30 day trial

April 23, 2006

Steve Pavlina is my nemesis. I've used nemeses in my life as a way to figure out who I want to "reach"… whatever is meant by reaching someone. The first step is to find people that you admire and who seem balanced. There are many ways to succeed that involve becoming unbalanced somehow, and these people we call geniuses. They sacrifice something like sanity, or common sense, or social skills in order to leap ahead in one particular area. We rarely feel jealous of these people, but appreciate them. Very few people would want to be tortured like Van Gogh even if it meant painting some great masterpieces. Same with Beethoven, Virginia Woolf, Kurt Cobain, etc. Steve Pavlina, on the other hand, seems to have found a way to live life that improves the quality while at the same time making progress on difficult projects.

One of his ideas that I like is the 30 day trial. One of the primary obstacles in change is lack of momentum. Our conscious mind can't lobby a new behavior with our subconscious unless there's some momentum or resources available to divert to the project. Maintaining a momentum of positive change in our lives is something that could improve everyone's life… we all know that it's easier to run 5 miles a day when we're already running 4 miles a day than if we haven't run in years. The more you're already doing, the easier it is to convince ourselves to go one step further.

The 30 day trial is helpful when we're trying to bootstrap momentum. If you have a new idea for a project and have no current momentum on it, it's a little easier to convince your subconscious to partake in a 30 day trial of a behavior than to convince it to start a completely new habit that will supposedly last forever. When I say something like "I'm going to become a vegetarian" I can feel the back of my mind slightly doubt that statement… it goes, "Really? That's a big change… don't you think it's more likely that you'll try it for a few days then give up?" But if I say, "I'm not going to eat meat for 30 days" my mind is more like, "Okay!" The trick is that after 30 days it's a lot easier to say, "Let's do it for 30 more days" or even "Let's do it for a year".

One of the things about making changes in your life is that we underestimate the difficulty in convincing our subconscious to adopt new behaviors. By admitting that there is a bit of a lobbying issue, and starting things with a 30 day trial, you can slowly train yourself to become more susceptible to new habits.

My 30 day trial is to post one entry a day here, which I will do by waking up 30 minutes earlier than I usually do.


One Response to “30 day trial”

  1. […] Try it for 30 days, and quit, double down, or revise at that point. […]

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