I’ve always admired kids that can skate board, particularly the ones that go to the skate park every day and practice. Determination and bravery become paramount to your improvement. Next time you see a skater think of all the time and energy they’ve invested in learning to skate, perhaps even admire their skill.
My daughter Laura (turning 6) and my son Dylan (4) are now both riding their bikes really well and I need to keep up. Dylan loves going to skate parks and I’ve noticed not only are they bigger kids really kind and patient with him, he’s learning some really positive life lessons too like falling over is part of the process and practice is the only thing that will help you improve.
Now, keeping in mind the oldest human to grow new neural pathways was a 92 year old woman learning to play the piano, I figure it’s time I learned something new and pushed myself outside my comfort zone a little. So, I’m learning to skate. It’s scary, challenging and fun all at the same time and it allows me to simply play for the sake of playing, which is incredibly good for my brain (unless I happen to fall on it during said play!)
So, each day I’m skating for around 20 minutes, sometimes it’s just up and down the road after dinner, sometimes we head to a skate park (really early so no one else is around) or sometimes we just skate to the beach and back. But I’ve committed to skating for 30 days. Why? Because I know that it’s going to take at least that long till I am competent enough to really enjoy it and the research tells me that a habit on average takes 66 days to form. I don’t need a skateboarding habit to be honest, but I think over the next 30 days I’ll know if I want to keep skating or simply tick it off my bucket list and move on.
The trick to any new habit is to make it as easy as possible to get started. This is called the activation energy, Shawn Achor uses a 20 Second rule which I love. He suggests that by getting yourself just 20 seconds closer to the positive new action you turn on conscious thought, making your choice that much easier. For example, my skateboard is now at the front of the garage (which is actually the kids rumpus room) and my skate shoes (OK they’re just sketchers) are now there too. So each time I walk in there I see them and it’s super easy to get going on a whim.
After making my decision to commit to 30 days of skating I thought to myself “What a cool way to learn!” Science indicates we only have so much will power and self-control available each day, and trying to do everything is a sure-fire way to feel overwhelmed and incompetent. (Which is how most people feel most days.) But what if I choose a few I want to learn this year and then take 30 days to simply focus on developing and learning that one skill? Surly that would be better than just doing things sporadically? Imagine at the end of the year having 10 new skills! Cool hey!
So skating is my first 30 day challenge, and I’m giving myself 35 days to complete it, because I’m all about setting myself up for success and being realistic! (And seriously hoping I don’t break something over the next 30 days!) So, here’s some ideas of other things you could do over a 30 day challenge as I appreciate that skateboarding isn’t for everyone.
- Learn to cook
- Improve a relationship
- Practice mindfulness
- Drink more water
- Learn to surf
- Practice Yoga
- Get up early
- Keep a gratitude journal
- Get intimate
- Random Acts of Kindness
- Being social
- Do an online course
- Learn a musical instrument
- Watch a TED talk (learn something inspiring)
- Learn a new language
The list is clearly endless and to be honest I’m going to try this first 30 days and see how I go before I commit to 12 months of 30 day challenges. But I think I’m going to enjoy being able to just focus on one new thing and give myself the freedom to let go of other things I often tell myself I ‘should’ be doing. For now, skating is it.
So, wish me luck and let me know if you choose to jump on board with another 30 day habit and how you go!