Ten of These Cure a Bad Habit

August 28th, 1963. Martin Luther King Jr’s message was heard by over 200,000 in Washington, D.C. It is considered the most important American speech of the 20th century by many academics. Most of it, like many of your college term papers, was written in the final 12 hours before the deadline. The most famous line, “I have a dream”, was added by King at the last minute. About this, his co-author Clarence B Jones said the speech “went on to depart drastically from the draft I’d delivered”, adding: “In front of all those people, cameras, and microphones, Martin winged it.”

Those are just a few of the little known facts about MLK’s speech. But here’s one that is obvious. Of the 1579 words spoken, not one of them was a cuss. Neither did any of the top 10 greatest speeches of the 20thCentury, as chosen by The Guardian, contain swear words. This list included great historic figures such as Nelson Mandela, JFK, Winston Churchill, FDR, and Margaret Thatcher. None of them felt the need for words that would get your mouth washed out with soap.

Why then do so many of today’s speakers, authors, and so-called experts feel the need to curse to make their point?

Where is the decorum today?

Do you find yourself cursing to make your point?

Is it something you’d like to stop?

You can quit swearing, here’s how I did it.

One recent crisp fall morning, while out running hill sprints in the old forest grove near my family farm, I caught myself thinking about you (as I often do). I spend so much of my time thinking about how I can get people to change, to take action, to finally achieve their goals and dreams.

And then it hit me.

With all of this talk about you changing, why am I not leading by example?

What could I start improving in myself that very day? It was time to put my money where my mouth was – literally.

Almost immediately I identified one of my worst habits: cussing, as the country and western songs my parents listened to would call it. Cussing was one bad, bad habit I could drop for the better.

Wasn’t it strange, I thought, I can go on stage and speak in front of up to 450 people, and not swear. Nor have I ever used a curse word in front of my mother, and I only allowed it to happen a few times in the presence of my father. Clearly I could control myself in certain situations, so why not all the time?

Why do we need to swear? We are no longer teenagers trying to impress our peers on the playground. Surely we can get our messages across without cursing to emphasize a point. No one needs to use a curse word as an adjective in their argument. After all, if two bitter rivals can debate for the position of Leader of the Free World without cussing, then surely I can get through a day without swearing.

And if I’m “wise” enough to give you advice everyday, why don’t I take some of my own?

So it was that day, during a tough workout on a wooded trail at 8:30 in the morning I finally decided to stop swearing for good.

But how long would it take? As legend has it (and I say that because I haven’t actually read any research to support this belief), you need 21-days to create a new, good habit. I still remember hearing a coach tell our gym class that “fact” back in 1989.

Would it take 21-days to drop a bad habit?

The answer will surprise you.

But before I could find out, I also realized I needed an incentive. In addition to sharing the goal with the world, I also thought it would be appropriate to have a $10 punishment for every lapse in behavior. It was an updated version of the old “swear jar”, you might have had in your home growing up or seen on TV.

A quick text to a friend arranged the punishment. The friend was to choose a charity (I still don’t know what charity it is) that my ‘donations’ would go to. And I was put on the honor system to keep track of each occurrence of the bad habit. At the end of a 6-week period, a donation will be made to the mystery charity. It could be one I’d support anyway, or it could be one I’d prefer never to give money to. We shall see.

And so the challenge began. It was tough at first. That’s why it’s called a bad habit. It’s easy to find yourself slipping into your old ways. But as the first 48 hours progressed, I noticed something remarkable. Most of my cussing was done in the form of exaggeration. It wasn’t at all necessary (not that I expected any of it to be). It was juvenile behaviour, and I needed to change it to be a better person.

When you start changing your bad habits, mark down when you do the offensive activity. As you become more aware of your offending behavior you’ll start to notice a pattern. You’ll identify how ridiculous your actions are and you’ll have no choice but to come up with preferred alternatives. (I now say, “gosh” and “geez” a lot more. Turning into a real “Beaver Cleaver,” I am.)

As you drop your bad habits, you’ll become a better person. Within a week my vocabulary and conversation etiquette had markedly improved. I was less inclined to exaggerate or raise my voice, and I engaged in less of the common hyperbole we hear so much of today. And if I do say so myself, what I do say in conversations now is more insightful and thoughtful. Swearing, I realized, had made me lazy and stupid. The changes have been all for the better.

Now I haven’t been perfect. The other day I saw a giant bug in my house, and sure enough, the words “That thing’s huge” was preceded by a curse word (albeit a “minor” one). It was unnecessary and immature. I paid my $10, became more self-aware of my behavior, and probably won’t make the same mistake in the future. That’s generally all there is to it when you try to drop a bad habit.

As you go along, you might also watch others engage in your former bad habit and you’ll be surprised at how unnecessary the bad habit is for them as well. Being aware of how often others use curse words has opened my eyes to how downright uncivilized conversation becomes when every other word is unsuitable for a Disney movie.

But think back to the greatest orators in the history of the world. Did Cesar, Churchill, Martin Luther King, JFK, or Roosevelt rely on cuss words to make a point? Of course not.

That bad habit added nothing to my life. The shock value of swearing expired years ago. It only denigrated my message. You’ll likely find the same for your bad habits.

In fact, I was so buoyed by my experience with cussing I quickly added a second bad habit to my list to stop. Over the last few years I had built up a compulsion to apply lip balm almost ten times each day. I was dependent upon having a stick in my pocket at all times, and I don’t like depending on anything but myself. So I added that to the $10 punishment list, and this too had a fast success rate.

What I’ve found, albeit in my experiment of just a single subject fixing two bad habits, is it takes about 6-10 days for you to make massive progress (cigarettes and booze not included, as those both involve physical addictions far beyond the level of lip balm).

It’s possible to almost eliminate a bad habit in just 10 days. As Dan Kennedy says, “You could just as easily change your life today as any other day. You don’t need to wait for January first.” Let’s see what you can change in the next 6 weeks.

The keys to your future success are your daily habits today. Start dropping the bad habits and implementing new positive behaviors today. That’s how you’ll create a better future.

Tell us the bad habits you plan to drop.

  • 204
  • Debra Culver

    I plan to stick to my diet 100% and to stop allowing “cheat days”, which have become a frequent bad habit. I commit to eliminate eating sugar, processed foods, wheat and dairy products and allow no cheats for this six week challenge.

  • Gayle

    I am choosing to think positive thoughts, instead of negative thoughts every
    time I think of a dear friends death.

  • I am committing to stopping a near-addiction, embarrassing-to-admit habit of surfing pornography. I’ve justified it as compartmentalized and harmless, but it kills time, sensitivity, and directed energy. I have much better uses for that time and energy, and find even my own habit despicable. Thank you for this opportunity and additional motivation.

  • Laura

    I plan to kick my bad habit of being late for work. I don’t know what it is but I have a bad habit of being 5, 10, or 15 minutes late for work on a regular basis, especially when I know that my employee will be there. I am self employed so I don’t answer to anyone and I stay late to finish work a lot of times but I still think that it is a bad reflection of me and I want to kick it and replace it with a good habit (being early).

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Excellent Laura, this is going to work out well for you. You’ll soon see the value of getting that extra early start.

  • Ashok SenGupta

    Though I live debt-free and have achieved a simple lifestyle, I find myself making numerous small online “impulse” purchases, mostly books and music. The process is so easy, and the individual purchases so small, that I often click the “submit order” button without much thought. How “unthinking” these purchases are becomes evident when the packages finally arrive; I sometimes do not recall what should be inside. And, small as these are, they add up to a respectable amount, which only becomes evident at the end of each billing cycle.

    Today is the 1st of November, the start of a new month. It’s a good “marker” day to begin my plan. I plan to make NO impulse purchase all this month. Only necessities, no “just-for-fun” things. Period.

  • I will stop checking email or facebook more than twice a day. More time being mindful.

    Dan @ ZenPresence

    • Jeff

      You won’t miss it. I haven’t logged into Facebook in over a year.

      Good luck.

  • Johan Oelofsen

    Negative Behavioral Pattern i.e. Bad habit I am planning to change: I have a tendency to float through days not planning and setting goals and tackling the day as it unfolds. I will stop living this way by setting a specific planning time of 30 min each day in which I will focus on setting daily goals/objectives that align with my vision for my life’s. I will also during this time evaluate meeting yesterday’s goals. I will include in this limiting my online and email time to 30 min’s a day maximum. Success criteria: 1) Having stuck to my planning time. 2) Setting Goals that align with my vision. 3) 80% Success rate in achieving objectives per day. 4) Not exceeding my 30 min’s online time more than 5% of the next 10 days.

  • Paul

    Craig, i like this article & the challenge!!!

    It reminds me of two other methods that could support this process:
    a) putting a rubber band around your wrist – each time you catch yourself doing your bad habit: snap it…
    b) I am in a group of men, where you can agree on contracts, that you are accountable to

    I decided to pick two bad habits to eliminate:

    At the moment I am stressed out because of my money situation. This stress leads to 2 things:
    1) In conflicts with my lovely wife and my three kids I tend to heat up to 200 degrees very quickly 🙁
    So it does not happen on a daily bases, but maybe 2-3 times per week lately…
    I want to stop yelling and become more calm during such conflicts.
    (I adopted this from my father)

    2) The stress leads also to scraping my skin at my knees and elbows (which I adopted from my mother)

    Both are results of my situation but do not help to solve it…

    GREAT I’m in 🙂


  • Cameron

    Inertia. This is probably my most self-destructive & worst habit of all. I’ve been cursed with this debilitating “affliction” for far too many years, desperately trying to shake it off but all in vain. It’s as if I have an over powering demon within me that ruthlessly & deceptively prevents me from making that change. The one brief moment of fortitude & conviction arises when I read my daily ETR article from Craig which no doubt pumps me up with vigour & steely determination to break out & be the better person I know I can be. However, within a matter of hours, that all changes & I gradually revert back to my bad old habits. The demon has once again reared its ugly head. But starting from today 1st November 2012, after reading Craig’s inspiring article, I am determined to shake off this wretched disease once & for all . I solemnly declare that I will give 100% drive & conviction in becoming the person I yearn to be – an action taker, a doer, a shoot first & aim later guy, an optimist & not a merchant of doom & gloom. By publicly declaring my intentions, I somehow feel more accountable. Let’s hope it translate into positive results!! Wish me God speed & strength!

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Best wishes, Cameron, stay strong!

  • My bad habit is wasting to much time after my work outs before settling down to work. This month I’m going to be more focused. My birthday is the 25th November so I would like to kick that habit by then and be more successful on my 25th birthday (yes I’ll be 25 on the 25th)

  • Peggy

    I will get up out of bed when my alarm clock goes off – the first time.

    • Jeff

      Snooze can be dangerous. Plan the first 5 minutes to do something that makes you smile (not check your email). It will give you something to look forward to and make getting out of bed a reward.

  • Craig

    Just a quick thank you for mentioning this as a bad habit. It’s bothered me for a long time that cussing has become acceptable behavior. To me it’s always been about laziness and lack of consideration. I even wrote a blog post about it a few months ago because it’s bothered me so much (and the WSJ and just run an article about the benefits of occasionally cussing to inspire followers).

    Thought you might enjoy it!


    Keep up the great work!


    P.S. My bad habit that I want to eliminate between now and the end of the year is the habit of doing small things to feel like I’m making progress (i.e. checking off items on my to do list) vs. doing the big things that will actually move my business forward.

  • Amrit

    I have a couple of bad habits, or three or four even… 😉

    Sometimes I notice I am seeking attention when not needed. It truly feels like something I did in school, with my parents, or whomever I wanted attention from but didn’t know how to get it, so I played a little game called “Am I good enough”.
    Time to stop all parts of that needy behavior.

    Sometimes my friends tell my I behave as though I act better than them, more evolved than them, and the likes. It’s a huge blank spot in my beingness and when I look at that behavior, catching myself in the act sort of speak, I notice that I am really really fuzzy in my expression and often very unclear with what I actually want to communicate. It’s a kind of sneaky way of communicating and I notice it causes irritation and distress in those around me. I am guessing it is connected to wanting to get attention and being better than others.
    Time to be as clear as I can.

    Often when someone asks me a question I tend to answer with ALOT of (to me relevant) information that is just time consuming and totally irrelevant information for the one asking the question.
    Time to give clear answers.

    I also notice I position some persons as having more power over me and my life than I have. This really feels nasty. It is like I turn certain people into my parents and then I try somehow to defend my position or whatever it may be I am trying to defend. Really drains my energy…
    Time to act as I am my own being and also to stop being afraid of certain others opinions and stop compromising with my integrity.

    (Phew, challenging, to say the least)

  • Jim

    I have gotten into the bad habit of checking emails and my stock portfolio as the first things I do when I get to work. I sometimes spend an hour or more on these instead of actual work. I resolve to no longer start my day with time wasters, but rather to jump into my work and knock something off of my to do list first thing!

  • I commit to daily exercise. In the past, I have derailed myself by trying to do too much too soon and criticizing myself for my failures. This time, I will simply concentrate on creating a space for exercise in my life and encourage myself each time I am able to do it.

  • Jay

    Eating sweets all day, sometimes replacing a healthy meal with sweets.

  • Jay

    I am going to change eating sweeting all day, Isometimes replace a healthy meal with sweets. This I will attempt to change starting today, November 1, 2012.

  • Lisa

    My challenge is getting out of bed on time for work. I am usually one or two minutes late. Today I slept through (snooze) all of my alarms and woke up when I was supposed to leave. I will give my supervisor $5 for any time upto 6 minutes late and $10 for any time after that to do with as she pleases. Since I don’t have a lot of funds to start with, that should be a pretty good motivator 🙂

  • John Crosby

    I am going to make sure that the following 2 requirements are met before I check email and/or Facebook.
    1- I have to have written for at least an hour or worked on growing my business
    2- It has to be after 9 am and preferably later. (I’ve already taken Craig’s advice and am getting up 2 hours earlier at 5:30 and feel so much more productive)

    I’ve already succeeded for today!

    let’s do this!!

  • Angela

    Procrastination and lack of focus – both are related to the other and both are terrible habits. Just imagine what I could do without them!! So my goal, my plan, is to STOP THEM!

