Removing Something for 30 Days

Thirty-day trials are a simple idea to tackle. You choose something for 30 days, whether it’s adding something or subtracting something from your life and at the end of 30 days you can keep going, or give up.

I’ve done them at various times in my life with much success, and much failure. This past year, I’ve focused a little more in on the short-term trials in order to change habits and go in the direction of the person I’d like to become.

Most often 30-day trials suggest adding to your life. Doing yoga daily for 5 minutes for a month, or running each day, or eating healthier. Most of the 30-day trials you come across are there to improve a habit, add something in that’s healthier, and try to motivate you to keep going for your own mental or physical well-being beyond that month.

This year, I’ve done the One Year No Beer 90-day challenge, twice. I did it in the spring time, revealing to me how ingrained alcoholic beverages had become in my normal social life. It was hard to crack the habit and the desire, but after 90 days I felt like a different person. I felt stronger, and I felt such a sluggish difference when I had even one drink.

I am doing the challenge again, after a long summer where I overindulged at BBQs and didn’t like what I was doing to my body; my weight-loss and health progress in limbo. Now, 37 days in, it’s been much easier to take this journey, and something strange has already happened.

In experiencing 30-day trials that add something in your life or take something away, I’ve found that it’s been quite impressive following the removal path. It’s far easier for 30 days to say no to something than it is to commit to something that might take more time out of our already over scheduled lives.

What happens though is not only do you remove the unwanted habit or act, but it frees up more mental space and time to incorporate a healthy habit by default. For my current 90 day challenge, I began about a month and a half ago. What else did I begin shortly after that time? A running training plan.

Now, I didn’t go into the 90 day OYNB challenge with the intent to add in a running training plan, but it freed up mental space (and quite a bit of money) that I invested in something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time. As each week passed, I committed more to my running and less to accepting a drink when offered; no longer needing to explain to anyone I’m doing a challenge. This time around, no one expects me to drink as much as they did before the first challenge.

When the weekends come, I know I have a long run coming up and I tend to turn down that drink, and instead replace it with something that might not hinder my run the next morning; unsweetened tea or a chocolate egg cream anyone? By saying no for 90 days, which is a relatively short time, I’ve come to find more space and time to spend outdoors running or walking.

Up until this past week, I was following my training plan to the day. I took this previous week off due to a cold, but today I’m right back on target. If I hadn’t taken the challenge again for 90 days, I feel as though I might have mulled through a few weeks on the plan, but then had a drink one night and skipped a long run the next day. Result: plan going up in flames.

When you think of doing something for 30 days, does it make you uncomfortable or does it sound easy? After 30 days, you can always say you didn’t like the challenge, and move on. Or you’ll find it’s something that has opened up a new door for you to walk through.

I’m finding I like the challenge of removing something for 30 days. Whether it is alcohol, social media, or dessert. It’s only 30 days, which is just enough to start a new habit. Since you’re removing something it’s not as overwhelming, and you might just find a healthier habit forms all it’s own in that space.

I’m starting a little early on my next challenge, but I am taking a 30-day break from all social media. I’ve currently disabled my Instagram account, and my Twitter will sit empty requesting the “Hello World!” tweet to be sent out during this time. I removed the apps from my iPod (I don’t use an iPhone) and I will no longer be checking in until November.

If you’re wondering about Facebook, I quit my private account 4 years ago this fall, and I disabled the fan page for this blog during the summer. You may or may not have noticed, as both IG and FB changed their news feed policies to show you only specific content.

For me, I feel less social while using social media than connected to others. I spend far less face time with friends the more I use it; as there is no reason to get in touch because we think we know everything that is happening through our filtered social media experiences. My husband would say the opposite for his experience, which makes for quite a lot of interesting talks in our home about how we view and interact in the world.

What I can tell you so far from the first day walking away from the time wasting experience of social media, I crocheted a hat from start to finish for a Christmas gift, aside from spending the whole day at home with our children, cooking a fresh homemade meal that I didn’t need to take a photo of to share. I also came up with 5 ebook ideas to write this fall. That that though, I’ve been meaning to start for a few weeks now.

Remove that bad habit for 30 days, and see what grows.

Check out more on 30 Days to Success from Steve Pavlina.