30 Days … just 30 Days

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As we ease into spring, it’s easy to forget those commitments we made to ourselves just a few months ago as we belted out Auld Lang Syne and threw confetti into the air. Those New Year’s resolutions are just a distant memory; promises made with the best intentions that have fallen victim to our daily lives. 

Okay, so that isn’t the greatest revelation. We all know that we always make those “I’m going to completely change my life” New Year’s resolutions - in front of friends and family, at the stroke of midnight, we vow to commit to long-term expensive gym memberships or piano lessons we’ll never sign up for. Or with a brand new, untarnished year expanding before us, we declare that we will run five miles every morning before work or wake up earlier to make coffee instead of purchasing one each day. But hold on cowboy. While those big hairy goals are great, there is just one problem. They usually don’t work.  They’re too big and too overwhelming. We human beings can’t wrap our minds around that much change, so we often give up shortly after we start. Case in point: are you still abiding by your New Year’s resolutions? If you are anything like us, we’re guessing the answer is a somewhat sheepish no. 

In that case, we’d like to propose a suggestion – a 30 day challenge, if you will.  At a recent RATP Dev Leaders Conference, our keynote speaker Jackie Frieberg, and our President, Blaine Rigler, challenged us to do something new or give something up for 30 days. Instead of deciding you are going to completely overhaul your life forever, they challenged every General Manager (and their respective employees) to think about trying something new or different for the next 30 days. Just one thing.  One small thing. Not forever. Just for 30 days. Trust us, if you put your mind to it, you can do anything for 30 days. 

A computer scientist named Matt Cutts hosted a short inspirational Ted Talk on this subject that got us thinking.Matt says 30 days is long enough to start a new habit or break an old one. He suggests starting with something small because small changes are more sustainable. Sustainability breeds success and success breeds self-confidence. As your self-confidence grows, you’ll be more open to more difficult and life-altering challenges. Matt started with some simple goals. One month he committed to taking a photograph every day, another month he biked to work. As he completed goal after goal, Matt grew more confident. Eventually, he became so self-assured he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. He actually climbed a mountain!

So, here’s our challenge to you. Make a commitment to ride public transportation to work for the next 30 days?  If you need a bit of motivation, think of the money you’ll save in gas expenses or the fact that you will reduce your carbon footprint. Maybe your challenge will include saying good morning to the bus driver or striking up a conversation with another passenger.  Perhaps, you’ll use your new-found commuting time to catch up on some reading you’ve neglected. Make that commitment to ride public transportation for 30 days. Just to one destination. Just for 30 days. And see how this one small change can affect the rest of your life.

This commitment could be the start of something new in your life, allowing you a moment to take a quick walk, enjoy the sunshine from the seat of the bus. Challenge another and together we could really impact the community.  Remember…it’s just 30 days!

Photo Credit: Photo by Pau Casals on Unsplash

Brent Leland