#8 30-Day Challenge

This is a technique I originally learned from my mentor and success coach Jack Canfield. I was recently reminded of this technique and how powerful it is from a friend and Certified Life Coach Alan Wayne.

  • Put up a 30-Day Challenge chart on your wall where you can easily see it.
  • Get a fat red marker.
  • Each day after you do your guitar ritual sessions put a big red X through one day/number on the chart.
  • Do this for 30 days without a break… In other words without skipping a day.

Download a copy of my 30-Day Challenge chart here and print it out for you own use.

Why 30 days?

Actual studies show a range from 21 to many more days depending on the difficulty and complexity of the habit. In general the average was 66 days. I’ve found that 30 days seems to work for many habits like the habit of practicing guitar if a student is motivated.

Why does this work?

Here’s several reasons that, combined together, make this technique effective.

  • The act of putting a big red checkmark on your chart gives you a sense of fulfillment over and above actually doing the guitar ritual.
  • The chart is big tangible reminder of what you’ve done. There’s a natural impulse to complete the chart.
  • It’s fun to check off a chart and it gives you something to look forward to.
  • At the same time there’s a clear reminder if you didn’t do it. It’s more powerful than just keeping track inside your head.

I don’t know about you but I like checking things off. There’s something about checking the items on the checklist that help me to feel like I’m accomplishing something and making progress.

I’ve used this method many times to kickstart a habit. Some of the habits I’ve used this for include drinking more water each day, cutting down on eating sweets (I might need to do that one again), exercising, practicing a foreign language, and going to bed earlier.

I’ve also used it several times to improve some specific area of my guitar playing. When I wanted to improve the speed of my picado (picking melodies with two fingers in my right hand on the nylon string guitar) I set up a chart for 66 days. I proceeded to practice the technique every day without a break. I also set an outrageous speed goal and kept track using a metronome and documenting where left off each day.

I didn’t achieve the goal that I set out for myself. I did make massive improvement. And I still felt good about my progress, in no small part because of having 66 red X’s on my chart.

I strongly recommend trying this system for 30 days to get a foothold on creating your Daily Guitar Ritual habit. A side benefit is that it will give you a tested tool to use for other aspects in your life (including improving specific guitar techniques if you so choose).

It’s important to give it a real effort for the full 30 days… Not a halfhearted attempt. Halfhearted attempts mostly fail, and that will only help to convince yourself that you can’t do it.

That brings me to another technique that I’ve found extremely helpful to keep my commitments to myself…

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