30 day trials
One of the most effective tools you can use to further your personal growth is the ’30 day trial’. Using this method can literally change your life in just 30 days. A 30 day trial is an effective way to break old habits, develop new ones, and test new ways of living to see if they resonate with you.
I have been exploring the 30 day trial method for a while thanks to Steve Pavlina who introduced the idea to me — and I’m using it more and more as I realize it’s potential as a tool for personal growth. My most recent 30 day trial was with the raw food diet. I conducted that trial for the entire month of April with great success. You can read my final report and a list of daily posts from that trial here, 30 Days on the Raw Food Diet: My Final Report.
You’re more likely to succeed
Like Steve Pavlina says, a 30 day trial is far more likely to succeed than attempting to make a permanent change that you’re unsure about. If you jump into a major change in with the idea that it’s going to be permanent you’re probably not going to succeed. I hate to break it to you but you probably don’t have the self discipline to make any real change a permanent one right off the bat, especially if you’ve got pre-existing habits that are in conflict with the new ones. If you can jump into a lifestyle change and make it permanent right off the hop then congratulations, you’ve got fantastic discipline. But if you’re like most people you’ve probably tried to make all kinds of permanent changes in your life with the failures far outweighing the successes. If this sounds like you, you’ll have a lot more success if you focus on getting the first 30 days behind you and deciding wether you want to continue with it or not once you’re at that point.
Don’t worry about day 31
If you get to day 31 and you don’t want to continue, then you can feel comfortable allowing yourself to go back to your old habits or try something completely different. If you go into a new habit with this attitude you will be much more likely to succeed. If at the end you decide you don’t want to continue then you can at least be confident that you gave it an honest try and it didn’t work out for you.
With a 30 day trial you can even mark the days on a calendar and cross them off as you get closer to the end of the trial if you think it will help.
When you approach a life change with this attitude suddenly the challenge doesn’t seem quite so difficult. I mean come on, 30 days? You can do anything for a measly 30 days, can’t you? Of course you can!
Get more support from friends
You’ll also find that family, friends, and coworkers are much more supportive if you tell them that you’re only doing it for 30 days instead of forever. They’ll be more encouraging if they see it as an achievable goal instead of all talk with no walk. If someone tells me they are going to quit drinking booze or coffee for the rest of their life I roll my eyes and think “Ohh yeah… Sure ya are buddy” but if they tell me they are doing it for 30 days I might actually believe them and encourage them to see it through to the last day. If they manage to get through those 30 days successfully and then say that they’re going to continue the habit indefinitely I’ll be much more likely to believe them since they’ve got 30 days behind them to back it up.
30 days to infinity
After you have 30 days behind you it’s much easier to continue that habit if you’d like to do so. By the time you’ve done (or not done) something for 30 days it’s begun to form a habit. Once you’ve gone 30 days what’s stopping you from doing another 30? How about another 300 days? If you wanted you could carry the habit into the future indefinitely if you think it suits you. If not, you’re free to drop it and try something else. If you don’t give the change a fair chance then you can’t really make a fair evaluation, can you?
Make or break habits
You can do this to make or break almost any habit you can think of. It’s especially good for testing out a new diet or fitness program. 30 days gives you enough time to adjust to your new lifestyle, anything less than 30 days and you may still be adjusting. If your body hasn’t fully adjusted to your new diet then how can you make an accurate judgement of whether it suits you or not? You can’t. The same goes for a new fitness program. For the first few weeks you’re going to be pretty sore if you suddenly start working muscles that haven’t been worked in months or even years. After a month or so you’ll start to get into the swing of things and you’ll begin to notice your skills improving, but for the first while you’re probably not going to feel that great while your body is adjusting to your new training routine. That’s just how it is, it takes time to adjust to a new lifestyle.
I know this all sounds pretty simple but even doing something for just 30 days demands a high amount of self discipline. You’d be surprised how many people fail at sticking to something that’s out of their norm for even just a few days. Getting the first 30 days behind you is the hardest part, after that it gets easier as the new habit becomes more and more ingrained and starts taking over as your new norm while replacing the old one.
Every 30 day trial that you complete builds self discipline. The more you work on your self discipline the stronger it will get. You can think of your self discipline as a muscle and 30 day trials as weights. The more you exercise, the stronger you get.
As you do new trials you can increase the challenge to test and build your self discipline. Sometimes you will fail but you can often learn more from your failures than you can from your successes. If you fail at a certain 30 day trial it gives you a better idea of where you are at in terms of your self discipline. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t complete a 30 day trial, learn from the experience and move on. You can always try it again later when you think you’re better prepared.
Examine the reasons for your failures and consider how you could avoid making those mistakes in the future and how you can increase your chance of success for next time. Don’t make the mistake of focusing solely on your failures either, you must also remember to take note of where you were successful and think about why you experienced more success in one area compared to another.
Examples of 30 day trials
- Try a new diet for 30 days
- Read for an hour every day for 30 days
- Write a new blog post every day for 30 days
- Learn a new word every day for 30 days
- Meet 30 new people – one a day
- Stop watching TV for 30 days
- Practice a new skill every day for 30 days
- Write with your left hand for 30 days
- Make your bed every day for 30 days
- Go somewhere you’ve never been every day for 30 days
- Shower before bed every night for 30 days
- Sell something you don’t need anymore on ebay every day
- Brush your teeth every day for 30 days in a row
- Keep your inbox empty for 30 days
- Read a personal development article every day
- Spend an hour a day with your pet for 30 days
- Try a new food every day for 30
- Shave every day for 30 days
- Identify everything that goes right for you each day, for 30 days
- Go for a bike ride every morning for 30 days
- Practice the law of attraction for 30 days
- Meditate twice a day for 30 days
- Make a new business contact every day for 30 days
- Share a new bloggers articles every day for 30 days
- Work on your online business for an hour a day
- Spend an hour a day researching something that interests you
These are just a few ideas to get you going, you can apply this method to just about anything.