Search our Blog

Search our Blog

Thursday, November 12, 2020

30 Days of Change

Novelist (he wrote one in 30 days) Matt Cutts says the secret to a happier life may lie in a series of 30-day challenges, big or small, that you give yourself.

Let’s be honest. Most of us are somewhat happy with our lives, but wondering if there isn’t something more — something more we could be doing, something more we could be learning. Think back to the aspirations you had as a child or young adult. When did you let go of those goals? 

Setting 30-Day Goals

Software engineer Matt Cutts felt the same way. After creating the family filter for Google’s search engine, he reduced his work load to spend time with his wife and pursue other goals. But he went about it in a way that seemed attainable: he would give himself a goal and spend 30 days making it happen. He gave up sugar. He biked to work. He wrote a novel. He took a photograph every day. 

Eventually, some of the goals stuck. He kept biking and accomplished another goal: finishing an Iron Man race. He climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. Other goals, such as cutting out sugar, didn’t stick completely, and that was fine. What Cutts found was that his life became more full as his memory bank filled with new experiences. 

View the Ted Talk Cutts created here

In fact, research shows that time seems to slow down when we do something novel. Our brains have to pay more attention as we perform a new activity, and the memories from the experience expand time. Time also stretches when we are emotionally engaged. You can actually experience more time than you have by exposing yourself to new things and making an effort to notice what is going on in each moment.

What to Do?

Most of us will never run an Iron Man, but there are plenty of things that an average person can aspire to do every day for a month:

  • Write a poem
  • Take a walk
  • Take a free class online
  • Quit watching the news
  • Work in the garden
  • Volunteer somewhere new
  • Perform an act of random kindness
  • Meditate for 30 minutes every morning
  • Lie on your back and look at the sky
  • Paint a picture
  • Make a meal from scratch
  • Give up criticizing, except regarding yourself
  • Exercise for half an hour
  • Learn how to lift weights
  • Reach out to a family member or friend

Cutts found that smaller goals were easier to keep as habits after the first month was done, and he often built on them to accomplish bigger things. He also noted that his self-esteem increased as time passed and he completed more of his goals. Each of us will differ in what we chose to do, but we will grow no matter what our goals are. Starting today, what will your first goal be? 

Click below for the other articles in the November 2020 Senior Spirit


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors