21-Day Lifestyle Revamp Program

(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 workSleep 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 lateWake 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.

Spider web

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:

  1. You are in a rut and you want to jump-start your momentum
  2. Your life has been spinning out of control and you want to make a serious change
  3. You want to cultivate a new habit(s) which is inherently linked to other habits
  4. 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

  1. 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.
  2. Sleep no later than 12am. This will be necessary to get Habit #1 in place.
  3. Spend at least 6hrs / day on work. My key work tasks are blog related – writing new articles and promoting the blog.
  4. 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).
  5. 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
  6. 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.
  7. Self-Enrichment: Read a book or listen to a podcast for 30 min
  8. 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)

Program Terms

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:

  1. 21 Days To Cultivate Life Transforming Habits
  2. 21-Day Lifestyle Revamp Program
  3. 14 Tips To Successfully Cultivate New Habits (exclusive article in Personal Excellence Book, Volume 2)
  4. Waking Early21 Tips To Wake Up Early
  5. Quitting Soda5 Reasons To Quit Drinking Soda (& How To Do It)
  6. Improve Your PostureBenefits Of A Good Posture (& 13 Tips To Do It)
  7. Be TV-Free: 10 Reasons You Should Stop Watching TV
  8. Being On Time17 Tips To Be On Time
  9. Meditation: 10 Reasons You Should MeditateHow To Meditate in 5 Simple Steps
  10. Manage Emails Effectively11 Simple Tips To Effective Email Management
  11. Run Barefoot: 10 Reasons You Should Start Running Barefoot
  12. Weight Loss: 25 Of My Best Weight Loss Tips
  13. Emotional EatingHow To Stop Emotional Eating (6-part series)
  14. Better Oral CareHow To Attain Healthier Gums and Teeth – A Simple but Important Guide

Image: Spider web

  • http://www.minorsecond.com Robert Wardrup

    I followed your guest post at lifehack over to your blog and would just like to say that this is some amazing stuff! I think I’ll definitely join you, although I’m six days too late.. haha.

  • Nikki

    I’m a bit late too, but found this after reading your post on Lifehack! I was very inspired so here is my list of new habits:
    • Waking up early (5am)
    • Sticking to my skincare regimen
    • Flossing my teeth
    • Exercising: Going to the gym, Jogging, Yoga
    • Reaching work at 8.05am
    • Doing work on time
    • Cutting out chocolate and candy
    • Not complaining, gossiping, criticising or judging others.
    Like you said, a lot of them turn out to be linked – getting up early will enable me to have time for skincare, flossing, exercising and getting to work on time, which will help me do my work on time, which will reduce my stress and will help me avoid the need for chocolate and also make me less grumpy and likely to complain! It’s amazing how it all fits together!
    I will be starting at 5am tomorrow! Thank you for the inspiration!

  • Jen

    I couldn’t have picked a better time to discover your website!

    #1-get up early
    #2-fall asleep by 11
    #3-meditate daily
    #4-stop procrastinating

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  • http://www.arrannorth.co.uk Arran

    Hi Celes! xD!

    Stumbled across your site and I must say its awesome!

    I’m a student and freelance designer & I’ve been really struggling recently staying organized. I have tried a whole host of things. I have read through some of your articles and they are really inspiring – As of 5am tomorrow I will start my 21-Day Lifestyle Revamp program… & I genuinely can’t wait.

    Once again, thanks for the great articles, and keep it up!!

    All the best,
    Arran

    • http://www.arrannorth.co.uk Arran

      PS I have no idea why it is showing that picture of a girl in my avatar??… (i’m a chap aha!!?!)

      • http://personalexcellence.co/blog/ Celes

        Hey Arran, welcome to Personal Excellence :D Let us know how your 21-D program works out! Some of the readers here are halfway through the program and are doing very well on them.

        On the avatar, do you use your comp with someone else (your sis perhaps?) It’s retrieved from your gravatar account. You can customized it at http://gravatar.com.

        • http://www.arrannorth.co.uk Arran

          Hi Celes!

          aha thank you for your warm welcome :)

          Great to read that! & it went pretty well this morning, up at 5am, and running by quarter past!

          I ‘clicked on’ (Re: the avatar) last night – I remember working with a client on designing a blog, and have realized it is them!! Will get that changed asap.

          PS really digging the design of the blog, if I can ever be of service, do let me know :) be fantastic to give something back to you!

          Thanks,
          Arran

  • Cristina

    Wow! I am so excited to have found your website Celes. I just had a baby 7 weeks ago( Gabriella) and I desperately need to change my life now! My boyfriend and I have been together for two years. He has been very supportive and patient with me. However, we discussed earlier today that if I don’t start being proactive in my life instead of reactive, I will no longer be in his future plans. So you see, I am heading down a path where I will lose everything. This will be my motivation to complete this challenge. Much like many, I have been trying to implement new positive habits in my life for a long time. I am more then ready for this challenge!
    Starting today!
    • Wake up at 8:00 am (baby steps :) I wake up at 3pm or later now)
    In order to do so I will go to bed no later than 12am
    • Eat completely healthy & drink lots of water (great for me & Gabriella)
    i.e. no sugar, actually eat!
    • take multivitamin
    • atleast 30 min. of exercise in the morning
    • 1 hr of homework everyday ( I take online classes)
    • leave the house atleast once a day with Gabriella ( a walk with the stroller or shopping ect.)
    • floss every night ( almost have this one day, but no cookie yet)

    I feel very hopeful that I can suceed with all of you. As weird as it may sound to some( no one on here), I find it very comforting knowing that I’m not the person in the world that struggles with everday stuff. I wish you all the best and thank you for sharing. Thank you Celes!

    • 1 hour of homework a day (I take online courses)

  • Dennis

    Hi! How is everybody doing on their 21 day program?

    I am happy to report that I have established all but one of my target habits:
    * Pray for 30 minutes.
    * Exercise every day.
    * Research career options.
    * Perform job search activities.
    * Prepare for Toastmasters role or speech.
    * Sleep by midnight (in progress).

    Thank you Celes! Your article has made a real difference in my life.

  • http://www.fotografunk.com Natalya

    celestine – I had already started a life revamp then i stumbled upon your blog, it’s good to know that people out there are doing this. just for kicks here’s what i’ve been doing:

    - HAbit #1 Eliminate Junk Food by eating a very healthy, natural, and mainly organic diet introducing different food groups at different intervals (i’ve been doing this for exactly 19 days now. THis has been the foundation for the elimination of my other bad habits:
    - Habit #2 Beat my 16 year acne condition through not picking and intense skin care regimes. i’m 28, i struggled with acne for about 16 years
    - Habit #3 Being tired all the time. I’m now waking up EARLY and going to sleep EARLY. This summer it has been easier to do since I am taking a break from my masters program. But by the time fall comes around, I will be an official morning person. I’ve been in bed before 11:30 every night for the past 19 days, and up at 7:30 at the latest.
    - Habit #4 Rebuild my spiritual connection with God. I’ve been immersing myself in Scripture, as well as devotionals. I am also going to start going back to my Church.
    - Habit #5 Rid my life of lethargy. MOrning simple workouts are helping me out A LOT. I’m more toned than I was before. I am prepping my body for more intense workout routines.

    If anyone is interested, I am following a book called The Maker’s Diet.

  • http://www.livesimplified.net Chris

    This article was very helpful and inspirational. I am about to begin my own 21 day trial. My cousin and myself have created a site to sort of track our progress and hopefully help others with their success. And also learn from others input. Celes I would love it if you would check it out and tell me what you think. http://www.livesimplified.net

    Thank you so much for all the inspiration! :wink:

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