“It turns out that 30 days is just about the right amount of time to add a habit—or subtract one…” declares Matt Cutts in his brief, entertaining Ted talk, “Try Something New for 30 Days.” I first showed this to my eighth graders eight years ago, and many of them took the challenge. So did I.
Before I committed to this challenge, I had already decided to give up all added sugar for the month of March. Eliminating sugar from my diet is what I’d resolved that first year with my students, too. It was the first day of October when we began, and the kids and I both reckoned that we could celebrate on the 31st BIG TIME.
It turned out for them, and for me, that the 30-day deadline no longer marked the welcome end to something; rather the finish line signaled an altered consciousness. It was another couple of weeks before I ate anything with added sugar. It was the same for some of them who had given up eating meat two days a week (she’s still doing that, by the way), or limited the amount of time spent on their phones.
This March unfurls before me, 30 days of possibility to do better, to live a bit more consciously. Cutts says that a notable benefit of the challenge, in addition to increased self-confidence, is that time becomes more memorable. I’ll take it!