Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Try something new for 30 days

Is there anything you’ve always wanted to try? Go ahead and try it out for 30 days. According to Matt Cutts, 30 days are just enough time to add a new habit or subtract it.

In a TED Talk, the software engineer briefly explains his idea. He has been experimenting with various projects, from riding his bike to work on a regular basis to writing a novel. He reports that, apart from having added new habits, he also benefited from his experiments in many other ways. He says that time was much more memorable. His self-confidence grew when facing increasingly difficult challenges. His key insight is that if you really want something badly enough, you can almost do anything, and that making small sustainable changes is what makes them stick.

This is a very encouraging little talk. It seems that it is possible to form habits if you are consistent for thirty days. That’s not a long time. What else might help in order to form a new habit? We learned that rewarding ourselves accelerates the establishment of neuronal connections in our brains. Such a reward can be something external. But from Matt Cutts’ talk, it also becomes obvious that the new habits and their outcomes can be very rewarding themselves.

What we also see in the talk is that Matt Cutts worked on one and only one habit at a time. This is in line with something else we wrote about in a previous post: Do not make too many commitments at a time because this will exhaust your willpower resources and leads to your not being able to work on forming the new habit in a consistent manner. One thing at a time!

Go ahead and try something new for thirty days. Then share your experience with us, either by leaving a comment here or by writing an email to cute.scienceblog (at) or by leaving a comment on our Facebook page.

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