First of all, let me start by saying that I am not a believer in resolutions when it comes to the beginning of a new year. Having said that, I AM a believer that change CAN happen, but it’s not something I make a list of and then strive to change all of the things on my list.
Rather, my goal is to change one bad habit at a time, no matter how long it takes me. I’ve heard it said that it takes our brains 21 days to accept a new habit, and what that means is repeatedly doing something over and over again that contradicts the current habit.
An example is one that I’m working on right now. I do not like to do dishes, never have, and I sometimes let the pots and pans sit on the stove for a couple of days until I need to use them again. Gross, I know, but I just didn’t want to take the time after dinner cleaning them, when I had just made dinner and served it to my family. I believed I needed some downtime before I tackled the dishes, with the problem being of course that I lost all motivation to wash them.
Enter the 21 day habit change. Every day, I made an effort to wash all of the dishes after dinner whether I wanted to or not. At first, this was a huge effort, my motivation wasn’t there, and I had a resentful attitude about the whole thing.
But after a few days, my attitude shifted. I began to realize that I LIKE having a clean kitchen at the end of the day, and lets be honest, those dishes are so much easier to wash when you first dirty them! Slowly but surely, my habit was changing, and I was feeling more positive overall.
I am at day 19 now, and can happily say that all of my dishes are washed and either put away or in the drainer waiting to be put back in the cupboard. I needed that 21 days to change my habit and my attitude about the importance of keeping dishes clean and available.
I believe that if I had made a list for myself, or tried to change more than one thing at a time, I would have quit after the first few days, because it’s just too overwhelming. Next up for me is to get the living room clean, AND maintain the dishes. It CAN be done, you just have to work hard, and tell yourself that it’s worth it in the end; repeat it if you have to until you finally believe it and accept it. You’ll be glad you did!