How to Change Your Life: One Month at a Time

The best advice I ever heard was given to someone else.

An acquaintance was 30 years old and regretting not finishing college. He wanted to earn his degree but thought he was too old.

A wise old man told him, “In two years, you’re going to be 32. You’re either going to be 32 with a degree or without one. Which 32 year old would you rather be?”

Time presses on. Tomorrow you’ll have one less day than you had the day before. In a month, those 30 days are gone forever.

Time is an artificial construct that measures change. We are moving through time. We are changing through time.

Tomorrow you will be a slightly different person than you are today. If you don’t believe me, eat 10,000 calories today. Tomorrow you’ll wake up bloated and feeling sick.

Although we change daily, we don’t realize it because the change is subtle. If you have a good workout today, you won’t notice gains in the morning. Today’s workout won’t be noticed until several months from now.

Since you have no choice but to change, why not direct the change? Why not take control of the change? Why not change for the better?

To make permanent change, you need to develop one new habit (or eliminate one bad habit) at a time. Three or four weeks of daily practice is usually enough time to make the new habit permanent.

A change can be something game-related, or something that applies more broadly to your life. Perhaps you’ll promise to get one new phone number a day – every day, no matter what – for the next 30 days.

Two months ago, I bought this juicer and began juicing. I juiced every day. My broader goal was to eat fruits and vegetables every day.

The change stuck. I now eat several servings of kale, broccoli, carrots, onions, blueberries, bananas, and green superfoods each day. I even started using a raw protein powder and meal replacement to boost my superfood consumption. (I use Garden of Life Raw Meal and Raw Protein. Use this iHerb coupon code to save some cash.)

The change had a positive effect. My skin is clearer and has more sheen. My joints – which have been abused from lifting weights, martial arts, and contact sports – ache much less. My bending knees used to sound like scrunching cellophane. Now I hardly hear any weird sounds.

I have been making a new change ever month.

After juicing I started foam rolling and stretching before every workout. Even when I didn’t have a lot of time to train, I would foam roll and stretch for 10 minutes.

Two months later and the changes have snow balled. I now eat fruits and vegetables each day and also foam roll before every workout. The positive changes are cumulative.

Here is this month’s change: I am not a morning person. I look for every reason to stay in bed. As part of my job, I need to check email first thing in the morning. Yet checking work email often leads to cruising the web.

Two days ago I said, “You cannot look at anything on the Internet in the morning. Check your email. Make sure there aren’t any work emergencies. Then get ready for work.”

I’ve shaved 30 minutes off the time it takes me to get prepared for work. Whether this change will matter remains to be seen. But it’s a change that I will give a chance.

What change will you make?

  • Jason

    Going to work the mirror technique daily. have really fallen off of doing that so I’m going to get on that starting now for the next 30 days.

    Great wakeup call, thanks.

  • derthal

    This advice seems reasonable. I’ll start learning speed reading from tomorrow morning. Just for 15-30 min a day after wake up. I’ll see what happens… I have a lot books to read.

  • jon

    ok, what if i want to get my “degree”, but my school marks were shit, and i can, at best, attend bullshit like african pottery studies?

  • And Balls

    Foam rolling is pretty rad, when you’re ready to take it to the next level try the Rumble Roller I don’t know what kind of stretching you’re doing, but the book Stretch To Win changed my life.

    @Jon — there are currently a plethora of free and low-cost alternatives to college education available on the dubyadubyadubya. EDx (formerly MITx), stanford online courses, Udacity, iTunes university, and many others.

    • http://dangerandplay.wordpress.com dangerandplay

      Yeah, I have the blue rumble roller. Pricey, but it has saved me many chiro and massage visits. Paid for itself in a week.

  • http://jenmakesbreakfast.wordpress.com voluptuouslyscrumptious

    For 30 days I improved my baking skills. Also, have you heard of the secret? I love that!

  • Capsaicin

    NO pmo for 30 straight days: http://www.yourbrainonporn.com

    I’m on day 2.

    I will go the full 30 days.

    • Jason

      Fantastic!

  • OGNorCal707

    Thanks for these blog posts, I like your lifestyle and game advice, it’s practical and rooted in experience. It’s funny because a lot of times I am coming to the same conclusions and having similar ideas to you, (reading it here is just positive reinforcement). Since following your blog, I have really gotten into supplements, and while there maybe some placebo effect, I feel they have made a big difference in my health.

    Anyways, thanks bro, keep up the good work.

    • http://dangerandplay.wordpress.com dangerandplay

      Haters are quick to cry placebo and yell out bro science. But those guys all look like shit. Meanwhile, guys who actually look like they life *all* take supplements.

      So who is more credible – some fucking geek on the Internet or guys who are in the gym?

  • http://gravatar.com/thepdcafe thepdcafe

    Great post.

    Couldn’t agree more with “To make permanent change, you need to develop one new habit (or eliminate one bad habit) at a time. Three or four weeks of daily practice is usually enough time to make the new habit permanent.”

    Too many people see change as daunting. However by breaking things down into simple steps it soon becomes possible.

    Yes you can Change Your Life in 30 days. http://thepersonaldevelopmentcafe.com/change-your-life

    Keep up the good work.