After gaining recognition for his movie, Super-Size Me, Morgan Spurlock developed a TV show. “Thirty Days” placed people in situations that varied wildly from their standards of beliefs, and showed them the opposing view from the inside. A “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” theme. The time frame was based on the concept that 30 days is the length of time it takes to form a habit. Beyond just habit, though, given thirty days of practice, a behavior or way of thinking can actually become an integral part of your personality.
That is the time, theoretically, when the forced adherence to a regimen becomes a lifestyle.
The thirty-day mark is where a person moves from “I’ve gone twenty-nine days without smoking”…to “I am a non-smoker.”
When the person dragging out of the house every morning at dawn to hit the pavement, wakes up and thinks, “I am a runner.”
When the dieter limiting food choices decides that light dressings actually are preferable to heavy sauces.
I love this theory!
I have been working at self-improvement all of my life. Too often, my determination gives way to boredom, distraction or just plain laziness. Many times I’ve thought I formed a good habit, only to find that cheesecake – or some other bad choice – had simply not presented itself for awhile.
I know it’s not foolproof.
Thirty days of practice can, perhaps, make it easier to follow a regimen, which can provide a sense of pride in saying, “I am a walker” or “I am a good house-keeper” or “I make healthy food choices.” Thirty days of sporadic involvement or neglect can destroy that habit as if all of the hard work and determination never happened.
I have written a blog post every day through the month of November. Where am I?
I took this on as an exercise in discipline, not to form a habit. I think of this blog as a life practice that helps me to slow down and be more aware. It gives me the opportunity to reach out to others. I will not give it up, but I do not intend to continue posting every day.
So what have I gained?
Well, in taking this seriously, I sometimes had to get up early or stay up late in order to get my writing in, around my schedule. There were times I woke up in the night, panicked at the thought that I’d forgotten to post something. There were times when I wrote very little, but I managed to get something out there every day. That, alone, is huge for me!
I didn’t let all other things go by the wayside. Often, when I start a self-improvement regimen, I use that as an excuse to neglect everything else. “How can I possibly be expected to dust when I am trying to diet?” Not this time! I managed to integrate this added discipline into my life without any more than the usual procrastination and disregard for other activities. That gives me hope!
I think this is the way to go: thirty days at a time, devote myself to one area of importance without giving up on everything else.
My head is reeling! Where to go next?
I have a series of collages underway in my studio that have been stalled for lack of time and devotion.
The studio could use a good thirty days of attention, to get it organized for work and creative function.
Shall I start compiling stories and recipes for the cookbook I’ve been planning?
The exercise regimen I’ve been working at in a series of fits and starts deserves a serious commitment.
This house would be a more pleasant place to live if I spent a month finishing half-done cleaning and home-improvement projects.
Even just a good long walk every day is a good habit to form before winter settles in.
I can’t decide!
The dogs are pacing the floor; today, I’ll start by giving them a walk.
As for the next commitment, I’ll write about it when I know.