  • Sue

    Great Challenge! I’ve gotten into the bad habit of NOT exercising in the morning before I read email etc. which frequently leads to NO exercise for the rest of the day. I am going to break this bad habit and start my day with exercise!

  • Luke

    The time for change is now. Instead of listing the bad habits, here are the deeply desired outcomes.
    1. Wake up early and exercise before work.
    2. Make my first dollar with my online business by taking action everyday.
    3. Write down something I am grateful for everyday.
    4. Have good posture while working (make a note of how many times I slouch).
    5. Read for 30 minutes everyday.
    6. Help my daughter with her reading before dinner.
    7. Keep my focus “in the now” (excluding planning time).
    8. Plan my day the night before.

    • Luke

      This 6 week challenge came at just the right time. These new habits are only the beginning! Thanks for the inspiration Craig. I mainly joined the competition because I really wanted to win, but it’s amazing what a positive potential reward can do for one’s motivation. Having said that when the motivation starts to come from within (as it did), that’s when the magic happens. Getting up early to exercise makes the day that much better too 😉

  • Melissa Tinker

    My bad habit is biting my nails. I’ve done it all my life and even though I have gone through “phases” where I’ve stopped, it always seems to creep back into my life. For many years I have had my nails done at a salon and worn acrylic nails, but this option is both expensive and time consuming, and I find myself short on money and time! Besides, why should I pay for something like that when I should be able to do this myself! Thanks for the challenge….I accept!

  • Uday Nayak

    Dear Craig,

    Thank you for the extra motivation of the challenge.

    Today I am at a juncture where I know I can achieve much more than I presently am doing. One bad habit is procrastination and then self justification of the same.
    The one habit I am going to kick is to become more productive.
    I will make my to do lists every single day.
    I will complete this list every evening.
    I will journal my day every day for the next six weeks.

    This is my start to overcome my procrastination. I know its possible.


  • Cindy

    I will not overeat when I am overanxious or nervous. I will not let my mail pile up. I will deal with it every dsy.

  • Luis

    II have to disagree with the legend regarding the amount of time it takes to rid yourself of a habit, bad, good or indifferent. A proof of this is: If you think of a habit as an action you do and all habits have actions even ones that involve simply thought as they usually invoke some sort of feeling that result in an action. Any way I would argue that a habit can be broken instantaneously. Suppose you live in a house that in order to reach your coffee cup you put your hand on the counter and reach up. If you were in a different house, your friends, a hotel suite perhaps and right where you put your hand at home there was the element of the stove that you just used to warm water. How many times would you have to put your hand there before you broke that habit? Extreme? Maybe, but it does make you wonder about the length of time it takes to change your ways.

    Thinking of things as habits maybe part of the problem in the length of time it takes to change them or get rid of them.


  • Amy

    I’ve got two bad habits I would like to give up, starting today:
    1. Surfing eBay for stuff I don’t need and then buying it
    2. Drinking soda

    I guess it’s time for me to grow up…

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Amy, my best friend had those exact bad habits. He bought a lot of weird stuff back in the day, but he got over it. You can too.

  • Rajat Desikan

    Bad habit: Surfing on the internet just before I go to bed. I invariably end up getting up late because I cannot cut down on my sleep. Come what may, I should be in bed by 11.30 PM. Commitment.

  • Dewi

    I’m LAZY person
    books in the table..
    trash yet to throw away…
    dust everywhere…
    This bad habit more bothering me everyday, escpecially since i know my idol is a neat freak.
    Really embarassing me…
    I want to change for myself too
    This challenge is gold opportunity for me, also a BIG motivation coz i post it for public (big pressure!)

  • Patti B.

    Bad habit: Eating too much and not working out. Joined a gym, got a personal trainer 2x a week. Got rid of all junk food in house and office. I lost 20 lbs. and have gained muscle. I may be 56 but now look 36. Others refer to me as “fifty fine”.

  • Vivian Bowman

    I want (NEED) to have good posture. I had a stroke 5 years ago & found I needed to stand, walk and sit in positions to relieve pain.Then slummping & looking down became bad habits. They drain energy by collapsing lungs, makes one appear negative and become tough habits to break.
    I thank God that I have had excellent medical care along with therapy, massage, chiropractic & accupuncture treatments, yoga & water aerobics. And now I plan to break those bad posture habits!
    Thanks for your help.

    • Jeff

      This would get expensive for me. Walk with your hands behind your back. It has really helped me focus on it more (and even look a little more sophisticated).

  • David

    Like Lisa, I have not had the “desire” to arrive at work on time. My employer doesn’t make a big deal about it as long as I make up the time, and I do. However, I know it affects their perception of me. From now on, I will arrive at work on time and give my friend $5 to give to a local charity every time I am late.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Great decision, David. Well done.

  • yes Bruce, i know exactly where you are coming from there.

    i commit to spending 10 minutes of each evening, planning my day ahead, which must include a minimum of 2 business building activites (calls, meetings etc – not facebooking) (started my own, totally awesome business and am looking for like-minded people to join me! its totally new to me, and i am taking it global – just need to learn to do smart networking, and make progress rather than procrastinate effectively) i want a team of lovely determined people, like me, that i can help succeed!!!

    i will spend 15 minutes of each day updating my new facebook business page.

    i will stop eating rubbish foods straight after i have exercised – i workout really hard, then eat sugary food straight after! it completely nullifies my efforts!

    so basically, instead of going round in circles, i want to go ahead – not in a straight line – that’d be impossible, but a good old wonky, learning line in the right direction would be great!!

    there – now its written down, i HAVE to do it, just so i say i have!!

    thanks etr – its a great thing that you’re doing x

  • Rebecca Tabbert

    Love it Craig, proud of you. I’m far from perfect but stopped cursing habitually when my son was born. I made the gas statin attendent laugh to tears last week when I said cruminey 🙂

    My bad habit at the moment is being too reactive and not sticking to my regiment for my own training and weekly work plan. In the end I know logically it’s best to stay the course of structure and routine. So my bad habit that I plan to correct is lack of daily structure.

    Today I will recreate a daily routine for my personal training, work hours and sleep 🙂

    Thanks! Hope you are doing well.

    Ps. Tough mudder in February :/ slightly intimidated but super excited!!

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Tough mudder will be a joke for you.

      Sometimes I say, “Jiminy jillickers.”

      I think that’s a winner right there.

  • Sandra

    Like most, I have several bad habits. The one that really affects my productivity is this–I get up early, but instead of getting to work on my most important activity- creating my ebooks, I fiddle around paying bills on line, reading email, getting my accounting up to date etc. In the end, I often don’t start my creative work until 2-3 hours later. I have wasted my most creative, most fresh time on minutia! Starting today, I resolve to focus on my most important activity when I rise at 6:00am and to help this I will make a list of activities that can not be engaged in until after 11:00am

  • Steve Smith

    Here’s a HUGE one. I will cease my road rage. Although this affliction is caused by people who think the rules don’t apply to them, their behaviors are not in my control but it is sooooooo decompressing to rage within my personal space. However, road rage doesn’t solve anything and it certainly does not get me to my destination any quicker.


  • CoCo

    I’m a trained facilitator for Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I KNOW all about habits and paradigms and connecting them to core values. But I still have bad habits…sigh…
    So I accept your challenge!
    After 19 years of marriage, my husband and I have gotten out of the habit of saying “I love you.” I am going to consciously work on that for the next 6 weeks.
    I have nothing to lose and everything to gain – so bring it on!

    • Craig Ballantyne

      CoCo, that’s really cool. Let us know how it goes.

  • Rebecca Tabbert

    Thank you for the vote of confidence 🙂
    And I’m stealing “jiminey jillickers” lol!!

  • Monica

    I want to release the habit of running slightly late for at least 50% of my time commitments.
    I want to replace that habit with SHOWING UP 5 MINUTES EARLY for each and every time commitment that I set from this day forward.

  • Chris

    I’d like to offer some encouragement to Scott, one of the early posters with his committment. I too have found the sad habit of surfing pornography to be at the very least an insidious time waster and at it’s worst a soul sickening activity. It will be hard, but over the next 10 days I will replace this habit with something more productive and uplifting. Thanks for having the balls to post that Scott.

  • Great article Craig. Sometimes we all need a little reminder to rid ourselves of our bad habits. I’m going to stop staying up so late.

    Also, I thought your readers may be interested to know that my book, Power Over Pornography, is avaiable for no cost today as a Kindle eBook. It can help those who want to overcome a pornography habit.

  • Julian

    I too rather dislike having to depend on anything but myself, and lately I have been dependant on smoking several times all day every day and I am tired of it. My goal for the 6 week transformation is to quit smoking! It is a despicable habit which is not in line with my life and fitness goals so it has got to go, now!

  • Bill

    Thank you Craig!
    The God of the universe works in my life once again! I have been thinking about giving up alcohol for a month to make sure that I still can. I am a daily drinker, one who has a couple glasses of wine while fixing and eating dinner, then maybe a beer or a shot while playing my guitar after I put the kids to bed. I’m a single Dad with two kids at home and I want to be a better example so I have been thinking about going on the wagon for a month and along comes your challenge. Thank you Lord for making things like this work in my life, thank you Craig for not only your challenge but all the good stuff with ETR. I have shared many of your articles and I feel great every time I push the forward button.

    In a nutshell for the challenge. two things that will help my life immeasurably;
    1) I will not drink any alcohol for 6 weeks
    2) I will put in 1/2 hr, 4 times a week on my Nordic-Trac

    Good Luck to All! Stay Strong!

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Great work Bill, looking forward to your success.

  • Mary

    I’m going to stop smoking!

  • Joseph Dsouza

    I want to be healthy, so need to eat 2 hourly (not fried or sweets) and walk 40 minutes everyday

  • Greg

    I will be 5 minutes early for all time commitments with my wife.
    I will limit the time I spend surfing the net and playing computer games to 1 hour or 3x per day

  • Heidi

    Ooh, this is a fun challenge! I have been working on a lot of goals this year from my mission statement and goals for the year. I keep track of my progress on a weekly goal chart that I keep in my wallet. I have done well in the past with keeping this system, but in the past few weeks I have fallen off the wagon and need to make sure that I am consistently reviewing and tracking my goals. There’s no use to make a goal but not move forward with it and keep track of my progress.

  • Jose Raul

    For years I’ve been trying to “start” exercising but there’s always an excuse to justify myself and leave it for tomorrow or for Monday or for the beginning of next month etc also reading at least half an hour a day instead of watching tv or surfing the web. I commit to break this 2 bad habits and start exercising and reading to improve physically and mentally, thank you Craig for making me realize how easy it can be if I set my mind and for the the encourage.

  • Chris A

    Bad habit: I hit the Snooze button at least twice every morning.

    How to kick the habit: Feet hit the floor as soon as the alarm clock goes off.

    Reward: No guilt for arriving to work later than I should. End the habit of starting the day rushed.

    Next steps: waking up earlier, by a minute a day until three months later when I’m waking up an hour earlier. painless and productive.

  • Tom

    I have been spending too much time playing online Sudoku. Yes, it’s easy to use the excuse that the games are “fairly short” but they usually end up being 10-15 minutes, sometimes longer. And then it can easily turn into 2, 3, 4 or even more games.

    And I have found that too often I use this as an avoidance technique to get started with work.

    So while it may appear to some to be an “innocent” habit, it’s literally killing one of my most valuable resources: time.

    I suspect that this bad habit will be easy to kill — even though I had told myself for weeks that I would stop (and haven’t): I have searched online for a way to block websites from my computer, so once I set that up for the sudoku site, I won’t be able to indulge in my bad habit even if I wanted to. Well, I guess I could turn of those “block” settings, but I’m pretty confident that this will be enough of a barrier to remind me about my priorities.

  • Jorge

    laziness is the mother of all vices… or so the spanish saying goes… in my case, it embarrasses me to admit that I am a lazy %$%&# and that as such, I have been postponing my goals to the point that they seem almost impossible for me to achieve them… so I want to seize this opportunity to stop being lazy altogether… One of my goals is to run next year’s Paris Marathon and I’ve been training on the weekends but have failed to wake up early to do my weekday runs (tuesday and friday)… so next tuesday I’ll start doing my early morning runs, which I will log on my runkeeper account… that way, you can track me and see whether I’m sticking to my commitment… then again, thnx Craig, not just for this challenge, but for everything else…

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Happy to help, thanks for your kind words Jorge

  • Jane

    I plan to work on my bad habit of BEING LATE.
    I have decided that even if I’m “On Time” I will consider myself LATE. My goal is to be at least 10 minutes early for most things and 20 minutes early for religious meetings.. I think the bad habit of being late shows others you don’t think they are important to you. A great article-I really enjoyed it.

  • brad ludes

    I will join Craig and end my bad habit of cussing! My wife has made me aware that I have been doing it more and more in front of my kids, and I realize that is not acceptable. I am actually excited to see if I can do this! Stay tuned.

    :- )

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Excellent committment Brad, I hope you’ll find it as simple as I did.

  • Excellent inpsiration!! I too have a bad habit of swearing to make a point or exagerate so your article really brought it home to me. In addition to cussing, I too often raise my voice when I am frustrated in an effort to get my point aross, but it usually ends up having the opposite effect.
    So, my plan is to work on both habits since I think they are kind of related.

  • Justin

    I plan to rid my bad habit of sleeping in. I know I can get more work done in the morning, if I just simply get up out of bed. But instead, I wake up, hit snooze, turn off snooze, and let myself wake up in clearly too close to lunch time!

    I want to be more productive, I need to be more productive! Being productive with my time not only makes me happier, but everyday has purpose. I look forward to each day when I cross off my to do list!

  • Marianne

    I am going to stop my bad habit of useless internet surfing that just wastes time.
    Instead of staying up late doing that, I will go to bed by 10 PM.

  • Michael Drummer

    Craig, I’m going to drop cussing too, I do it a little too much around my sons just like my Dad did it around my brothers and me. But since it’s not a big challenge for me, I’m going to not miss a workout between now and the end of the year. It’s too easy to skip the gym around the holidays and with all the great food around, it’s dangerous! Starting today, Nov. 1st, I will workout for at least an hour a day, every day until Jan. 1st. Then, reboot!

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Great to hear Michael, keep me up to date.

  • Nathan

    I plan on being a more conscious eater, rather than just whatever is around. I know my weight problem is from being unaware, and inhibits achieving a life well lived. By being aware, I should be able to decrease the pants size, and help increase awareness in other areas of life.

  • The bad habits I plan to work on are:
    1. Saying anything negative about my job because it actually makes
    work day longer and truthfully my co-workers are probally tired of
    hearing me say “I hate this job”. Also alot of folks would like to be in
    my shoes with my job.
    2. I also would like to stop saying curse words. They have zero place
    in my vocab.

    Starting today at 5pm est. Its almost time so let me say one last time
    ” I hate my damn job”.

    Thanks Craig

  • Jen

    My first three years as an attorney involved 12-14 hour work days and 3-hour round trip commutes, plus working on weekends. I never had time to unwind or regenerate. I began my new position on February 6, 2012. My hours were cut in half. Suddenly I found myself with tons of extra time. I didn’t need to be as efficient about taking care of household and personal needs. However, instead of doing something productive or regenerative, I have found myself sitting in front of the TV and not working out or getting things done around the house. So I am going drop that habit and replace it with a nightly walk or other exercise and completion of daily chores, instead of letting them pile up. TV will only be allowed after those things are done.

  • This is so awesome! I’ve done this type of contest before with breaking an old habit that has CHANGED MY ENTIRE LIFE AND VIBE since dropping the old habit.

    My bad habit to drop is being too loose with my time: like everytime I say ‘Im gonna wake up 20 mins early to work on a project or a quick jog, then sleep in. Or if I say I’m going to show up early for my shift, yet I arrive within the minute of my shift. Or letting my friends be inconvenienced by saying ‘Ill be there at 5pm’ then end up showing up casually at 6pm.

    I’m SOOOOO done always making excuses and trying to justify “why” it’s okay but I know that if I would just commit to being more strict with my timing in life and stick my obligations due to time, I’d remove a HUGE amount of stress in my life.

    It WILL all be less stress, more productive use of my time and fixed by starting TODAY.

    Thanks Craig and good luck to everyone here at ETR.

    #etrbadhabitchallenge #beingabetterperson #socialsupport #surroundingyourselfaroundbetterpeople

  • Bad habit: sleeping in late. My alarm is set for 6am every day – yet some days I ignore the alarm and sleep in.

    New habit: up every day at 545am. Period.

    Penalty: Stuck on this one. I think I’ll need to set up an accountability agreement with someone. E.g., if I don’t text by 5:50am confirming that I’m up, I have to PayPal someone $5. Actually, that might work….

  • Bill Weiss

    Craig, I’m going to stop eating pretzels, and cheese chunks, and replace those with healthful snacks like fruit and veggies on my afternoon/evening snack time. I have high blood pressure for which I take meds, but have a real difficult time saying no to pretzels even though I know they’re not good for me. I’ll quit tomorrow is my motto. No. Thanks for the reminder… today is the only day I can give up a bad habit! So here goes!

  • Anna

    Thanks for doing this Craig and it couldn’t be more timely with the holidays coming up. My bad habit that I am committing to give up is not being mindful
    about my eating or my internet use. I find it way too easy to just grab a small
    handful of chocolates or to spend countless minutes surfing on the internet.
    For the next 6 weeks I will be keeping track of what I eat and how long I am
    on the internet with the goal being to lose weight and make my use of time
    more productive. I will let you know what happens. Thank you for all your
    great essays and inspiration.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Happy to help, Anna, and I really appreciate your kind words.

  • Jake

    Cool, I’ll play. Thanks for the challenge.
    The real prize of the challenge is the habit. But if I win the gift card, I’ll buy the Philips goLITE.


    I commit to reading from a book for 1 hour every day for 6 weeks.
    If I read for longer than one hour on a day, I cannot carry that over to the next day. I must read, for at least 1h, every day.


    I read a lot everyday in the form of articles, blog posts, essays and ebooks. I have found, however, that I profit much more from reading from books. In books the information is usually better presented, more seriously researched and from a higher authority.


    I have created an account on sticK.com (username: jake1h). For each failure, my credit card will be charged $5 to the benefit of a charity. This amount is high enough that it hurts.

    If you are on sticK, provide your username and I’ll add you as a referee.

  • I’ve got a couple things I want to break.

    1. Swear words and negative words and statements. If you asked people if I were negative or a curser, they would think you were nuts. Like Craig, I don’t use curse words the majority of the time. Then when I do…I feel like my IQ goes down. As for the negativity. I am not outwardly negative. I am, in fact, very positive. Things have been very stressful lately and I find myself letting negative self talk in.

    2. I also need to be on an early to rise schedule. That is the toughest thing in the world for me. I am a night owl. I have clients early in the morning and I am not clear enough to get my writing done later on. I need to force myself to stop work at a certain time. Have some time that is not work related. And go to bed at a decent time. I also need to schedule writing time. Even if I sit there with a blank stare at my computer I am going to schedule it and do it.

    3. Email, FB, TWITTER on a schedule and never outside the schedule.

    I am probably trying to fix too many things at once, but, there is no reason I can’t do these things.
    Thanks Craig! Love having daily reminders.

  • Janesta

    I will give for eating sweets for the 6 weeks challenge starting today November 1st, 2012.

  • Janesta

    I will give up eating sweets for the 6 weeks challenge starting today November 1st, 2012

  • jandae

    My bad habit is swearing. i accept the six weeks challenge. If I fail, I am willing to donate .50 to my favorite charity.

  • Arthur

    I have a bad habit of reading email first thing in the morning at work. I am going to resist the temptation to look at email, but instead start on the most important task of my day, which is definitely not checking email. In the process, I am going to unsubscribe to emails that are not helpful or advance my knowledge. I will spend time reading email, but it will be much more calculated during the day and not first thing and then continually during the day.

    I have gotten in the bad habit of not planning each day. I am going to take a minimum of five minutes at the end of each day to plan my next day and prioritize what I want to get done.

    That’s it, at least for now; read email more judiciously at specific times and plan for tomorrow at the end of each day.

  • Alison

    Drinking to many too many sodas!! I need to drink water instead!

  • Kim

    I will curb, if not eliminate my ‘cussing’ as we’ll, simply reading your article made me feel a little embarrassed about my own use of such words. But, my reall commitment will be to loose 8 lbs in the next six weeks. A completely reasonable goal considering I am 40 lbs overweight. As my incentive, I will donate $5 for every lb I am away from my goal to a charity that I don’t support (which will remain unnamed).

  • Anita

    Wow. Lots of great plans listed here. Even those who don’t win the Amazon cards will be Winners if they stick to it!! (which I suspect was Craig’s partial goal anyway!) I was especially happy to see someone offering to help two others with a free e-book. In that spirit, I’d like to offer a tiny bit of help to those who are going to quit smoking. Check out Quitnet.com, and instead of saying “I’m going to Try…”, say I am going To Quit, period! Don’t leave a backdoor open with the word Try. That is what Finally worked for me.

    And ETR – always handing out ideas for us to live better. But the ideas only work if we Apply them. Consistently. So – thanks to this challenge I will be forced to start my changes Today, instead of after the holidays, or after the new year, or the next new year, or whenever…! 6 weeks from now I will have actually Accomplished some things – instead of just talking about it. And I will be forced to Stick to It, instead of fizzling. I needed this Push! So today I pledge to:

    Stop Procrastinating and Stop Fizzling with the following:
    *Get up no later than 6:00 Every Single morning!
    *Use my extra early morning hours to Exercise at least 30 minutes, and
    *Write EVERY day for at least an hour! I know I feel WAY better after having done both. And I get my best writing ideas, while I’m exercising.
    * I will limit my internet use to 30 minutes, no earlier than 11:00am, and another 30 minutes again, no earlier than 6:00pm.
    *List at least One auction on Ebay Every day with the proceeds going monthly to my two newest charities.
    *Get back to my Toss 20, which means I must toss 20 items out of my house Every Single Day. That helps a charity And my sanity!
    And Journal it all, for accountability!

  • You’ve inspired me Craig. There have been so many negative things in my life these last few years that are outside my control, that I believe I have become lazy about the things I can control. I too, was raised with cussing and have always accepted that excuse for continuing. I am quitting cussing!

    Starting right now. I will do as suggested and track when I slip-up and use that info to help me reconsider my word choices. Thanks for sharing your inspiration with us! I will tell my husband about my plans and he will help hold me accountable.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Great to hear, Linda, thank you.

  • Craig, thank you for the challenge! The prospect of gaining something nice (a gift card) by gaining something great (a better life) is a no-brainer.

    Sign me up.

    My commitments are:

    1) I will not check non-work email or the news until I have completed at least two hours of project work on my business (except Sundays), and

    2) I will express appreciation toward my dear husband of 20 years every day.

    How could life not get better?

    Thank you!

  • George Siotis

    I am going to stop my bad habit of falling asleep alway’s after 10:00. My new habit will be to be asleep by 10:00 every night.

  • Barbara

    I waste far too much time playing computer games when I should be working. I’ve been telling myself for months now that it has to stop. I’m now going to rectify this. (Actually, all I needed was the nudge, so thanks.)

  • Robert

    OK, Craig. I’m another one with the cursing habit. It started way back in my teenage years — and I’m not talkin’ about how long ago that was! It’s been a long time, for sure. About two weeks ago I let fly with another string of “blue-tones” at work, and my manager got worried that my BP was getting too high and talked with me about chilling out. The fact that he is a couple of decades younger than me impressed me, when he was more concerned with my welfare, than with chastising me. So that night I had a serious “chat” with myself about this long-time habit. I decided then that another simple phrase could substitute for the blue-tones, could express my momentary frustration and perhaps lead me in the direction of finding solutions to the moment – and at least avoiding those unnecessary strings of purposeless words. (Every curse word I’ve ever used is an expression of an impossible situation anyway. “F___ that! Biologically impossible. “G__D___ it!” Never happens. The Power that created all this never damns any of it. Etc,etc)

    So… I’ve started saying “Come on….!” The volume and intensity of it reflects just how frustrating something is in the moment, and it also leads me in the direction of finding solutions in the moment. Have “slipped” a couple of times, but the other day my manager heard me say “Come on…” with some volume, and said “You sound frustrated!” I agreed and said, “I’m using that phrase now instead of swearing!” “Great idea! Keep it up!”, he said.

    Thanks for the reminder, particularly because you successfully met the same problem! I looking forward to the “Transformation Contest” in 2013.

    Best Regards,

  • Joe

    Yet another inspiring and motivational article, now time to take some action: I have so many bad habits that I know I need to break, but trying to break them all at the same time can be overwhelming (I’ve tried it before… and failed).

    So, for the next six weeks I’m going to focus on my health: no more grazing on crap food. I’m going to plan out my meals in advance (especially when I’m working) and whenever I feel like eating some junk, I’ll have a healthy alternative at hand that I can eat instead. Penalty for eating something crappy: $5 to the charity jar. Also will work out at least 3 times a week for at least an hour.

  • Marianne

    I will stop self editing as I write the first draft of a project. The more I self edit, the more I second guess. The more I second guess, the more time slips away. I’m killing my biz potential.

    Perfect timing for this. Thanks.

  • David


    Out of interest what did you do when you thought of a curse word but didn’t actually say it? Does that count as cursing, even though it is internal only?

    • Craig Ballantyne

      It doesn’t count unless it’s out loud. That said, the internal cussing is also decreasing at a rapid rate as I work on the out-loud cussing.

  • Paula

    I’m so glad I read your article today. It really made me look at myself and motivated me to make some changes.
    1. I will jump (or crawl) out of bed as soon as the alarm clock sounds instead of hitting the snooze button and sleeping another hour, or two, or three.
    2. I will limit the time spent sitting in front of the computer doing nothing to 1 hour per day. I’m going to use the extra time that otherwise would be wasted on doing something productive.

  • Yanick Martin

    I am not fat but I am considered overweight (BMI 27.2) and a cholesterol level that is dangerously approaching the upper limit of where it should be. I think i have a disfunctional relationship with food despite the fact that i consider very well informed when it comes to proper nutrition. I don’t smoke, i rarely drink, no recreational drugs BUT food has always been my best friend. In good times and bad times, food has ALWAYS been there for me. I can rely on it to celebrate, to socialize, to feel “full”-filled 😉 My eating habits is my biggest bad habit.

    Today November 1st i have admitted myself to a health center where I will fast for 19 days. It is all well-structured and supervised so I am not worried at all. My biggest hurdle so far was my mom…..it took good arguments, good articles, good testimonies and what not to get a nod of approval.

    My body has been fed for 43 years. I love food. I need food. But in order to change my bad habit I need to go without food. I want to know what it feels like to have an empty stomach. I want to know if the rumors are true about hunger (the nausea, the cramps, the headaches, the light-headedness…..). Actually i don’t think I have ever felt hunger triggered by a physiological need for nutrients….but i sure feel hungry when I order a Gran Slam. For me It is a bad habit seated on a faulty belief system when it comes to eating.

    I hope to gain a better understanding of what is good for myself and after the 19 days I will do my very best to implement a new set of behaviors that will be support me well for decades to come. It is a drastic measure but this is my chosen journey and….I am worth it.

  • Mwench

    I find that I have 2 very annoying habits…at least to myself:
    1. Postponing doing the hard things and then finding that they are actually harder to do when the time comes that I must do them.
    2. Being easily distracted and enticed by a new project before I can finish one that I’m currently on…then ending up with multiple hanging ends

  • Craig, you are absolutely right–I too need to clean up my daily conversation. I wasn’t raised that way, but picked up foul language somewhere along the way. I feel ashamed when I think about it. I’ll get my partner’s help on this one, after all he’s the one who hears it. This will be fun for him.
    Yes, it’s time to be done with that! Thank you!!!

    Procrastination in doing important things is another bad habit which must go.

  • By the way, it is still Nov. 1 here in Hawaii–8:45pm.

    • And it’s All Saints Day! It is time we all act like the saints we are!

  • Lonnie R

    I am starting a “gratitude and achievements” journal as advised by ETR.. I commit to looking back at the end of the day and finding what made it great instead of looking for a reason to be dissatisfied.

  • Steven C


    Nice article … I remember you mentioning trying to break this habit at the Mastermind event in Denver. For me, I will stop procrastinating my workouts. Some days I hit the snooze button and say I’ll workout later that morning. Some days I do … and, well you know what happens. Thanks for the two month head start!


