While a year is a long time, it goes by quickly, especially as you get older. People often say “the days drag, the years fly,” to describe how many of us experience time.
Recently I discovered a new way to incorporate self-improvement tasks into a year that allows for big changes with less effort. It’s called 12 Winning Habits, and I learned it from the author and speaker Jesse Itzler.
The way it works is that each month, you pick a habit you want to incorporate into your life. It could be something to start doing or it could be something to stop doing.
Then, for the duration of the month you find a way to track, observe or somehow hold yourself accountable to doing this new habit.
At the end of the month you might find you’ve made this new thing a regular part of your life. At that point, you move on to a different one for the following 30 days, with the plan of doing 12 in a row to cover one full year.
Imagine how your life could be improved if you were to transform a dozen specific behaviors.
I am three months into this project right now. For my first month I focused on radically increasing my hydration because I know my body feels better when I have lots of water. At the start of the month I made sure I had water pitchers at each of my work stations, and I brought up bottled water from the basement to have around. I even wrote my goal on a piece of paper and taped it to the wall. As each day went by I’d find myself remembering “drink more water” and would grab a nearby glass. This system really worked for me to maintain my increased hydration well after the month ended.
Because the next month was February when my skin tends to get dry, I focused on keeping my skin extremely hydrated as my main intention and again I experienced a shift as enjoying creamy moisturizers became routine and dry winter skin became a thing of the past.
Now that I’m into my third month I’m focusing on regular meditation and looking forward to the other great habits I will adopt as the year goes by.
You don’t need to know all 12 habits at the outset either. You can just pick one and at the end of the month see what next one jumps out at you.
The habits can be about your health, diet, body, environment, relationships, finances, hobbies, career or anything else that would benefit from careful attention.
I find that, because it’s just one habit, it’s not as difficult to make a change compared to some sort of massive overhaul. I’ve also been pleasantly surprised at how effortless it’s been to maintain prior habits after 30 days of focus.
Our attention is very powerful. This 12 Winning Habit approach allows for us to leverage it in an impactful and lasting way.
Barbara Wayman, APR