Forming new habits, one 30-day challenge at a time

Hello, 2012! I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this year lately; my goals, wishes, hopes. I’m all for making resolutions – they work for me, at least for a little while. At the same time, I hate how everyone seemingly makes these goals on the first of the new year, crowds the gym, swears on nutrition, and then so many people (including me) lose those goals in about a month, maybe two.

I don’t want that to be me this year.

So to avoid that, I’ve considered a few things. First of all, let’s not think of these goals as “resolutions” – it carries too much weight on my shoulders. Instead, I’m going to think of them as habits. There’s a great blog post from Zen Habits about creating fitness habits, which you can read here. I used that as a basis for my thoughts.

Secondly, I considered what I am already doing in my life, and opted not to have those be part of the new “habits” I am forming. They are part of my days already; perhaps not to the extent I want them to be, but that is something I can work on.

I already:

-Went gluten free, and have stayed so through the holidays and for about three to four months now.

-Go to the gym regularly. I’m in love with my new gym classes (yoga, pilates, kickboxing, spinning, cardio pump, power sculpt, etc.) and go almost every day.

Thirdly, there will be no habits/goals/resolutions regarding getting pregnant. We all know, above all, that is what I care about most for 2012 and forming some sort of timeline around it would be a bad idea.

Lastly, I’ve found that to form new habits for 2012, one would need to be very specific. “Eating healthier” won’t cut it. “Exercise more” won’t work either. If you aren’t extremely specific about what you want to achieve, there will be too many gray areas and you’ll lose it. For example, my husband has just started training for a full Ironman triathlon that will take place this summer. His goals include 1) finishing that race, and 2) getting down to a specific goal weight in training. He will form his new “habits” around those goals.

I had been considering a sort of “30-Day Challenge” for a little while now, and liked the idea a lot. Rebecca, on her blog, had a 30-Day Blog Challenge that I thought was cool. Then, this morning, I stumbled upon another idea, stemming from Invisible Mother and Hannah Wept Sarah Laughed. 12 Months, 12 Challenges. I like it! Instead of challenges, I’ll be thinking of them as new habits.

I’m going to give it a try, combining the ideas. Instead of coming up with the habits I’d like to form now for each month of the year (like 12 Months, 12 Challenges), I’m going to just work on one month at a time, and go about it like a 30-day challenge. I’ll keep them up on the sidebar and will update my progress regularly. There is no reason I can’t do one specific thing every day for a month.

So, January is here. My goal for January is to eat smaller portions. My 30-Day Habit is going to be cutting my normal portions way down, by about half, especially at dinner. Why? Well, I generally eat as much as my husband at dinner (and sometimes lunch), and sometimes I could keep going when he is full. He’s over 40 pounds heavier than me. This should not be, and it reflects in the scale.

I also will judge if my portion size is the right one for me by how I feel after 20 minutes. I am used to stopping when I am FULL, sometimes uncomfortably full. If after 20 minutes, I am still hungry, I will have more veggies, or a little more protein. I highly doubt I will do this, however.

Yes, this is going to be really hard. I have the worst self-control when it comes to portion sizes. But that’s why it’s called a challenge. I’ll be forming a new habit – eat less, feel better. That  means for any gatherings in the month of January, I still will have to eat a small portion.

Notice I didn’t decide upon the type of food to eat. One month at a time.

I invite you to give this a try. Make your own “12 Months, 12 Challenges”, “30-Day Challenge”, or combine the two, like I did. Make yourself accountable for it – if you have a blog, post about it, regularly. If you don’t, write it down in a journal and make sure to look at it daily, to remind yourself of how well you’re doing or to get a kick in the butt. If writing isn’t your thing, tell someone who won’t mind hearing the updates. Make sure others know – it’s a surefire way to keep you going when you don’t feel like you can.

So, what is your January 30-Day Challenge going to be?



6 thoughts on “Forming new habits, one 30-day challenge at a time

  1. Ess says:

    Love this line of thinking! My challenge for the month of January is to be a little better with meal planning. We’re also going to invest in new freezer to assist with this meal planning. I really like your portion size challenge too. Think I might follow suit on that one. Enjoy New Years day with your husband. My husband and I are flying back home this afternoon. Back to reality! : )

    • futuresoccermom says:

      Oh I LOVE meal planning. Good for you! My friends think I’m crazy when they come over and see my list on the fridge of what we’re eating for the week but it really helps! I’d say the new freezer is a great idea – especially when buying meat in bulk. Let me know how the meal planning works out for you. Have a safe flight back!

  2. Hope says:

    This sounds great! I didn’t mention it in my post, but I’m definitely thinking of some of my challenges as the beginnings of new habits. I’m so glad you’re joining me in this!

  3. Emily @ablanket2keep says:

    This is a great idea! I think I might try this, but I don’t think I am going to keep track of it on my blog. I think for January I will steal the idea from Hannah wept Sarah laughed and make sure I eat breakfast every morning. Thanks for the idea!

  4. futuresoccermom says:

    I know, we’ll see how long it actually lasts on the blog. I hope that it helps keep me accountable, and it does take my mind off of baby-related things, which is nice once in a while. Eating breakfast every morning is a great one!

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