  • Nancy

    I,too, need to clean up my vocabulary. It’s been a very long term bad habit. I remember my mom telling me she was going to wash my mouth out with ivory soap if I continued to cuss. So, that’s the habit I plan to break. The soap threat didn’t work, but I’d really be better off by changing this habit.

  • darren

    Quit Quiting and Start Starting

    There are a number of things I’ve been trying to quit recently (sleeping late, procrastinating, skipping my morning exercises, not eating as many fresh foods as I should) and every time I have a few successful days, I end up slipping back into the old habits. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine quitting something for good, for the rest of your life. So I am going quit quitting the negative things I do and start doing positive things. Instead of quitting eating white bread, I am going to start eating only whole wheat. Instead of trying to quit procrastinating, I am going to start being excited about finishing projects ahead of time. It’s true, you could say the difference is subtle, but instead of having to give something up, why not add something positive into your life.

  • Stop emails in the morning. I get so little time to work on my business, so I always justify my bad morning inbox habits.

    I’ll wait until 10 am every morning to check email.


  • Ed

    It is very easy to fall into the pattern of “managing by crisis”, not sticking to a daily plan. My objective is to set a prioritized daily schedule, subject to customer interuptions, and stick with it. If pssible I would like to have time blocks set aside for specific functions.

  • Kevin

    I will, even though many say it can’t be done, stop smoking and drinking more than two drinks per day. Im not an alcoholic, but one beer leads to two and then six is gone by bed time. And everytime I have a beer, I have a cigarette.

    I know that everything in me will change, and I plan to replace these two ugly habits with (1) a fun day savings account with the money I save by not buying these items and (2) 30 minute work-out every day .

    Wish me luck

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Best of luck, Kevin, stay strong.

  • E. G.

    Loved your essay on breaking bad habits. I’m hoping the method will work as well in establishing a new habit. I check my investments at the end of the afternoon, then waste time surfing the web. But I always feed my cat at 5:00. He meows loudly if I don’t. So now I will take a walk every afternoon immediately after feeding my cat. Gotta go now!

  • Claudia DiSalvo

    I plan to keep the television OFF from 9:00 AM until the 6:00PM news station. I am a political junkie and time has been gobbled up with listening to the rehashing of whatever political stories of the day. After evaluating my involvement, I have lost hundreds of hours that I could have contributed to other projects. I tried to rationalize that this behavior was OK because I was sitting at my computer. Did I lie to myself. Overwhelmingly YES. So my plan is to end this ridiculous time waster.

    • H V Saunders

      I just read the article today. Another reason to stop procrastinating!
      I am going to stop surfing the net in the morning as I lose track of time and get little done and get up at 5 a.m. daily to meditate and exercise.
      I will get my grandchildren to hold me accountable and pay $3 each time I forget.

  • Eric

    The “bad habit’ tat I want to replace to Negative Self Talk. This is habit is such a detriment to my success. Just when I start feeling good about my progress or when I get close to my goal…I self -sabatoge with some sort of Negative Self Talk. So in order to replace an old bad habit with a good postive habit…I will create a trigger: whenever a negative self talk enters my thoughts, I will break out my journal and write out a postive self talk to replace it. The postive “affirmation” will be: OPERATION 2X….
    “I’m a fighter jet. I require specific conditions for ultimate performance. I’m not like everyone else. My performance is superior and more important. I am high maintenance. I require only the best fuel. I am not to be used for insignificant work. I am not a toy. I am not average. I do not do average things or average work. I’m a game changer. I am a 2x operator”

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Awesome Eric, that’s great. Stay strong.


  • This was a great kick in the backside. I’m on Day 4 of getting up every day at 545am, and have discovered that, not only can I get up early and get things done (on Sunday morning, I literally dug up a tree stump in my yard *before dawn*), but a little pre-planning of what I want to accomplish that early helps solidify my efforts.

    Thanks, Craig. Great stuff.

  • Wendy


    I am such a procrastinator. I am intelligent, have an abundance of common sense, can achieve any goal for others, but I just am not able to finish a project for myself, or even work on a project for myself. I have been writing an ebook for years so that I could start my own website. But, still no progress and no website. My goal is to start a website that will create an income, but I get lost or perhaps overwhelmed at where to begin so what do I do… nothing, but assure myself that I will start it tomorrow. Tomorrow comes, and goes… But, there is always tomorrow. I am embarassed to admit that I am not making any progress using many excuses – lack of funds, lack of resources, lack of time, lack of… But, in reality, it is just my procrastination or perhaps lack of confidence.that I don’t know how to build a website or write an ebook. I have spent money on how to do both, but… So, I guess the bad habit I want to eliminate is procrastination, and whatever other bad habits that lead one to procrasinate in the first place – HELP!!!! And, thanks so much!

  • Sara H

    September and October were stressful months, my routine was off and I ended up with mono…out of commission for pretty much everything. I will get back on track to reading an inspiring or motivating book for 30 minutes a day and listening to one positive cd or audio book a day. My mindset has been in a funk, filling it with good information will override the negative.

  • Sandy

    I’m hoping that posting my bad habit on this website will help me change. I’m going to give up candy for 6 weeks. We have a candy jar at work that usually has chocolate and every time I feel stressed I dig into it. Having Halloween and Christmas candy around only makes matters worse. I’ve been pretty successful at giving up Coke, now I need to give up candy. I’m sure this will help my waistline!
    Craig – I love the inspiring letters that you write in Early to Rise. I read it every day.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thank you Sandy, greatly appreciated. Stay strong and beat that candy,

      • Sandy

        I did it! I have not had any candy since I posted this note on your website! The only time that I “cheated” was to take a sliver of chocolate to sample what we are giving our clients for Christmas. And it did not taste very good! I’m going to continue on with this new habit.

      • Craig Ballantyne

        Well done Sandy!

  • MJ

    Craig, Excellent article.

    I too am lazy and use swear words at home or with certain friends and family for emphasizes in my conversation.

    I commit, for the next 6 weeks to stop swearing in those situations. For affirmation I will put $5 in Charity jar for each infraction, for a selected charity.

    Thanks for your encouragement and support.

  • Josie kana

    Sugar is killing me…. I can eliminate it for 5-6 days and start feeling great. Only to give in and them I’m off to the races…. I’m in for doing the challenge. I realize it 11/7 but I can start today… Love your motivation.

  • Josie kana

    Oooops forgot my consequence… $10.00 for each slip to help the relief effort for Sandy

  • Jorge

    Last friday I decided to stop being lazy and get up earlier than usual on tuesdays and thursdays just so I could do my early morning runs as part of my training for next year’s Paris Marathon… so far, so good… I’m pleased to say that even though I had a hard time waking up yesterday morning, I managed to go out before sunrise (4:50 a.m.) and run 4K on a very cold tuesday morning. It was 47° out there!!… best of all, I felt great the rest of the day, as if I was supercharged. Looking forward to more days like that.

    • Megan Smith

      YOU GO !! GREAT JOB.

  • Jorge

    Another quick update… waking up early (4:50 a.m.) today, wasn’t as hard as it was this past tuesday, in fact, I was kinda looking forward to it… and my morning run went great, 4 miles in 30 minutes… it’s amazing what a public commitment helps to steer me in the right direction…

  • Anita

    Update for me also… I find that after a week of getting up no later than 6, I have been waking up around 5:30, and laying there for 15 minutes, because I Can. That’s crazy. May as well get up at 5:30, as it isn’t really a challenge anymore. But I have noticed that by 1pm, I’m very tired. Have to fight hard not to nap. But no matter, because I am accomplishing so much more in the morning, that if I slow down in the afternoon… I still feel farther ahead. But I am hoping this afternoon fatigue goes away with more exercise and getting used to the new routine and all. Still SO happy I joined the challenge!

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Fantastic work, Anita.

  • I’m going to crack my tendency to start more than I can finish. It will be a tough one, but I’ve got an accountability jar and will complete 2 small things before I start anything new just to get into (or out of) the habit.

  • Robin

    I just completed a 90 day challenge to balance my hypoglycemic index and create more energy . i found i can do this by drawing from the fat cells within my body drinking one cup of the skinny coffee each morning. I created a excel chart and logged in my daily weight, and exercise I accomplished. Being an already athletic person, I found myself drawn to the challenge of playing more golf, and walking my dogs more. I had to be creative in figuring out my schedule and balancing work and exercise. Now my new challenge is to stop procrastinating and accomplish the same for my office records, files and keeping to a reasonable schedule. Keep doing what I am doing with the coffee, but add the tea in the afternoon to keep the balance. Now with winter in MN, I can’t play golf. I need to make that switch back to the gym; swim, do water aerobics and commit. Not an easy task for me. I think this may be the push I need for accountability.

  • Like Anita, my change of bad habit was the ‘wake up’ time.

    As a long time reader of ETR and reciter of Ben Franklin’s aphorism: ‘Early to bed, early to rise…make’s a man healthy, wealthy, and wise’ I’ve rededicated myself to a 0500hrs wake up.
    – 2 factors have played into my commitment.
    1.) I arrive at the gym early enough to ensure a spot @ my 0600hrs indoor cycling class.
    2.) I moved to a different country recently, and in this transition re-established my entire routine.
    – On Sunday, the alarm stays off. What’s your opinion of this? Should I keep 1 day a week of ‘unlimited sleep’ to ensure the batteries don’t get drained?

  • This might be a little late but about 2.5 weeks ago after reading this article and knowing Diet Coke and Coke Zero and Coke are bad for me I decided again to quit and give it up. It’s been almost 3 weeks now and in situations such as convienence stores where I used to always get coke zero i never do. Instead I opt for sparkling water such as perrier. It’s been 3 weeks and haven’t had a diet coke. Thus far I am quite proud of myself and don’t want to jinx it.

  • Jorge

    Time for an update… I skipped one whole week of running, ´cuz it looks like I have developed achilles tendonitis, which is not so good… the upside is that Diana, my wife, is a physiotherapist and pilates instructor, so I’m in good hands and followed her advice… so instead of doing my early morning runs last thursday and this past tuesday, I woke up at roughly the same time and did my stretches, as prescribed by Diana… went back to my routine yesterday morning, and ran faster than I had in any of my previous tempo runs, which means that week off must have been good for me… I still feel a bit of a pain in my left achilles tendon, but I’m sure it will slowly go away…

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Well done, Jorge, stay strong.

  • Tammy

    My bad habit is making excuses why I can not exercise for 20 minutes every day. I am committing to exercise daily except for Sunday. Anyday I do not I will pay $5.00 to the church food ministry. Thanks for the challenge, Tammy

  • eva

    Hi Craig…just read this today…no better time than starting now…very inspired by everyone so far…
    a. One bad habit I have is not getting to bed early enough…I sit on the sofa and
    am on my laptop. I will go to bed earlier than the midnight I have been doing
    and eventually get to 10 pm.
    b. I tend to procrastinate. I will do my to do list the night before and be ready to
    go the next day.
    Any day I do not do these two things, I will put the money into a fund for the local SPCA.
    Thanks for this challenge. Eva

  • Mildred

    The bad habit I want to replace is going to sleep late and then feeling drowsy in the morning. I want to be in bed by 10:00 pm consistently.

  • Bill Foulds

    Hey Craig,

    How are ya? I am reminded of one of Zig Ziglar’s sayings…”Every day above ground is a good one, if you don’t like it just try missing one” RIP Zig… you made a HUGE difference in my life.

    Just a quick update on the challenge, I gave up alcohol and vowed to be on my Nordic Trac 4 days a week for 30 minutes and I am happy to share with you that I have successfully been on the wagon thus far. It was challenging over Thanksgiving as I love to have a glass of wine while I cook but I held firm. I have been on the Nordic Trac a minimum of 4 days a week, several extra sessions. I feel great, I am enthused, energetic and committed. As a bonus I have lost 6 pounds ( all in the first 10 days, now stabilized). Thank you for throwing down the gauntlet!

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Bill, well done, thank you for taking up the challenge.

  • Bill Foulds

    Hey Craig,
    I also wanted to share with you that I printed off this article and had both my kids read it and then we all agreed to put a “cuss” jar on the counter. We all added words that we should put on our “bad” list, other than cuss words and this has been very benificial and eye opening to the family. $3.00 per word for me, $1.00 per word for the kids. My youngest son is very proud that he has not had to pay a single $1.00 so far! Can’t say that for myself, but it is helping us all!


  • Marsha W

    I am an artist (and a good one) but have been sidelined mainly by my Fibromyalgia which is an insidious disease that can take many forms. You can have muscular pain. joint pain or nerve pain and it can occur in different parts of the body. Exercise is good but there is a fine line where if you overdo the Fibromyalgia flares and you are worse off then before. Depression is common. Even though I love to paint it seems like I am unable to get the energy to even start. I vow to push through the pain and depression and work on cleaning up my painting area so I can get back to painting. Every day that I don’t work on this, I commit to donate $5 to our local food bank, Loaves and Fishes. Please pray I reach my goal, as I will do for all those who posted.

  • bonnie

    My bad habits are eating junk food, and skipping my daily exercise. So I will commit to a $10 fine for each infraction. Thanks for setting the example and inspiring me to get started today! Zig Ziglar was a great influence for me in positive thinking.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thanks Bonnie, happy to help.

  • Jorge

    It’s amazing what a simple resolution can do to improve your life in many ways… mine was simply to stop being lazy and wake up earlier than usual to do my morning runs as part of my marathon training… before, if I skipped any run it usually meant my training was done for… now, I do what I can to get back on track.
    Take last tuesday, for example. I woke up at the right time (4:40 a.m.) and was ready to go out running, when my little baby girl, Gabriela, woke up crying… I held her in my arms trying to get her back to sleep, but she stayed awake and I stayed home to help Diana with the other kids… I felt kinda sad for my morning run, but decided to do it at noon… so I left the office at 12:30, went home, changed into my running gear, ran for 30 minutes, took a shower, grabbed a quick lunch and went back to my office… in the end, it felt good. I managed to hold on to my commitment, en route to my first marathon in 5 years…
    Now, I’m eager to set myself another goal…

  • Mary Ann

    Bad habit – not planning for tomorrow.
    It’s been written and – have proven to myself that it works. I am most productive when I plan the day before and can just go on autopilot the next day. I hadn’t found a system that would really work until I tried whitfield’s tripling your productivity post. So far, 2 wks in…. It’s worked and when I find myself drifting off, the “day’s gameplan” puts me back in check. Instead of affiliates, I use the box as a contact sheet for clients, family, prospects and affiliates… Depending on the days goals. The plan is to continue, stay focused and move towards developing an info product, saving $$ for the fitness business summit and get writing on a daily basis again.

