to start, do it! When it gets tough and I’d be lying if I said it won’t, take it one step at a time and know that I am here cheering you on every step of the way.   I believe in you and I know you can achieve whatever goals you set your mind to, but more importantly, YOU need to believe in you.  

What are you waiting for?  Let’s start getting better together today!  Tag me in a picture when you cross off Day 1 on your chart; this will hold you accountable.  When you finish, show me so we can celebrate together!

Jess Takimoto is a Guest Contributor for MUSE. She is a 3rd year Commerce student and health fanatic! When she’s not teaching fitness classes at the ARC, you’ll find her snacking on some sugar-free chocolate and updating her fitness blog (www.jesstakimotofitness.com/blog)

Template for Tracker:
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