Monday, August 05, 2013

21 days may just be 21 days

I just completed 21 days of a handful of little daily goals that are said to improve your happiness and productivity.  I did each and every one for the full 21 days.

I created a Google doc where I could check off things once they were done.  I created reminders on my phone for the end of the day.  Some times those little dings would bring bright eyes as I thought, "Done!  I can go ahead and check off every reminder!"

Other days I found myself saying, "Craaaaap.  Blerg."

Some say you can form a new habit in 21 Days.  

Some say ... um, not so much.

And others think you can create a new habit in way less time.

"No one is entirely sure where the 21-day rule originates, but it seems to have first been set forth in a book called 'Psycho-Cybernetics.' It's a self-help book first published in the 1970s, and in it, you find out you can create or break a habit in just 21 days." - How Stuff Works

Apparently the old 21 day thing was based more on experience than actual clinical data.  

In keeping with that empirical theme, let me tell you my experience.

I discovered that I love meditating.  I crave it.  I forced myself to do it enough days that I felt its benefits (especially when I was a nervous wreck).  Last night my friend and I were both reeling with massive feelings over different things and we both said we knew we should meditate (in our own ways that work best for us).  We both recalled how we would've ended those evenings in the past, how it would've effected our sleep and then how it would've spilled over into the following morning.  My friend and I did some very simple things to calm our minds and find restful sleep.  We then gently teased ourselves for taking four decades to figure out something so simple.

I was already exercising regularly, but my 21 days pushed me to hoop a little more.  It had been too long.  And the miserable Texas heat can really drag you down and make you not want to move.
I practiced gratitudes and thankfulness.  I've been allowing myself to be grateful, even for the negative things.  Some days, instead of writing down the tiniest of things when my day had been rough, I actually wrote down the difficulties.  I looked at them and saw how they can bring positive growth to my life.  I had not done that before.  I gave myself permission to do this while also being very excited when I did not have days like that!  I practiced the mindset of, "The bad days will pass, but so will the good days."  Ebb and flow.  I embraced the ebb and flow.

I regularly wrote or said out loud my thankfulness for people in my life.  When it came to my mind, I stopped (when possible) and told them.

Life can get stale.  Shake it up.  You don't have to do this, but do something.  Dust off the cobwebs of your happiness.  There's even an app for that!


rebeccalyr said...

I regularly wrote or said out loud my thankfulness for people in my life. When it came to my mind, I stopped (when possible) and told them.

That part about actually telling people you're grateful for them? Who knew that could be so hard. I'm living inside my head, practicing gratitude, but that doesn't really make a difference to anyone but me, does it?

Along those lines, I am grateful for this blog. It's nice to read about the techniques of fellow swimmers in this river called life. I have to try meditation, I know it will help me. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

Ransomed~Redeemed said...

Would it be totally NOSY To ask to see your google doc? :-) I have lots of issues and need help changing negative thought patterns. I've turned old grouchy, cynical and cantankerous it seems. Alida w6