  • Gayle

    craig, your articles are very inspiring and insightful. I have so many things Id like to change, but I think I’ll start small, feel the success and then go to the next one.
    I believe I’ll start with drinking at least 8 glasses of water. I always feel better when I do. Every day that I dont drink that much I will put $5 in a jar for the humane society. thank yoiu again. I get so much from your experiences!

  • Arline

    Hi Craig,

    I had the opportunity to know ETR through the Time Management book I had purchased at Amazon (Kindle Edition) that was Nov. 20, 2012, I read the first email sent to me (HYDSB) and found it so loaded with good stuff. I decided there and then that I will schedule my sleeping hour the same time each day but every now and then I still deviate and sleep later than 10pm, Now after reading this I resolve to follow my schedule to the letter unless there’s a very important reason. Another habit that I want to totally eradicate is procrastination although when I make my “To do list” (5 priorities) and stick to it most of the time I accomplished all or at least 4 of them. For now I will try to fix these 2 bad habits and totally eliminate them in my life and sure thing it will make an impact in what I really want to accomplish in my life. Please continue to be a burning light to a lot of people.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thank you Arline, really appreciate it.

  • I drink too much alcohol at times and 5 days ago got picked up at a road side check stop in the middle of no where on a side road going home from seniors hockey tryouts. What were the chances?? I had not had a drink and drove in over 1.5 years to this point. I was well in control of my vehicle and was breaking no other laws. I had consumed right around the legal limit or so I thought so I refused to provide a breath sample. That was not good. I ended up in jail for a few days. Merry Christmas!! That was most degrading and a real eye opener to me as a business owner and marketer. I am a high achiever and have done well in my life but always drank, sometimes too much. Alcohol was a good escape at times from the real world but not a real fix or the right solution. Many people I associate with escape from the business pressures similarly. I now realize that alcoholism runs in our family. My drinking must stop right now. I am awaiting to find out what the penalties I now face. Now is the right time for me for the 90 day challenge and I am prepared to get started right away.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thank you for sharing, Terry. We all make mistakes, but we also all have a chance to make things right. Keep making the right choices in the future, and stay strong.

      • Thank you Craig. Since December 7 th, I am well on my way to quitting drinking alcohol for good already. I am eager to get started with the ETR Transformation Contest. Respectfully Terry.

      • Craig Ballantyne

        Well done, Terry, proud of you.

  • Bill Foulds

    Hi Craig,

    Just another update, week 5 of the challenge and I am feeling strong. I have been on my nordic-trac at least 4 times a week for thirty minutes. Sometimes that has been a challenge being a single Dad with two kids, but getting back into the routine has been great and I habit I will continue beyond this challenge. I also gave up drinking alcohol and it was a little rough around Thanksgiving but I made it through. For some reason as I head into the final week of this challenge I find the urge to have a glass of wine, as we put up the Christmas decorations, or cook dinner this weekend especially strong. Your challenge has been the motivation to stay strong and it gives me pause to ponder if I should examine the reasons behind this especially strong urge to jump off the wagon. I will not break and I will finish this challenge strong…. Thank you for this challenge, it has been great, stimulating and very good for me!
    Stay strong everyone, this finish line is in sight!

  • Joanna

    Thank you for your very inspiring articles. My main problem is not getting to bed early enough, so this has been an eye opener as to how much my productivity imporved and how much better I felt!

  • Kelvin

    For years or maybe decade, I had been reading books and finding motivations to inspire myself and to be more successfully in life. It has being a coster roller ride, sometimes very motivated but at times laze back fall back into bad lazy habits. Although overall I did become better in general and do have some achievements to boast about, which I just realize when I dwelled on it. However it is just not progressing enough after so many years, after a while I start ‘rolling’ back.

    There is so many habits I would want to tackle, I would just pick one which I think is most vital for me now, stop procrastinating. I always have so many great ideas, be it in daily life well being or at work. Especially for me at work, just started working in a new company and workload is huge and stressful.

    For this challenge I would stop my procrastination and act promptly and swiftly.

  • I have been reading your articles ever so regularly. I am being urged to act on my thoughts.
    Have begun to do things slower and complete them ,rather than in a hurry as I did earlier. It has been two weeks.
    The other thing is to plan my day well and act on a really good plan.I take measured time to accomplish this in my thoughts.
    Am getting there and the biggest plan is to make this one a daily ingrained practice.Thank you Craig for inspiring me through your ETR Newsletter

  • Jorge

    It blows my mind when I realize it´s been over a month since this ‘challenge’ was posted. So I’m in my 5th week now and feeling stronger than before. Can’t say I haven’t had weak moments, mornings in which I wished I didn’t have to go out the door and run in chilly weather, but soon enough I remember my commitment to myself: I want to run a marathon in April and if I start skipping runs, then I won’t be able to perform to my fullest capacity. As you say in one of your replies, Reaching your goals requires you to keep making the right choices consistently, staying focused and avoiding temptation.
    So far, so good.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Well done, Jorge!

  • david

    stop putting things off and cut down at least half the amount of sugar intake

  • MJ

    Keep up the good work everyone. Keep your eye on the prize! How much better you’ll feel about yourself once you’ve accomplished your six weeks. I’ve read all your posts and I’m pulling for you all. I especially like the updates on your progress.

  • KAA

    OK so I’m late to this challenge, and getting started now may hurt my chances of being one of your prize winners, but I’m working on the theory that it is not when I choose to act but that I do in fact act that counts!

    The habit I will drop is hitting the snooze button, literally and figuratively.

    Literally, I will now set the alarm for the time I have decided will give me enough time to prepare for the day and I will get up when that alarm goes off. No snooze. No “just nine more minutes.” No feeling like my first act each morning is an act of failure. Get up and get moving.

    Figuratively, I will act when the idea hits me. No “fiddledy-dee, I’ll worry about that tomorrow.” No, “I’ll do it this weekend.” No feeling like I’m failing to progress on my goals (or to define them). Get up and do it (or get it on my calendar if it is not possible to fully act right that minute; an appointment with myself is as valuable as any other I set).

    I pray for the strength to drop these habits. Thank you for the kick in the pants and the opportunity to receive your coaching. See you in the morning. 🙂

    • KAA

      It’s tomorrow and I did it! One alarm and done! Got some snuggle time with my honey and then up and at ’em. Gotta say, it feels great to start off the day with a win!

  • I did it! 100% achievement of my goal: to work at least two solid hours before checking email or news. No problem at all; I love the new habit.

    Okay, I did ONE of my goals 100%; the other one I failed at miserably. It was to show daily appreciation to my husband in a last-ditch effort to save our marriage. No such luck; here comes divorce. After I get over the shock and stabilize a bit, I know it will be better in the long run. Hard as it may be, I’m still going to try for appreciation, not to chase him, but so I can live a better life. Challenges abound!

  • Seth

    I am going to drop a bad habit starting today. I am going to stop eating sugar 6 days of the week.

    My new belief: “I only eat real food, and allow sugar only on my cheat meal on Saturday night.”

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Well done, Seth, stay strong!

  • It was a week before my 25th birthday that this challenge was created. I wanted to correct my work habits within that week and wake up early every morning, work out then straight to work on my business! Well 6 weeks later my business is able to run by itself with little input from me, employees know what they should be doing etc. Also I wake up earlier every morning and my 6 pack is also back!!! I must say my goals for the 6 weeks worked out and not only do I not have to think about it any more they are now habit!

  • David Beres

    Just finished reading your article. I teach high school. One of my classes if filled with students who don’t like math. Is this frame of mind a bad habit? Can the method you described be used to change this frame of mind? I would like to give it a try.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      David, yes, but it’s more important to someone that says, “I’m not good at math.” That’s the mindset they must change.

  • John Richards


    I love Early to Rise. The habit I will break is to stop drinking alcohol. I can’t see anything positive for me even as a social drinker. I have big goals for 2013 and this is a habit I don’t need.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Well done John, keep that going and we’ll help you through the ETR Transformation Contest. Thanks so much for your feedback.

  • After years of wrestling with getting up earlier, I find now that, most days, I wake up before the 530am alarm. I’m getting more done, I feel more accomplished, and it’s spilling into other areas of my life.

    For example, I just committed to running a 195 mile relay race next summer. Did I mention that I’m not a runner? Well, since I’m up at 530am now, I’ve got time to train. Starting with a Couch-to-5K program.

    Thanks, Craig. You’ve been singularly helpful.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Happy to help.

  • Bill Foulds

    Woo Hoo! I can’t believe it has been six weeks already since this challenge began. I was feeling the urge to “go on the wagon” for a while before this challenge started but couldn’t seem to find the right time frame….There was always some reason to have a social drink, concert, holidays, special occasions so even though this time frame went over the Thanksgiving holiday, which would have been an excuse, I jumped on the wagon and haven’t slipped off, not once….Great timing for me and I showed myself that no matter the occasion, I did not “need” alcohol to enhance my enjoyment. I also committed to getting on my Nordic-track 4 days a week for 30 minutes each session and I actually made that committment 100% as well with a few “bonus” sessions added because it felt so good! Final result of this challenge, I feel great about myself, I have been a better role model to my children, I went from 188 lbs to 182lbs and have more energy and my excitement and mental state is off the page. As a family we put a “cuss” jar on our kitchen counter and that has been a great tool for myself and my children. It is not just cuss words but a compilation of words that my kids and I decided we would not say anymore. So all in all, this has been a great challenge, great timing, and as I had the kids read your article, a great tool for my family to get them thinking about and working on changing bad habits! I will have a glass of wine as I fix dinner on Sat. night but the Nordic-track habit is here to stay!

    Thanks Craig, this has been fun! Keep up the great work, I’m a fb friend and have shared several of your posts…. Keep ’em coming!


    • Craig Ballantyne

      Fantastic work, Bill. Thank you for sharing everything, too.

  • Jake

    Six weeks ago, I set out to read one hour every day from a book. The time is up and I’m happy to report–I crushed it.

    First, I wan’t to acknowledge how valuable this habit is. I wouldn’t have thought that it would have such a positive impact on my life:

    Reading from a book every day for one hour minimized the time I spend aimlessly browsing the web reading random articles that are often badly written and full of theses and speculations instead of proven facts.

    Choosing books to read allowed me to carefully select the topics in which I want to educate myself, instead of following some intriguing headlines of articles whose topics are not relevant to my path at the moment. Books provide a planned education.

    Absorbing information from a book makes me take studying more seriously and I make an effort to implement what I read.

    I usually did my reading before going to bed. This practice improved my sleep as quitting my computer time before sleeping helped me wind-down and get adequately tired by the dim light of my night-stand light.


    I read seven books! 6 non-fiction books and 1 fiction book.

    My reading speed increased.

    Picking up the book every day made me look forward to the reading and improved my comprehension. I attribute this to the fact that with daily reading you are still connected to the author’s voice and the information presented is still present in your mind by the time you return to the book.
    If you go a few days without reading from a book you disconnect from it and what you’ve learned tends to slip into the background of your mind. Two points that make your reading less effective and the book less impactful.


    I missed three days.
    The first miss: I simply forgot. It was towards the beginning of the six weeks and I had just finished a long work day. Instead of doing my reading, I went straight to bed. The next morning I realized, I forgot to read last night. It was a good reminder to make room for the reading and I scheduled it firmly on my to-do list from then on.

    The two other failures were intentional. On both days, I knew I still had to do my reading but I chose not to do it. The reason, I spend those days with a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time and we had a full program all day long. I realize now that I could have gotten up an hour earlier and do my reading then.

    As a consequence for missing the days, I read 2 hours on the following days. I set the rule that compensation for missing a day doesn’t count so I still paid penalties on sticK.com.
    Those two punishments made me take the habit seriously. It taught me: missing a day will not go without consequences. The reading of two hours was a stronger consequence than paying a penalty. I know now: better do your reading today or you have to do 2 hours tomorrow.


    I’m thankful for the ETR challenge. It motivated me to sit down and make concrete plans to implement this habit. Sometimes we need reminders that we can become conscious of our daily routines and habits and actively decide to change something.
    In the beginning I was motivated by the prize but I soon realized how valuable this habit is and I forgot about the cash and just did it for myself. I am continuing.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      That’s fantastic, wonderful 6-week progress.

    • Mary Ann

      This was very inspiring to read Bill. You’re right, reading off various blogs and vague topics off the website which may or may not meet goals of the day or even at all takes away valuable time. I’m going to add this to my transformation for the next 6 weeks along with my already bad habit of not planning for tomorrow. So far, 9 days from starting that and I have been able to stay on track and will report on my progress on January 15th.

  • Hi.After this time,when I reading every day you halp me to be more and more sronger than before.I leave in Libya 14,5years and I had to to much dificult time here for this time you given to me that I can be bether than another.I am from Belgrade ,but for this time I had work in this contry.Working in big hospital is hard I am physioterapist.Thank you so much for haping me to be strong and go in bether days.My best regards Vesna from Tripoli.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Happy to help, Vesna, stay strong!

