It’s unlikely that you can
change any ingrained habit in a day. The ever-brilliant “they” (as in “they
say…) report different time frames for letting go of one habitual practice and
inserting another in its place. I’ve heard everything from 21 days to a full
year – a complete cycling through all four seasons.

The amount of time I tend
most to agree with is 16 weeks. I’ve seen in my own life and with my clients
that this 4-month period is about right for making a change that lasts. (This
doesn’t count for addictions, however: those you have to keep an eye on a day
at a time for the rest of your life.)

So, this day 17 suggestion
may indeed be for day 17 plus 16 weeks, and that is: “change just one habit.”
You do yourself a favor if you choose a habit that’s already on the list of
things you want to work on this month, or is at least related to something
there. That way, you’re reinforcing an effort already being made. But you’re
free, of course,  to pick some
off-the-wall habit that has nothing to do with the other life changes you’re
paying attention to right now.

Either way, figure out what
the opposite
of this habit is and
write that down as your personal affirmation. Put it on Post-Its and on your desktop
and in your journal. Write it at least ten times a day and read it – aloud – at
least thirty. Glue it to your memory. And most importantly, every time you
actually do this thing – this opposite action of the habit you want to sever –
give yourself a fabulous compliment and, every now and then, an actual gift.
This reinforces the positive change.

The habit I want to change is
to get past the notion I’ve had for over a decade that any hours after dinner
are for vegging out. Of course I want to veg out some – that’s a basic need –
but to spend from 7:30 to 10 every night doing nothing more productive except
brush/floss/rinse and cleanse/tone/moisturize isn’t working for me. I want to
get into the habit of getting the dinner dishes done and the kitchen cleaned up
before ye olde veg-out time, and I want to get my financial records for the day
– income received, deductible expenses recorded – so that neither of those
tasks spills over to the next morning.

Let’s see, this is October
27. Four months from now is February 27. I’ll keep you posted now and then
about how I’m doing and I’ll give you a full report at the end of February. If
you want to do the same, put your commitment and your progress reports in the
Comments section – we’ll all be cheering you on. 

New Yorkers! – How would
you like to live the “Look-Great, Feel-Fabulous, Never-Age Lifestyle”? Learn
how this evening, Tuesday, October 27, when Victoria Moran presents this
lecture at 36th St. Studio, 260 W. 36th Street,
Manhattan. The presentation is geared to actors, but all are welcome. Enroll by
There is no charge. A selection of Victoria’s books will be available for
signing after the talk.

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