(First written and published on Apr 4, 2010)
Do you know your habits are interrelated? For example, when you’re cultivating a good habit in your life, everything else is moving along well. On the other hand, when a bad habit creeps in, everything else crashes too.
There were times when my lifestyle went out of whack. It would happen when I fill my plate with more things than I can handle or when Q1 urgent tasks come into the foray. Being the workaholic, I rather give up sleep to put things in place, which causes my sleeping hours to get out of sync. I can be sleeping as late as 4-6am. Sometimes I don’t even sleep if I’ve an engagement the next day!
Since I sleep so late, my waking hours get pushed back against my better wishes. I don’t get to exercise in the morning. At work, I’m usually playing “catch up” with my task list. I’m sometimes late for appointments. At night, I jog where I can, but that means I have to stay up late to finish my work and sleep late (again).
Day after day, I observe this general pattern playing out.
Sleep late → Wake up late →No time to exercise →Late for appointment → Stay late to do work →Sleep late .
I found no matter how I try to change each outcome, everything will snap back stubbornly into this routine. If I’ve a meeting or a workshop where I absolutely have to wake up early, this happens:
Sleep late → Wake up early →Time to exercise →Reach work on time → Get work done→ Get more work done →Sleep late.
However, this lasts 3-4 days before my entire system crashes inward to recover on my lost sleep.
Our Habits are Interlinked Like A Web
It seems as long as there’s a habit that doesn’t sync with the rest, it’ll not be possible to sustain all the other habits. This made me realize our habits are tightly linked to each other. Each habit is reinforced by other habits. These habits work together to maintain the structure of your life.
For example, imagine a spider web. A spider web has multiple threads which support its web pattern. If you want the web to disintegrate, cutting off one of the threads is not enough – you have to cut off all the threads that are essential to the structure.
Likewise, to break out of a rut, a slump or an undesirable habit, it’s not as easy as just changing that one habit. You need to change all the habits linked to it - the bad ones, half bad ones or neutral ones.
21-Day Lifestyle Revamp Program
Realizing this sparked off the idea of the 21-Day Lifestyle Revamp Program. In 2009, I wrote about 21-Day Trial Program as a program that helps you cultivate a new habit at a time. With the Lifestyle Revamp Program, you design your ideal lifestyle that you want – complete with all the new habits you want to cultivate, current habits you want to tweet, old habits you want to get rid of. Then, for the next 21-Days starting Day-1, you will embark on this new lifestyle and shed off your past habits.
This program is about giving your lifestyle a total revamp and boosting you to the life you want. It applies if:
- You are in a rut and you want to jump-start your momentum
- Your life has been spinning out of control and you want to make a serious change
- You want to cultivate a new habit(s) which is inherently linked to other habits
- You love to use overwhelming force (Strategy #6) to take your life to new levels
How To Start
Step 1: Pick At least 3 Habits
Pick at least 3 habits you want to adopt. You can refer to the list of habits here for your inspiration. It’s best if these habits are interlinked with one another – meaning, achieving one increases the likelihood of achieving the other. The simplest example would be sleeping early and waking up early. Another example is leaving work by 6pm and exercising every evening. The more habits you pick, the bigger the change you will experience through these 21 days
Example: My Target Habits
- Wake up at 5am. I used to do this before work got ahead of me. Nowadays, the times when I am awake at 5am are the times when I haven’t slept the day before. I look forward to reliving the benefits of waking up early soon.
- Sleep no later than 12am. This will be necessary to get Habit #1 in place.
- Spend at least 6hrs / day on work. My key work tasks are blog related – writing new articles and promoting the blog.
- Timeliness: Being on time for my appointments. When my day starts off on a late note, everything else becomes implicated, including my timeliness. I’ll address this by striving reaching early, rather than being on time (Tip #17 on 17 Tips To Be On Time).
- Stick to my skincare regimen (morning+night). (Guys can skip this if it’s too girly for you.) This might sound atypical for a female, but I’ve always been tardy with my skincare regimen since I’m young and I want to be diligent in it
- Spirituality: Meditate every evening. I plan to meditate before I sleep. I’m not setting a time as I’ve found my meditations most effective when I meditate in my own space. Usually that ranges anywhere from 15 minutes to 45 minutes. Since meditation clears mental clutter and reduces the amount of sleep I need, it’ll help in Habit #1.
- Self-Enrichment: Read a book or listen to a podcast for 30 min
- Start raw vegan diet
Step 2: Know Why You Are Doing This
You need to have a strong enough “why” on why you want to adopt these habits. While idea of a mega trial might sound fun and motivating, such external sparks of inspiration can only carry you through for a few days. If you want to achieve success for the 21 days, you need to have a strong reason why you even want to cultivate these habits. For me, I’ve been living the flip side of my target habits for months. I’ve experienced how they are and it’s not all that great. Not only that, there are undesirable outcomes such as lower productivity, lack of control over my lifestyle, imbalance of work and social life, among others. By cultivating these 7 new habits, it’ll help set in place the structure of my day-to-day routine, which will consequently help everything to flow into place.
Step 3: Follow the Success Strategies in 21-Day Trial
I have written 6 success strategies for 21-Day Trial which apply to the 21-Day Mega Trial too. Be sure to apply them for your mega trial.
Important Resources To Help You Succeed
- 21-Day Trial To Cultivate A New Habit – What to expect in the 21-days and important strategies to succeed
- HabitForge – Tracks new habits through a 21-day period. If you miss the habit for 1 day, it’ll restart. (Recommended by reader Dan)
- Rootein – Unlike Habit Forge, this is an ongoing habit tracker. There is also a mobile version for you to track your habits on the go. (Recommended by reader onlyamitabh)
- Joe’s Goals – Same as Rootein. There’s an option to place multiple checks on the same goal for extra-productive days. (Recommended by reader Melinda)
The same term for 21-Day Trial applies – You must do the habit every day for 21 days. If you break the cycle in any day, you have to start all over.
This is part of the Cultivate Good Habits Series. Be sure to check out the full series:
- 21 Days To Cultivate Life Transforming Habits
- 21-Day Lifestyle Revamp Program
- 14 Tips To Successfully Cultivate New Habits (exclusive article in Personal Excellence Book, Volume 2)
- Waking Early: 21 Tips To Wake Up Early
- Quitting Soda: 5 Reasons To Quit Drinking Soda (& How To Do It)
- Improve Your Posture: Benefits Of A Good Posture (& 13 Tips To Do It)
- Be TV-Free: 10 Reasons You Should Stop Watching TV
- Being On Time: 17 Tips To Be On Time
- Meditation: 10 Reasons You Should Meditate | How To Meditate in 5 Simple Steps
- Manage Emails Effectively: 11 Simple Tips To Effective Email Management
- Run Barefoot: 10 Reasons You Should Start Running Barefoot
- Weight Loss: 25 Of My Best Weight Loss Tips
- Emotional Eating: How To Stop Emotional Eating (6-part series)
- Better Oral Care: How To Attain Healthier Gums and Teeth – A Simple but Important Guide
Image: Spider web
« Prev: Comments Are Now Open!
Next: 21-Day Lifestyle Revamp Program – Day 1 Review »