  • Anita

    *Get up no later than 6:00 Every Single morning! I can say I was Awake by 6, but I didn’t always pop out of bed. But I did meditate on the day ahead… so does that count…maybe…
    *Use my extra early morning hours to Exercise at least 30 minutes. This worked for a couple weeks, but I found myself dreading it sometimes. So I cut it back to 15 minutes. Most days I kept going past the 15 and often past the 30. But by committing to a measly 15, I at least got started, and that was half the battle. I wasn’t dreading the exercise… just the starting.
    *Write EVERY day for at least an hour! Fail. I did start out fine… for a week or so. But the hour time-set was causing some dread also. So I cut it back to 15 minutes also. And again, I ended up writing more than 15 minutes, sometimes hitting my hour. So, again – making smaller commitments kept me at least doing Something. With the full hour, I found that I was doing a lot of rambling just to hit the hour. I still feel that my writings are mostly rambling. I think it’s because I haven’t figured out what I’m passionate about writing about. My mind goes off in too many directions.
    * I will limit my internet use to 30 minutes, no earlier than 11:00am, and another 30 minutes again, no earlier than 6:00pm. Didn’t always meet the times of day part… but I did limit my non-business use to under an hour total each day. And I feel so much better about not wasting the time.
    *List at least One auction on Ebay Every day with the proceeds going monthly to my two newest charities. Success! Can’t say as Ebay has been terribly kind to me these past 6 weeks, but I’ve stuck with it. Keeping 50 listings active most days! And I raised about $60 for Ronald McDonald House!
    *Get back to my Toss 20, which means I must toss 20 items out of my house Every Single Day. Another case of over-committing. That’s a LOT of tossing – EVERY day. So I cut it back to a Fling 5. Again, I usually surpassed the 5 goal, but by being more realistic I at least stuck with it.
    So, I didn’t fully succeed on each goal, but I did learn some things. Don’t over commit. Don’t expect too much from myself all at once. One thing at a time, and start small and build. And by writing smaller snippets, I have sort of figured out that I do better if I write ‘to’ someone. One person. One friend that I know won’t think I’m rambly or boring. I don’t send it out. But pretending to write helpful things to a friend gets me writing. So it’s a start.
    Great idea you had Craig, and I’m glad I joined! Can’t wait for the next big challenge you’ll be introducing soon.

  • Sandy

    A new habit that I want to form is writing every day, even if it is only for 15 minutes. I am trying to write a book and I keep procrastinating. I need to stop this and just write!

  • Jorge

    Six weeks ago I decided I’d take up on Craig’s challenge and vowed to get up earlier than usual on tuesdays and thursdays to do my morning runs, en route to my Marathon training, which I started this past Tuesday. It’s time now to look back and check my progress.
    I started off with an acute pain in my left heel (not too much to avoid me from getting up and running), but a pain nevertheless, that made me stay put in the second week. I decided I’d wake up at the same time and stretch, following my wife’s advice (she is a Physiotherapist and Pilates instructor). To my relieve, the pain subsided, though it’s still there and the next time I went out running, felt better and ran faster. All in all, I didn’t go out three times of the 12 that I committed myself to, but made up for two of those by running at noon.
    At first I thought my commitment was to wake up earlier and run, but I made it very clear when I said I wanted to stop being lazy altogether. So, after I did those stretching sessions in lieu of my morning runs, I decided I’d also wake up earlier on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to stretch and improve my flexibility, which is key for my training. Can’t say I’ve done it every single day, but I´ve managed to do it 80% of the time, and that’s quite an achievement for me. At least I think so, and I’m proud of it. However, I know 80% is not 100%, so I’m aiming higher and will not set for anything less than 100%, particularly now that the real training has started.
    The build-up to my marathon training, as I´m so fond of calling these past six weeks, has paid off handsomely. I don’t know how many pounds I’ve lost along the way (I didn’t keep track of that, since that wasn’t my goal), but in just six weeks, my waist has gone from 33 to 30 (at first my pants started to feel a bit loose and now there´s quite a lot of room that wasn’t there before).
    There have been numerous other benefits to my initial commitment. I start my days at work energized and perform better. I’m no weight-watcher and I don’t count calories either, but I didn’t use to care much about whether I was eating too much, and now I’m more inclined to skip fast food and junk food (I’ve made it a habit of walking home to grab lunch and walk back to my office – 1 mile each way). It’s also impacted me in many ways I can’t quite describe: I feel more enthusiastic about things and I´m way more confident than before.
    Thank you Craig for putting this challenge up. It´s helped me get closer to my goals and I am certain it’s started a life-changing determination. It’s as if it had awakened a desire in me to compete with myself: old-me vs. new-me. Sounds silly, but that’s how it feels like for me. And the best thing is that new-me is ahead by a lot. The road ahead will be filled with lots of small victories that I will celebrate as if each of them were my biggest one, because each leads me to the next.
    Before I sign off, I want to share the story of Noah Galloway. If you’re looking for inspiration, this man is someone worth looking up to. http://mashable.com/2012/12/19/noah-galloway-social-media/. I´ve already liked his facebook page and sent him a comment.

  • The idea of punishing a still reccurring bad habit seems to be very effective indeed, but I also guess that “making charity” could also account for a reason of self-pride and scored as a good deed in itself, so there is a big moral gain for the undertaker of it. It sounds more of a self-rewarding act in the end- for the ones who ever felt the fresh and revigorating self-esteem and contentment after achieving what is currently called a selfless and generous act for someone in need=charity. I am the one who felt it for many a time in my life, and it was really great. Afterward, when I myself got in a needy position and was so much deluded to see only indifference around if not haughty bearings, I never regretted my previous generous doing. Just said to myself that there may be people in the world who may praise and return a good deed. As for rewarding a good habit, not necessarily punishing a bad one{which may work as well for the humans, not for the maniacs….., who may turn it into a thumb rule of life and only would find reasons for punishing, never for rewarding….,I still think about a rewarding way to stop me from smoking . I guess the time is not yet here for it, but I mused about putting aside every 11 rons I spend on cigarettes on a daily basis. The punishment{of forcing me to quit a long relished pleasure} would turn into a beneficial whopping 400 rons in a month{I would also complete and round the sum as a bonus}. But, as I like to be realistic about my own possibilities, I do not bet for it right now, but think of it as a much beneficial deal for the future. The financial crisis and the sky-high prices of cigarettes “permitting”{in fact recommending it}.I make no pledge or merely promise. Just speaking ways of getting rid of bad habits.

  • Jimmy

    I am going to start getting up earlier each day (at least by 6AM). I have always been the person that rushes and does things at the “Last Minute”. I know that if I get up earlier that I can fit a few more “productive” hours into my schedule that will allow me to prepare myself mentally and physically for the day to come, as well as affording myself the extra time I need to devote to getting my businesses off the ground.

  • Rasik

    Thanks for the motivating article. ,
    Silence , solitude, study and journal entries, first, before any other activity ,a habit I have always wanted to create so the the bad habit I wish to stop is jumping into other activities prior to implementing these. For each day that I skip/ or do not prioritize this activity i will give sacrifice 1 meal and give the meal $ equivalent to The African Academy Fund

  • Frances Bailey.

    I have pledged to give $5 to Horse Rescue for each day I smoke a cigarette. I have a habit of only smoking in certain situations and places, maybe 3 times a week. So I now want to stop this ridiculous habit, which is not addiction but just something I have gotten used to doing. Will replace it with another activity.

  • thank you Craig you have really inspired me with your reading I have almost lost everything because I would go to a party then go on for the whole week drinking and not going to work..I would dissapoint my family and friends and I earned it,they regarded me as nothing, I suppose the though of my childhood when I was raped by a family member makes me drink, but after reading your articles I found that I have to forgive him in order to move on…and drinking did not solve it actually made it worse because financially and emotionally I was hurt. after reading your articles and practising I wont say I have completely stopped drinking but there is a great diffrence in my life, I try not drink, but that fear keeps coming back to me then I read your articles and feel that there is so much in this world to achieve….and I did I got my learners…bought a car…learning to drive ….saved money and sent my daughter to studies…my husband and children are so proud of me…to tell you the truth even this social drinking does not work for me because even when I have a glass of champaine I cannot stop it goes on for a whole week ,that evil though comes, if you do not mind please send me more articles on this because I dont want to even partake in social drinkig ….you are GOD sent.and my inspiration..keep it up…. regards Natalie

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thank you, Natalie, stay strong!

  • As I read what you wrote about your cursing habit, I too realized a few years ago that I didn’t need to use curse words in order to express myself. Just the other day one of my students made an inappropriate remark and I found myself telling him “you don’t need to need to curse to get your point across”. Today, I am happy to say I’m “curse free” and I don’t miss it those extra adjectives! A girlfriend of mine who also tried breaking the same habit used phrase swapping…here’s one that I think is creative, instead of her saying shut the “F” up, she says, “shut the front door” …lol. Also, 6 months ago I had a nasty nail-biting habit and constantly hide my hands because I was too embarrassed, but not anymore…now I love to show my hands every chance I get…I got nails!

    My 6 week commitment that I would now like to make is to finally stop turning to food in order to comfort myself. I know it is an emotional reaction which causes to turn to food when I’m feeling down on myself or in a rut. Although, I have a young daughter still living at home, I often feel alone which I’m almost certain has made food become my best friend especially when I feel no one else is there. But, now I realize that what I’m feeling does not have to control me, and that I can reach out to others instead of reaching for food. Starting today 2/10/13 I’m ready to commit my life to change and break free from those habits that are not healthy, and start reaching out only those things that add true fulfillment to my life.

  • I’m trying to rid me of going to bed too late. It’s a bad habit, that distorts not only my life but also that of my partner. How to change it – that is the question!
    I’m busy studying the ETR Transformation kit, which looks promising. I’m updating on my progress daily.

  • Sister Catherine Yaskiw

    hi, only received this article march 18, 2013 , am interested in doing the kick bad habit thing. my bad habit and one i indeed do want to rid myself of is my nibbling other times munching frenzies… so far i recognize them as merely instant emotional satisfaction… please help me to get rid of the habit that seems to plaque me.

  • Arvind Mukherjee

    I want to stop my bad habit of speaking negatives every day. I want to stop it all together, rephrasing the sentence to make it look like positive.

  • Linda

    The habit of sabotage on myself and anything I do.

  • Angelina Hansen


  • redha

    Yes .everday in everyway i am getting better…tasks completion like a champion..tell me how, tell me more..

  • Kathy Gunn

    This is a fine page and plan. I would update it and have the contest be a permanent precursor to the TT Transformation Contest.

  • Tiksie

    i always expect negative thins in future and this made me frustrated and most of the time sick. please, tell me how can i change this habit.?

  • Steve

    I have got into a really bad habit of eating a lot of processed and packaged food. I have recently moved to thailand and the town I am living in has no english menus in any of the restaurants so the only time I know what I am getting is when I go into 7-11 and buy junk food. While I’m slowly learning thai, reading is taking a long time so I am taking the easy way out. From today I will not eat any packaged food and eat only from the local markets, stalls and restaurants. For every item I buy of junk food I will pledge 250 baht (£5) to cancer research UK.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Stay strong Steve, you can do it. Get to local markets!

  • Fer

    My bad habit very hard to drop is spending night time on internet surfing becoming drowsy at day time and wasting my best hours that I know are the early morning ones.

  • Maureen

    I’m going to stop any defensive comments if someone points out something they think I could improve upon in my behavior. Never mind if they do the same thing! It’s about me not being defensive, but being able to look at my own behavior with an objective eye, and not escalate a situation.

  • Kristine

    I have a habit of talking a bit too roughly to other people when I’m frustrated or tired. My goal is to use a softer voice, no matter the situation.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Kristine, thanks for being honest, I can be like that too. I will join you on this one.

  • Michelle H

    My bad habit is that I stay up too late at night..that means I wake up late and Miss my early morning window. This is really my magic time I’m wasting. So I’m committing to breaking this bad habit and being in bed by 9.30

  • Gloria

    I had the bad habit of starting diets, exercise plans,only to get distracted and go to the next new thing, but now I am part of the 100 day challenge and the Turbulence Training and Running 4-5 days a week, I dropped all the other diets plans and unsubscribed to a lot of junk mail. Since I started the 100 day challenge,with Gary Ryan Blair, I dropped 6 pounds and completed a lot of “stuff” I had been procrastinating. We are on day 39 now! Very Exciting. Now I have 6 WEEKS to stop the bad habit of drinking too much wine. I always Look Forward to Early to Rise. Thank You Craig.

  • Vivian Liu

    The Bad Habits I Plan to Drop
    – Go to sleep whenever I want -> Go to sleep at the best fixed time possible each day.
    – Wake up whenever – > Wake up at a fixed time every day.
    – Procrastinate in between my morning routine – > Complete my morning routine after rising without any interruption.

  • Beadie

    I want to stop my bad habit of eating salty, crunchy junk foods when I am in emotional distress.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      You can do it Beadie!

  • Joy

    My habit is to leave mail on my desk either unopened or sometimes opened but not dealt with (by taking appropriate and timely action, filing or discarding). The mail piles up, creating paper clutter on my desk where I do important work, and sometimes I miss taking important action relating to a piece of mail or I am late in taking the action. My new habit will be to open all the mail as a daily ritual and take one of the following actions: (1) discard in the trash, recycle bin or shredder, (2) take immediate appropriate action in response and then file or discard, or (3) put in a tray (which I will buy today) for follow-up action. Every Friday morning, I will take appropriate action relating to every piece of mail in the tray.

  • Shankar

    My bad habit is procrastination. After reading and following the principles in THINK AND GROW RICH, and achieving my goals, I now suffer from this bad habit. To day is Day 3 of the 21 day cycle for overcoming this habit.

  • Gary Wilson

    Ok, mine is to stop moaning & swearing (the only time I swear is when I moan) about things going wrong / not working. I have transformed my life thanks to the likes of Craig, Bob Burg, Robert Ringer and Mark Ford of course (Ready Aim Fire has transformed my business) but I still catch myself moaning and swearing when things don’t work, such as the circle of doom on my Iphone signal! So I am going to put a stop to it, things go wrong, accept and move on. I am positive in every other way, now this is the final frontier.No moaning = no swearing- Fantastic!

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Awesome Gary!

  • Keith Denigan

    I plan to give up Energy drinks. I drink at least two a day and like the taste.
    I never had caffine until I started drinking those a few years ago. Time to say goodbye to them.

  • Glen

    The bad habit I will eliminate is, also, cursing. I cannot allow myself to continue to use vulgar language.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Well done Glen!

  • Xavier

    The 2 bad habits I plan to drop are: not sharing my business with at least one new person a day, and not engaging in my morning ritual at 3:55am every morning! Let’s get it done! Anyone feel free to hold me accountable!

  • Sheri

    The bad habit I will eliminate is self-limiting thoughts. They’ve been around way too long.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Sheri, yes! You can do it.

  • Butch

    Quit abusing alcohol like I do. I will never have over two servings in one day.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Stay strong, Butch.

