by Kathie England

Better Than Before – Day 30

The Power of the Clean Slate

Today I celebrate keeping my commitment to blog for 30 consecutive days! Day 30 just so happens to coincide with my birthday. (Rather synchronistic because I didn’t realized that when I made the commit to blog for 30 days.)

Gretchen Rubin talks about birthdays as a clean slate, so I want to reflect on what’s ahead and what I’ve learned. My goal was to develop the blogging habit, so I’m pleased that I was able to stick with my commitment for the past 30 days (although there were a few days that were more challenging than others).

My intention is to continue blogging, at least three times a week. I’ve found discussing Better Than Before has given me an opportunity to reflect on many of the things I’ve learned about habit creation, a passion of mine since I became an organizer coach.

I plan to continue discussing the ideas in Rubin’s book, but I will also share thoughts from other books and also articles I’m reading rather than focus exclusively on Better Than Before. I enjoy the opportunity to reflect and “find my voice.” I was intrigued that Rubin reveals that starting her blog eight years ago provided her with a clean slate.

Rubin had commented on how important it is to have a transition plan when there will be a disruption to your habit. For me that disruption will be travel over the next two weeks. That’s why the commitment to blog three times a week seems doable.

Now a few final comments about the end of this chapter. I found it interesting that Rubin said 36 percent of successful changes (new habits) are associated with a move to a new place. She notes that even a trip can create a clean slate.

Charles Duhigg in The Power of Habit shares a similar finding about the power of a trip to create a clean slate. Early in this book he discusses a woman who wanted to give up smoking but had been unsuccessful. On a trip to Egypt, she discovered she was able to give up her old habit of smoking. Duhigg expands on the idea that habits are driven by cues and the cues of being in an unfamiliar location can provide a huge benefit in disrupting an old behavior.

Rubin’s final thought from this chapter is the reminder that a clean slate does not have to be something dramatic like the New Year, a birthday, or a major life change. She recommends deciding on something simple to invoke the power of a clean slate. (She used cleaning her daughter’s room and giving away toys she had outgrown as an example of creating your own clean slate by merely seeing the possibility in doing something different.)

Tomorrow’s chapter is titled “Data Point of One, Lightning Bolt.”