Day 23 of my 30 day, 300+ word, 3 main points writing challenge
I have been trialling a system I personally developed to help me Transition from a not-so-great habit to a much better habit.
The system enables early “baby steps” to be taken. The end goal is easily broken down into smaller pieces that expand as your ability to adjust to your desired change gets stronger.
The system is easy to remember, can be applied to almost anything, and is forgiving in it’s nature.
No hard-core cold turkey required. Instead a steady and doable process to move from A to B.
I call the system my 5–10–15–30 system.
If you think you may have this worked out already, you need to read on to discover the subtleties on why this is foolproof.
Examples of “transition goals” I have personally applied this method to;
- Waking up 1 hr earlier each morning
- Meditation – starting it and making it a daily habit
- Weight loss – moving from slightly overweight to where I should be
- Eliminating sugar in my coffee
The 5–10–15–30 system
Aim for 5 days straight of doing (or quitting) your “thing”. Start on Monday, end on Friday.
If you are like me, my weekends lack the same routine and rigour I have on weekdays. So start on Monday to give you the best chance of sticking to your first 5 days.
5 days is not a long time so this is your first mini-milestone.
(For a super-soft entry point, if 5 days in a row just seems too daunting to start your change, modify the system to include a 2–3–5 at the beginning)
Now celebrate your achievement, it is now the weekend. Feel free to enjoy the next two days away from your transition plan.
Ensure you give yourself a break over the first weekend. Don’t be all “Team Extreme” on me here and go hard-core. This is why most people end up giving up their transition goal (aka quitting).
They are relying on their willpower to push through the change / adaptation barrier and willpower diminishes with time. This is not a sustainable strategy.
Start again on the following Monday, and this time you will aim for 2 weeks in a row. Specifically Monday-Friday, then the subsequent Monday-Friday. Whilst this equates to 10 days, those of you who are sharp of mind will note my “trick”.
By achieving the “10” mini milestone, you have actually achieved 15 weekdays in succession.
Next step, “15”
This is not what you think.
This is not 3 sets of weekdays in a row, this is now 15 days straight. This is where you tackle your first weekend. In truth, you tackle two weekends in a row.
Hopefully by now you have started to form a habit, but you still have some way to go before you can claim you have made it.
You now have a track record behind you to push through your first weekend. So onwards you go. Start once again on Monday. 15 days straight…
The logic here, and personal experience is that if you make this milestone, you are well on your way to forming your habit. Seize the moment and keep the momentum going.
This stage is basically KEEP GOING!
Celebrate your 15 straight day milestone but immediately continue to 30. You now know you can push through to 15 days in a row (including 2 weekends), so you are just doing it all again.
What you may not know is that if you hit 30 days straight, then research has shown that you have a greater than 75% likelihood of continuing the habit.
With this carrot in front of you, and with the groundwork already laid from the previous stages, it’s a no-brainer to “push on” to 30.
So that is the basic structure of the 5–10–15–30 transition plan.
Now for the best bit
The principle will work for anything with a small amount of imagination.
5–10–15–30 could work for…
- Days required to give up alcohol, quit certain foods, quit Netflix, whatever
- % body weight reduction – start with 5%, then 10% and so on. Obviously I am NOT advocating 10%, 15% or 30% is applicable to everyone as it depends on what your starting point is. But the principle applies.
- Weight loss or gain – 5 pounds (or kilos), 10 pounds (or kilos) etc
- Minutes I spend exercising each day
How about addressing your work-life balance;
- Minutes I spend at work after (say) 5pm – do the reverse. Start with 30mins, then transition to 20mins, then 10, then 5, then 0. Home time, family time, community time, friends time, me time. Anything other than work time.
- Minutes I spend reading with my kids; 5–10–15–30
Start easier. Add a 2–3 at the front of the sequence ie: 2–3–5–10–15–20. Start with 2 days in a row (wk1), then 3 days in a row (wk2) then 5 days in a row (wk3). You get the picture.
Different numbers. Try this combination instead; 2–4–8–16–32
This transition process is simple to remember, simple to implement and it is adaptable. But most importantly it is achievable as I can personally attest.
So I invite you to give it a try and let me know how it went.
The 333 Writing Challenge chronicles
PS: My most popular articles are indicated as follows **Day X**
**Day 1** — Why Writing Challenges Suck So Badly? — Pt1
Day 2 — Why Writing Challenges Suck So Badly? — Pt2
Day 3 — A Glimpse of the Future
Day 4 — Three Decades of Wisdom in 3 Dot Points
Day 5 — What 100 Days of Meditation Has Taught Me
Day 6 — I’m in Deep Shit. Today I Really Pissed Off the Boss — Epilogue
Day 7 — Embrace The Lazy Worker. They Are Your Most Valuable Player
**Day 8** — Why Ageism Is The Dirty Little Secret Of The Workplace
Day 9 — What To Do When You Are Not Feeling It
Day 10 — The One Essential Question You Must Have An Answer For
Day 11 — Does Your Personal Baggage Make You A Loser?
Day 12 — What Type Of Leader are You? The Truth Can Sometimes Be A…
**Day 13** — Three Painful Lessons I’m Learning From This Writing Challenge
**Day 14** — Why Today Was The Best Day Ever
Day 15–3 Reasons Why Someone’s Else’s Self-Interest and Personal Agendas Are Good For Us
Day 16 — A Cold Shower AND Sex!?
Day 17 — Cut The Macho Hustle Crap
Day 18 — Men. This Is The Best Relationship Advice You Will Ever Get
Day 19 — Are You Guilty Of Gender Equity Apathy
Day 20 — Why Medium Is My Drug Of Choice (And Why It should Be Yours Too)
**Day 21** — A Cold Shower AND Sex!? — Part 2
Day 22 — Is Workplace Gender Equity A Lost Cause?
Day 23 — Todays post
Day 24 — I’m channelling some inspiration from your claps…
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Habit Transitioning – A Foolproof System was originally published in The Ascent on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.