  • Mike Storm

    Thanks Craig for your daily dose of morning guidance! I am going with your two bad habits also. I figure that I can get used to drier lips for a week or so and then gradually adapt as my diet is full of healthy oils and fats. The other is something that I have wanted to drop for at least a year, and that is cursing/swearing, or as you call it “cussing” ha ha. That will be tough when I’m out with the boys – but if I can avoid swearing in front of my parents (at the age of 34) still and not swear in front of certain friends and business associates, then let’s just get rid of that filthy habit. Thanks!

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Happy to help, Mike!

  • Zachary T Croxen

    Thank you Craig for all your posts and essays. I have the habit of procrastination especially around my business. I commit to ending it. My penalty will be only $5 for each time I can identify a time I procrastinate. Iwork with my wife and have asked her to hold me accountable.

    Thanks again, Zachary

  • alex_mp

    I am giving up hitting the snooze button, so I don’t waste my Magic Time. I will pledge to give $10 to a mystery charity each time I hit snooze. Thanks for the inspiration to do this, Craig.

    • Susan

      Great idea. i’ve been pondering which habit to attend to first…and this is logically first…so. thanks!

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Happy to help!

  • Karen

    I’m giving up turning the television on the first thing in the morning. I get sucked in to watching the news or trying to catch up on my DVR and my whole day gets off track before it has even started.

  • Debra Tibbitts

    I tend to eat while talking on the phone if I’m at home (my form of mindless eating) so instead I will drink water. I will go to bed by 10pm. I will place $5 in a donation jar for each infraction. The money will go to Angel Tree.

  • Holliewog

    My bad habit – I don’t call or talk to people I need to, I will put it off until I am backed into corner and have to. So I will call and not put it off. punishment will one less cup of coffee each time I put off calling. That would be worse than any money fine for me. Thanks for the,contest

  • Katie Berryhill

    My bad habit is procrastinating on grading my students’ assignments all week (I teach for an online university), which leaves me with no time to work on my PhD dissertation (because I don’t do my own studying when I know I “should” be doing work for my students. I just set up a StickK contract that will force me to finish the weekly assignment grading by the time I go to sleep on Tuesdays or $50 per week will go to an “anti-charity”. I’m using my teenage son as “referee” because I think he’ll get some benefit out of seeing me have to work hard to put first things first.

  • Susan

    It’s such a good idea I’m joining alex mp in stopping hitting the snooze button. I figure since it is the first thing I hear, it’s the perfect moment to begin to make it a good day. Thanks Alex for the idea and thanks Craig for the timely inspiration.

  • Mariann

    The bad habits I’m going to change – 1) Swearing/cursing alone, in front of my parents, friends or anybody. 2) Eating snacks (apples are allowed) between meals. I will put 1€ to my donation jar every time I do one of these rhings(I’m in elementary school and still very young so $10 is a lot to me).

    • Craig Ballantyne

      You rock!

  • Lisa C

    My bad habit is going to bed way too late and still getting up very early. My plan is to go to bed early every night so that I can be more restful and not so tired the next day. I will put $5 in a jar every night I stay up past 11pm and I will donate the money. I am hoping that I can get myself on a schedule so that I can be more productive and not so tired every day.

  • Joanne

    You can call me “Lisa C Junior”! I too want to break a bad habit of going to bed late. I will also put $5 in a jar every night I say up past 11 pm. Thanks for the motivation! I have other bad habits I want to break (and good habits I want to instill) so I will be looking to do this exercise again.

  • Maria

    Checking facebook first thing in the morning. I want to start a daily ritual that I have been procrastinating on. I also have the bad habit of cluttering my work environment and procrastinating on important things I have to do.

  • Marianne

    I have the bad habit of wasting time on the internet, surfing useless sites just out of curiosity. I do this especially in the evening. I will allow myself a half hour for useful internet activities and then commit to turning off my computer and spending my time in the evening on more productive activities like reading and building relationships. Because I don’t have a lot of money, I will donate my time corresponding to the amount of minutes I waste online.

  • Sorina

    Well this is something I really need. My bad habit that I want to drop is always falling back into the sugar curve which leads to eating without control and ruining my healthy diet. With this my concentration goes, motivation goes, my good mindset and pretty much everything I’m doing right and I start to become lazy and unproductive and very very unhappy. It just demotivates me so bad when I’m not able to control myself from this.

    So I want to break the bad habit of uncontrollable eating and sugar ‘diving’. Every time I still do this I commit to putting 1 £ into the jar everyday I eat without control other than my 3 meals+1 snack(I’m on a student budget)

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Stay strong Sorina, you can do it. Fight that sugar!

  • cdm

    There are so many bad habits I need to get rid of, but one bothers me most because it is physically visible. When I am nervous or tired I tend to pull at my eyebrows. I know it is stress that causes me to do this. My plan is to exercise and eat heathier and drink more water to help ease the stress and to wear a rubber band bracelet to remind myself to keep my hands away from my brows!

  • Lenche

    I commit to change these bad habits:
    stop yelling to my kids, stop lifting my eyebrows when I’m dissatisfied
    with something that my kids have done and stop putting my hair in my mouth.
    I’ll put 50 denars (it’s around $1) in my jar whenever I make a mistake because I earn $400 (20000 denars) a month and if I put $10, very soon I won’t have anything 🙂

  • Lisa M. Vasquez

    I need to stop my coffee habit…especially the Starbucks coffee. I have the coffee, then I want bread and cheese to go with it. Then it leads to worst food choices later in the day. A domino effect.

  • Mita

    I will stop eating white sugar. I have a few bad habits, but I will not say that because you can catch me in a lie. hahaha

  • Cindy

    Craig I have always had great admiration for you but learning that you “cussed” regularly shocked me as I really “hate” hearing those words and unfortunately I think less of, and have no respect for people that use them as common language. As you have now realised, it is just sooooo unnecessary. I also grew up helping my dad under the hood of his car and heard the same exploitative s however, it had the opposite effect on me and I choose to never use them, or at least on the very, very, very rare occasion when I am extremely mad. I tend to use words like ” shoot” and “sugar” instead. I wanted to give you my congratulations on kicking such a bad and unlike able ” habit” as you have proven, that is all it really is. I am happy to be able to respect you again, although it was never lost as I was unaware of this about you until now, and wanted to say that you have nothing to ‘prove’ to anyone as you have so much value and worth that you show everyday by how you live your life and by that which you so willing give to help others. I say this as I feel people that swear are trying to seem bigger than they feel inside and this is a way ‘they’ think does that. If they only knew. Anyway I am proud of you and wanted you to know that to people like me, it means a lot not having to hear that language. Hopefully this can be the start of a new trend and we can ” up” the standards we set in our society. Thank you for your efforts and honesty.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thank you Cindy!!!

  • An excellent article, although I do not share the artificial incentives for changing a habit. Habits should be built around rational priorities, goals, and values. Otherwise there is no way to define habits as “good” or “bad.”

  • Lynn Alison

    I plan to stop eating before bed, which is usually a response to anything but being hungry and this poor habit sabotages my healthy eating and training during the day. I once read that we are creatures of habit, so that a bad habit should be replaced by a good habit. my new good habit will be to go to bed instead! and read a bit in bed for calming down and enrichment.

  • rosa lavendera

    I grew up in the church and no one in my family used curse words to express themselves. My mother was a lady of the old school. She would not have permitted it anyway. I did not curse, nor did I want to, ever, until I reached a time in my life that (life) presented problems I was (am) ill-equipped to handle. Indeed, my cursing is something I am mortally ashamed of but I continue to do it and I will probably continue to do it. Why? Because there are times when it seems to be the one way to express my frustration and rage at life’s little curve balls. Mind you, I am also mortally offended when anyone else swears, talks dirty in my presence. That said, my disgusting language is never in public, you could say I am a closet-cusser.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Stay strong Rosa!

  • katie o’dwyer

    Getting to bed sooner so that I can get more sleep. I have been getting up Between 5:45 and 6:30, however, my body is requiring more sleep. So I need to:
    1. Get my children in bed sooner. We recently started a new routine, so goal is to stick with it!
    2. By me getting them to bed earlier, I will be able to get to bed earlier. Goal in bed by 9:15 and then I can still read without staying up past my bedtime.
    Love these challenges!! Thanks

    • Craig Ballantyne

      You rock Katie!

  • Jordi Hemsing

    The habits that I commit to giving up are eating junk food and drinking coffee. I will put $10 in a jar for each slip up.

  • Ali

    I will break the cycle of eating heavy after 5pm and being too lethargic to take advantage of the evening hours, too carb loaded to sleep, too distracted plan my next day or get good rest so I can be early to rise.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Yes, Ali, well done!

  • Yvette Skinner

    I will be in bed, lights out by 10pm each night.

  • Karen

    my two favorite computer games, spider solitaire and hearts… they absorb so much time… so I’ve deleted them from both places

  • Marta, in Guatemala

    I will stop letting my house get cluttered. I have reminders on my agenda and I see the mess EVERY DAY, but something in my head always blocks me. This is a good opportunity to beat that.

  • Monica

    I disagree about quittting cigarettes and booze. Both totally doable. I quit smoking after considerable struggle, by simply changing my mind. I declared myself a non smoker. I’ve never smoked again and have had no cravings or withdrawl.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Well done!

  • Lynne

    I WILL NOT eat even ONE protein bar at night (or any other time during the day!) if I get hungry.

    I WILL choose instead a tablespoon or two of cottage cheese, a few raw almonds, or a few bites of my vegetarian meat. DONE!

  • Benjamin Hu

    I plan to finish everything off my plate every meal, no excuses. I hate finding leftovers in the fridge every time.

    I plan to cut my time on the internet down to four hours a day. I spend too much time there procrastinating and not enough time doing work.

  • helen


  • Tu

    I will give up snoozing and get up every morning at the time I planned. Especially on weekends when I need to go to the gym or run errands. This bad habit leads to arriving late to work and other events. Positive outcome: Always be on time & will never skip the gym again.. for sleep. =)

  • Kathy Gunn

    To compete in the 6-week “Bad Habit Transformation Contest”. Starting in the morning I will stop skipping breakfast and have my Turbulence Training 2.0 workout done before I go online to do anything other than to collect that days workout. I will also drink 1/2 the number of my weight in oz. of water completely spreading that process out over the entire day and evening. This is half an hour of focused body and mind daily. I can do this.

  • Brandi Wilder

    Well in the last 2 years I have already given up 2 of the worst habits that are legal that is! First was heavy drinking then I quit smoking, it has been almost a year sense I quit smoking. I still have a beer now and again but it is very rare. So to you all out there what ever bad habit you are getting rid of YOU CAN DO IT!!

  • Kathy Gunn

    I do not understand why it is important to put all of that extra stuff into smoothies. Protein powder and stuff. I use frozen banana frozen pineapple and almond breeze unsweetened I know that the almond milk is 30 cal a cup the fruit is free of calories I think. Those smoothies in the recipes are high 300 to over 400 calories each. I can’t follow that stuff. every thing added after the fruit is excess. I was going to change my recipe to get a healthier smoothie but I like what I have. It fills me up and keeps me going. I will work on getting my protein out of meat, fish, poultry and eggs. I will bring up my protein levels.

  • Barbara

    To compete in the 6-week “Bad Habit Transformation Contest”. Starting in the morning I will stop first thing in the morning reading my email and keeping up with my online discussions. I will replace my night walk, that often gets put off because I am too tired, with a day walk in place of the time I had spent reading email etc. Third, I will make the effort to accept that practicing the piano is not a treat only done after all work tasks are complete but rather, an important goal task that I will schedule before I start my work tasks.

  • Ann

    Craig, you’ve inspired me to give up my salty mouth! I certainly am very careful when and with whom I sound more like a sailor (no offense to my sailing friends) than the person I am striving to be. I will find a way to be more creative in my speech when I am particularly passionate or perturbed and I have a dear friend (also a sailor in times of distress) who will be happy to take my 10 bucks-a-slip-up for a cause that we both care about.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Stay strong Ann!

  • jonicbri

    Staying up late! That is the habit that I am going to break. I usually either watch some mindless tv or wander Facebook or Internet. It’s not productive and certainly not worth the lost hours of sleep that are essential to setting the tone for the next day’s productivity. I open my studio at 500 am every weekday and need to have at least 7 hours of sleep to be at my best for myself and my clients. Thank you for setting this challenge!

  • Christina

    I have bitten my nails for as long as I can remember. I hate it. It makes me look like I am an insane person, gnawing on my fingers. I hate my stubby chewed up nails. I want to stop. I will stop. I want to have a baby in 2014 and don’t want to pass this on by example.

  • Carrie Simoneit Colombo

    I have a bad habit of eating after dinner. After reviewing my day I realize that this is my time to relax and spend a little time by myself. It is also the time that I eat snacks, ice-cream and junk food. I need to replace this bad habit with something that is still for me, but doesn’t involve food. I am going to stop eating as soon as dinner is over (and maybe that might include dessert too on special nights) and replace that with reading alone, watching a show with the kids. So long to late nights of me and popcorn, ice-cream, chocolate and all the other fitness sabotaging snacks that take over at night.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      To your success Carrie!

  • ast6372

    My “Bad Habit Transformation Contest” goal is to :
    1) Go to bed by 10.30pm, lights out by 11pm & up by 6am everyday
    2) Meditate for 15mins everyday

    3) Read for 30mins everyday
    4) Exercise in the morning, instead of late night
    I will put $10 in a jar for each slip-up.

    • Craig Ballantyne


  • Rai

    I plan to stop eating unhealthy snacks at work. There is always some type of party going on or coworkers bringing in fatty snacks and I have gained 26 pounds in 2-1/2 years by indulging in these. I can’t fit any of my clothes and it’s time to change this around and I know I can do it. I will begin by saying “no thanks” and when hungry choose healthy options.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Stay strong Rai!

  • Gillian Holding

    Ok. Stopping biting my nails! A classic! But also stopping eating standing up.

  • oliver

    my plan is to start work in my home office eery week day at 7:00 am and to complete at least 39 Hrs of productive work per week

  • 60kck

    I will stop picking my nose.Yes it is gross but it is a habit from childhood 60 years long. I have tried to break many times unsuccessfully.
    I will donate $ 1 to a charity. For every infraction. I will focus on not contaminating my body with toxins.

