29 Days to a Better You

29-days-to-a-better

“Be content with what you have, not with who you are.” 

Around the world, people celebrate today as the start of a new year. And with it, they celebrate new opportunity, new possibility, new life.

In fact, many will mark today with a New Years’ resolution: a decision to implement change and develop new, life-giving habits. I fully support them. We should always seek to improve the quality of our lives. And if our effectiveness can be enhanced, we ought to pursue it. In fact, in the past, I’ve even offered some life resolutions to consider.

As many of us seek to develop new habits in our lives, I want to encourage you with a simple formula I have used in the past. Perhaps you will find it helpful as well.

Whenever I seek to implement a positive life change, I always employ the 29 Day Experiment Method. The method originally grew out of Steve Pavlina’s 30 Days to Success… I just accidentally applied a different number of days the first time I used it.

The goal of the method is to commit your life to a desired change for just the next 29 days.

And the method is based on a very simple premise: most people will neglect to follow through on their resolutions simply because they seem unattainable. Even though we can only change one day at a time, our minds begin to talk us out of change because it seems too big for the rest of our lives. Our minds fool us by thinking, “We’ll never follow through anyway, so why start?”

To combat this mental roadblock, the 29-Day Experiment commits to only implement the desired change for a 29-day trial period. As a result, I’m not “changing my life forever.” I’m just “trying something new for the next 29 days.” You can even mark the days on a calendar if you find motivation in seeing your progress. At the end of the 29 days, you will have a significant sample size to determine if the change is right for you. And if you desire to keep it, the habit will have naturally taken root in your life.

As I mentioned, I’ve used this method numerous times in my life to spark positive change:

  • I used it to declutter my house… complete one project for 29 consecutive days.
  • I used it to get in shape… visit the gym for 29 consecutive days.
  • I used it to become an early-riser… wake up at 5am for the next 29 days.
  • I used it to become a better reader… read something each day for the next 29 days.
  • I used it to change my eating habits… commit to a Slow-Carb diet for 29 days.

The method has proven to work in my life over and over again. And if you determined to mark the arrival of the new year with a positive resolution for change, I think you will find success in the method too. Just commit your life to a simple 29-day experiment, you’ll be glad you did.

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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Comments

  1. says

    Great suggestion! The way to eat a whale is one bite at a time.

    I have to admit that I have mixed feelings on goals/resolutions. Last year I made 5 very lofty resolutions, and they helped me to stay focused. I made progress toward all of them, even the ones that I did not meet. I think, with goals, it’s the journey that’s more important than the end result. If we fixate on the end only, we become perfectionists and give up when we fall short. Doing something for 29 days is a great idea, but it’s important not to give up, if we miss a day.

  2. says

    I agree Bethany. Using a goal as a starting point is great. I find it more useful to have a goal as an object to build methods and habits around. After that discard the goal and focus on living right now and using the practices that you came up with to achieve the goal. Example – I want to help others by sharing things that I learn and experience in life. A goal could be to have 10,000 people read my blog where I offer insights to living a meaningful life. To achieve that goal I need to write meaningful posts, engage in like minded communities, etc….Now I can throw away the goal because I don’t want to focus on the future. I want to focus on living NOW and doing the things that matter. Also, at some point the goal becomes a limit. No need for limits.

    Dan @ ZenPresence

    • says

      One problem with a goal such as having 10,000 people read your blog might be that you’re stating your goal in terms of what you want other people to do, not what you yourself will do. I can’t control how other people will change, only how I will change. Thank you for helping me think through how I want to structure my own goals!

  3. Ginny says

    I love New Years simply because I connect it to a time to reflect on past experiences, look at where I am as the new year begins and decide what to keep, what to improve upon and what no longer serves me. There are many intangible things we tend to accumulate that is good to examine and release, such as bad habits, negativity, and clinging to things that keep us from growing. 29 (or 30) days of focused attention is a good way to renew our path toward improvement and simplicity.

  4. says

    Happy New Year! I think your plan to implement positive change in your life is a great–it’s important to take consistent baby steps if you want to create a new habit. BUT–I did pause when I saw your opening quote, ““Be content with what you have, not with who you are.” While I’m all for being content with what you have–that’s certainly a minimal or simple living perspective–I’m not certain that you can be content if you aren’t happy with who you are. That doesn’t mean you don’t want make changes or create good habits, but most people who aren’t content with who they are usually look for happiness and contentment OUTSIDE themselves by buying and hoarding stuff they think will lead to happiness. True contentment (IMHO) is being happy with who you are AND being happy with what you have. Simply “becoming” minimalist is a good place to start…but finding happiness and contentment in all that you do, have and are, is a step beyond.

    • says

      The quote stuck out to me too, but I have a different perspective. I think it’s good to be content with what you have (and most of us who read Becoming Minimalist value material contentment). But, I think it’s okay to not be completely content with who you are. While I am happy with who I am, there are always areas where I can strive to improve. I think personal growth is necessary to be a well rounded and happy person. The books I read, scripture I memorize, blogs I subscribe to, friends I surround myself with, etc. all help me learn, grow and become a better person.

  5. Une femme libre says

    What a great idea. I chose the gym everyday for 29 days. It won’t be easy but I will stick with it. Thanks.

  6. says

    I have been using this method except that I take a vow to continue the habit for 21 days. It’s very effective.I used this method to make meditation a daily habit. I have also used this method to become vegetarian and exercising daily. Thanks for sharing it….I am sure many more I going to be benefitted by implementing this.

  7. Ginger says

    I think I will be using the 29 days to read more. I remember a time in which I was happiest reading and want to get back to that feeling of contentment.

  8. Shannon says

    Good idea. For the past four years I have made my goal be to make it until Valentine’s Day. So from Jan 1st to Feb 14th I have gone without soda and sugar, worked out every day, kept a scripture journal, etc. I figure I can do anything for six weeks. Sometimes I like it and I keep going for the rest of the year. Sometimes I find that six weeks was enough. This year I have several goals. Good luck to us all!

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