Give Away All Your Candy: How to Change Your Life in 10 Days
Big Fish or Small Fish
Arnold Schwarzenegger become more powerful by becoming the governor of California then he could have ever become if he had enered into politics in his home country of Austria. While Austria has 20 million people, California has over 30 million and is one of the world's top ten most powerful economies.
Sometimes it's better to be a small fish in a big pond then a big fish in a small pond.
There's an ancient story about four young princes that were taken captive by the Babylonian king. This king would take the young nobility from the cities he conquered and train them to be governors and rulers in his kingdom. Although these young men would be far from their homes, they would have the potential of becoming greater than they could have ever become if they had never been conquered.
The king took all of these men and had them trained for three years. After the three years were up, they would enter into the king's service. During this time, these men were able to eat food and wine from the king's table - a table filled with the richest and most delectable foods in all the world.
Now, these four princes, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, believed it went against the way they were raised and their personal lifestyle to eat all of these rich, fatty foods. Therefore, the four men requested that they be permitted to eat just vegetables and water. But the king's official assigned to look after them was afraid that they would grow sickly and he would get in trouble for permitting them to eat so poorly.
Daniel requested a 10 day test. He told the official to allow them to eat only vegetables and drink water for ten days. After the ten days they could be compared to the rest of the young men that were eating and drinking from the king's table. If they looked in lesser health then the other men, they would go to eating and drinking the king's food and wine.
The official agreed to this challenge and came back to compare the boys at the end of the ten days. To the shock of the official, the four princes that abstained from the king's food looked healthier and brighter then all of the other students. Therefore, the official permitted these four men to continue to eat vegetables and drink water.
It turned out, after the three years of studying, when all of the men were brought before the king, these four princes were found to have ten times the knowledge and wisdom of all of the other advisers in the kingdom. (To read more about this story, go to chapter 1 of the book of Daniel in the Bible).
Try the 10 Day Test
If there is a certain aspect of your life that you are not thrilled with, trying the ten day test could be a great way to see what life would be like if you adjusted your lifestyle just a little bit. Although a habit forms after about 21 days, ten days may give you enough time to overcome any withdrawals you might be experiencing and feel the positive effect of your tested change.
Things that people often feel like experimenting with include: eating healthier, exercising more, practicing an instrument, thinking positively, avoiding certain music or entertainment, or something as simple as smiling.
There are several steps that you should follow to make the most of a ten day challenge.
1. Know Exactly What You Are Doing
Don't just say, "I am going to live more healthfully". Say something like, "I am not going to drink soda" or "I will have a serving of fruits or veggies with every meal". The plan needs to be detailed enough that you can clearly know whether or not your are following it.
2. Make Sure it is Something You can Accomplish
Although you want to make a noticeable difference in your lifestyle change, if it is something you will not be able to accomplish, you will give up much faster. For example, if you struggle to ever find free time and you say, "I'm going to exercise for 2 hours a day", chances are you will fail that pretty quickly - never completing the challenge and never creating an interest to make this activity a habit. A better challenge may be, "I'm going to exercise for 30 minutes every day" or even, "I'm going to take the stairs instead of the elevator and ride my bike instead of drive to visit the store down the road".
3. Avoid Situations Where You Will Be Tempted to Fail
Maybe you've decided to give up candy for 10 days. However, every time you walk into the gas station to pay for gas, you see the m&m's there in their many beautiful colors and just can't help yourself - you must grab a bag! This could mean that you will need to fill up with gas using a card at the pump so that you don't have to go inside where you will be putting yourself in harms way.
4. Find an Accountability Partner
Whether it is a friend, family member, or website, find someone or a group of people that will help you over come the difficulting of accomplishing your desired task. Having to 'fess up when you mess up will encourage you to not mess up in the first place.
5. Document the Experience
You don't have to keep a diary of the entire 10 days, but take a picture, write out your emotions, or make a quick video on your computer of what you are thinking and feeling before the experience begins. Then, at the end of the 10 days, reflect on how you currently feel or look and examine the impact this difference has made on your life.
6. Reward Yourself and Plan the Next Step
Provide yourself with the promise of something awesome after the ten days are up. Make sure it's not something that doesn't contradicts the ten days you just spent testing out a new lifestyle, but do something that you would enjoy. By giving yourself something to look forward it will be easier to reach the mark.
Additionally, after the ten days are up, be prepared with what your next step will be. Remember, it takes 21 days to make a habit - so if you feel great with this changed you, then stick to it for 11 more days. If you feel like you can't commit constantly to this change, then consider decreasing the intensity of it while still making a slight change. Finally, if you believe there was no benefit, then go back to the way you were living and try another 10 day challenge!
The 10 Day Challenge
What category would your challenge be in?
It Only Takes 10 Days
Daniel and the three other princes were able to make a noticeable difference in their lives by simply eating vegetables instead of meat for ten days! That is an impressive feat.
If there is something that you feel like you need to change, I would suggest you try the ten day challenge and see what kind of difference it makes in your life. Additionally, if you write an article about this, tell me and I'll post a link to it here.