  • Chrisanthia

    The bad habits I plan to stop are three things I love that have turned into habits gone wild. These are sleep, coffee, and the internet. First I have to stop hitting my snooze button 5 times before finally getting out of bed. Then the only thing that finally gets me up (besides possibly being late for work) is the thought of my first sip of morning coffee (which leads to at least 3 cups) while surfing the net. I so love this morning habit that I will arrive to work a few minutes late before skipping it. On my days off I will spend a minimum of one hour doing this. I really want to…I really must change this habit into a more productive habit and don’t like to be controlled by such things so my plan is as follows:
    >hit snooze only one time
    >my first drink of the day will be water and/or warm lemon water
    >followed by my morning stretches, meditation, reading something inspirational and at least 15 minutes of writing and planning my day.
    >work on my studies and/or business for one hour when not working
    after this I can then take a break and surf a bit with some green or herbal tea.

    My punishment for not doing this is already built in and that is that I will not accomplish any of my goals and will get nowhere if I keep these bad habits up.

    Namaste and best wishes to everyone else on the challenge.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      best wishes, keep pushing!

  • Lizzie

    I want to stop skipping meals (particularly breakfast). I have a bad habit of justifying skipping meals because I have so many things to do, that I just jump straight into working first thing in the morning and almost always skip breakfast, and sometimes I work through lunch as well and don’t eat my first meal of the day until 4:00 pm! Its not good at all. I want to stop this.

  • Kathleen

    Eating a large and unhealthy lunch from a neighboring Indian takeout “joint” has become a bad habit for me – a reward to help combat workday stress. This habit is inhibiting my progress with my fitness regime, and I want to eliminate it and replace it with the good habit of packing and eating a healthy, well-balanced lunch. This will not only help reduce my waist-line, it will also help increase my bank account – a win-win all around!

  • kelly

    I asked my partner for my bad habits and after reeling off LOADS 😉 lol she said my worst is looking at my stomach in the mirror and picking apart how my abs look. It made me think that this isn’t necessary as many times im doing it – 3 + times a day. Its sooooooo draining and such a waste of time.
    The plan which I WILL complete – I will cut down and get to the point where I will take a picture once a week.
    Let the challenge begin.

  • Vemapris

    My number one bad habit is biting my nails! You’d think I’d be over that in my 30s…well might as well get on it now!

  • anita

    I plan to stop the “clean plate habit”. Growing up during the Depression, my mother insisted we finish eating everything on our plate “because the children in Europe were starving”. Starting with the next meal, I will leave food on my plate and not feel I am being wasteful. This will help me reduce my weight and improve my health.

  • Vance Akins

    overeating, self-sabatoge, negative gossip, & neglectied relationships – replaced with paleo/primal eating, disciplined fitness, gratitude, & practiced meditations/engaged friendships. Seems short and sweet, but these are foundational and generational failures in my family.

  • Theresa

    I also tend to cuss when I am emphasizing a point, but not in certain company. This is the habit I am changing, starting right now. Congratulations on overcoming your habit!

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thank you, keep on pushing!

  • FACE

    Okay, folks…

    First off, best wishes for success to everyone engaged in the challenge!

    I’ve decided to pursue changing three habits, which I’ve had only marginal success at attempting to deal with thusfar…

    1) A variety of exercises every morning, 20-30 minutes, in order to shed 20 lbs by the end of the year (and also to facilitate being able to do a few chinups/pullups, after recovering from a rotator cuff injury)

    2) Making sure that I get at LEAST 6 hours of sleep nightly (other than occasional naps, I cannot remember the last time that I’ve had 6 solid hours of sleep!)

    3) And lastly, trying to finally let go of the remaining toxic feelings of an 8 year relationship, which ended about half a year ago; in particular, to no longer focus on what I allowed myself to tolerate (in the name of love)…but to send forgiveness to the universe – and to promise myself that if I ever see her again, the absolute worst I’ll allow myself to do verbally will be to remind her that she was responsible for the choices she made…and that there really is no reason to ever expect any interest or concern from me again.

  • Deborah Pelletier

    Interesting timing of this post. I’ve been appointed the site coordinator for the United Way at my workplace. So, I’m trying to think of ways to fund raise. Aside from the rounds of Golf I have to auction off I thought of a swear jar! Although it makes me cringe when others swear I know for a fact I will be a major contributor to that jar! lol!

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Great work!

  • NitaB

    Just saw this contest. I try to drastically limit my computer time on the weekends. (and semi-drastically during the week) Learned that from ETR!
    For the next 6 weeks I will STICK to my workout instead of just talking about it. I will do at least 50 push ups (whatever level I am able at the time) and 15 pull ups (with the strap until I don’t need it.) every other day. I will do 50 lunges, and 50 squats (or burpees) every other day as well. I will do 3 plank sessions (to include side planks) I will also do some form of stretching routine Every day (yoga or such). And 50 reps of some form of Ab builders. I tend to not stick to those because I get bored. But if I mix them up…. maybe I’ll get em done. I mean… I WILL get them done!
    I’m also trying to learn to meditate. No promises there, but I am going to keep trying until I feel I’m There. I might already have it mastered for all I know (doubtful) but I don’t FEEL that I have, so therefore… I haven’t. Right?

    • Craig Ballantyne

      You rock!

  • alex_mp

    How’s it going so far Susan? I am on day 3 with no snooze… we’ll see how it’s going by the end of the week 🙂

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Nice work!

  • Kyla Barton

    so far 2 nights down with one infraction. Yes, I did give into my ‘disordered’ habit of overflowing my protein shake with water (to fill about 3 protein shaker cups). This is harder than I though! Thats $5 set aside to the ASPCA foundation in honor of Bally the dog. Im not giving up though!

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thanks Kyla! (from Bally!)

  • Kathy Gunn

    The list just keeps getting longer. I am not promising anything that I do not believe that I can not produce. I will consume the recommended water intake, I am no longer practicing Self Sabotage, I am working out before I use the internet each day. I have taken wheat and milk out of my diet and feel really better without the milk. I feel very happy in my chest. I feel proud of myself for enjoying this. It is good to feel good about myself.

  • Tana Lane

    I pledge to quit raising my voice at the kids. I know it doesn’t work but I just keep doing it. For every infraction – I owe a dollar to the “jar”

  • Barbara

    wow the hardest thing for me is of all things to practice the piano before I start my workday or get on the computer – the piano had always since childhood been the candy that if I do my choirs well I get to play or as a stick that if I do not do what is expected well enough than no piano. I felt like a kid not wanting to be wayward as if sneaking a no no…I wonder if I do this with all my goals and why I complain about being stuck…hmmm

  • Stormy

    I’m going to take the stairs instead of the elevator. It’s 72 steps from the ground floor to the 4th floor where my office is. I can handle those, even with backpacks, computers, lunches, etc.

  • Rodrigo

    I’ll stop drinking beer every day. I’ll stop smoking marijuana and cigarettes.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Yes, you can’t succeed on that lifestyle. Stay strong!

  • Ereni

    I will stop saying “i’m too old” for this or that

    • Craig Ballantyne


  • I will not play those useless internet games on Facebook – like the stupid Bubble Witch Saga and Candy Crush Saga – or limit the playing time on them to later in the evening.
    Also, I will not watch Korean Dramas during the day.

    Instead, I will treat my businesses and investment activities like a 9-5 job, and during those “working” hours, I will be working rather than interrupting it with “play breaks.”

  • Ben

    What a great idea!!
    I will also start mine with the bad words that make me feel tough, and sound stupid!
    Meant to be positive, and not critical, one for you: Misspellings being missed by your spell-check. I’ve seen a couple today: “there” instead of “their”, and “you’re” instead of “your.”

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thanks for catching that! – Craig

  • Kelly

    Completed my challenge. I no longer obsess looking at my stomach and thinking it looks horrible. I track my progress with pictures now every other week or so. It was such a tie feeling that I needed to look everyday, a few times a day. Thanks for the challenge. I will continue

    • Craig Ballantyne

      great to hear!

  • Seth

    I will stop eating late at night, and I will stop eating foods that serve no purpose other than to make me want to keep eating.

  • alex_mp

    I DID IT!! Thanks for the challenge. I did not hit snooze once during the challenge… my money stays with me and I’m up 10 minutes earlier each day.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Great to hear!

  • Nina Malinda Atan

    i have many times , now and again tell myself to stop lying to my husband. yet i do it so many times a year….at least once a week. But i find myself doing it again and again ,out of fear. Lying is wrong, there’s no excuse. …

  • noddy

    pray-at least 30mins morning and night
    sleep-at least 6hrs nightly (10pm-4am)
    eat-breakfast, lunch and dinner(incorporate water)
    time-early to work(6am-2pm), early to church(9am-1pm), early/on-time for all engagements.
    Starts TONIGHT, PLATOS in 3days…..3wks, 6wks,…..and in 3 months I possess a NEW DOUBLE LIFE!!!
    Pay-off-great confidence, boldness and powerful/valuable talk by the special help of the Holy Spirit. LOOKING FORWARD TO IT – THANKS EVERYONE FOR SHARING. WISH YOU ALL THE VERY BEST!

  • anonymous in need of help

    is this contest still going on?? I have 3 bad habits that control my life and despite my best efforts they always go back. I need incentive I need this contest or another just for me please. Alot to ask and sounds desperate maybe even self absorbed to think you would create one for me.. but if I explained my reasons..and the way its slowly ruined my life little by little and then all at once.. you would understand why.. -Anonymous person who has alot to live for and cannot stop the cycle

    • ttcert

      The contest is over, but keep on pushing on. Make the changes. Please, keep on pushing on.

      • Thank you ttcert! Although I cannot send you a personal thank you card, I appreciate you. Even though the contest is over, and maybe you are getting paid to do this, your genuine enthusiasm shines through. These are not just rote words I hear and feel from you. You make a difference with your encouragement. Thank you ttcert!

    • Motivated

      I’m with you. And I am going to do this anyway. And you can, too. My own charity will be a program for the handicapped in my church. My big issue is smoking. I will be 60 in December and have had this nasty habit since I was 16. I am tired of the smell & feeling like others hate to get close because I smell like cigarette smoke. The money I spend on this dastardly habit could definitely be put to better use. When I am at meetings or church functions, I don’t crave them, even if it is several hours or even days. There are only a handful of people I will light up in front of. If I can go for days without them, I can go for life. But, trying to change more than one thing at a time is not the wisest way to do things, as it leads to feelings of overwhelm and deprivation. Pick one and when you have that under control, go for the next one. That’s my plan. All the best to you in your endeavors. You will be in my prayers.

      • ttcert

        Stay strong. You must do this for your health!

  • scotirish

    I found your particular habit interesting because I had it bad, cussing. Of course I was in an environment where cussing was the norm. I left prison behind for the last time 36 years ago after spending about 17 1/2 years imprisoned in about a dozen penitentiaries across America. I guess you could say I broke that habit. A Prison school teacher told me God could change my life, she was right and He changed her life as well. She has been my wife for 34 years. I was playing cards with some fella’s and thought this one guy was keeping score, when he stopped abruptly and said “Thomson, if you ever stop cussing you are going to have to learn to talk all over again. Out of 300 words about 15 aren’t cuss words. When God changed my life he changed that first. As I near 70 and after many attempts, and in fact even with success on occasions, I have stopped smoking. Today is Day 33 value $396 and there is my incentive.;

    • ttcert

      Really appreciate the feedback, congrats on your changed life.

      • doramin

        Ever since my long-ago Navy years I think in cuss-words. Even now, I have to edit everything that comes out of my mouth.

  • Eco

    I have the bad habit of going to bed very late read, and type on the computer; and then as it is so late I wake up often and wake to get up in the typical morning hours. I am therefore tired and do not have a great day or put in the best hours with family. Just thinking how much I could accomplish by getting to bed earlier and to not be tired the next day moves me to break this habit.

    • ttcert

      Yes, stay strong and disciplined!

  • Eco

    Thanks I named myself Eco as I see the echo in many of the family. Some seem to make up the lost hours and some don’t and seem as fine. Extra stress and being computer bugs don’t help. We have a habit of wanting to learn much and now need to apply what we’ve learned. So I can now discipline with these also. Thanks.

    • ttcert

      Stay strong!

  • Scott Mizenko

    I am going to break the habit of eating processed sugar filled foods. I’ve successfully used the Seinfeld Strategy and have completed 38 days straight of the P90X3 program.

  • Mary in Michigan

    I plan on stopping myself before interrupting others in conversations. People need to be able to complete their thoughts before I butt in!

    • Nice, mary!

    • doramin

      That’s a big, BIG one with some people (including myself). People simply don’t want to converse with someone who keeps interrupting them while they’re talking. Remember all that stuff about being a “good listener”.

  • Proud Legacy Alliance

    I find myself spending too much time on the internet (Facebook & email links), and too much time watching television.I plan on limiting my internet time to 7 hours/week and my TV time to 15 hours/week (mostly sporting events). In any week that I exceed these limits I will forego all desserts for the following week. (I LOVE desserts.)

    • Great changes, stay strong!

  • lcart

    I need to stop binge eating late at night. It sabotages my workout efforts and results. It’s also causing me to gain weight. I feel awful with myself the next day. Emotionally and motivation wise It’s a bad choice I keep making. I have chosen to start tonight, for five nights in a row just to set a goal that feels close and attainable. The most I’ve done so far is three nights.
    I need this to work! Thanks for the challenge!

  • Foresteen Forbes

    Awhile ago in one of your newsletters you had said that it was important to go to bed and get up at the same time everyday. Sometimes certain events keep us from getting to bed on time but you said to get up in the morning at the same time anyway as you can always take a nap later. I am not a morning person and I HATE getting up early. However, I must confess that when I do get up early I am more productive. Since I get up for work everyday at 0530 I decided to try doing this also on my time off. I love to sleep in on Sundays which causes me to often miss church. I end up getting nothing accomplished. I am inspired by what you said about this increasing my energy. So my new habit is to wake up at 0530 everyday including weekends and holidays. I started this past weekend.

    • Well done, stay strong!

  • Catherine R

    I pledge to quit swearing, organize Something every day, and commit to daily workouts.