The Joyful Anthology

On New Year’s Resolutions and the 21 Day Theory

When my family and our friends were out to dinner on a pre-New Year’s holiday vacation, I suggested we share our ideas on our New Year resolutions.


It was a beautiful and comfortable space where we were all able to open up in a deeper way. We are pretty close with each other and were able to share our resolutions and feelings surrounding resolutions and how we wished to manifest them.


The resolutions varied from some who wanted to work on time management, to others creating less stress in their lives, to finishing the production of a song, to switching their workout routine to the mornings. Another was to pursue his dream as a musician. Someone else wants to work on mindfulness and being more present, while another wishes to work on not judging others. Some hope to be more responsible and not lose belongings, to wake up earlier, to get better grades in school.


I was feeling inspired by a book I was reading, “The Monk who sold his Ferrari”  by Robin Sharma. In the book, he talks about the power of changing our thoughts, and that the quality of our lives is determined by the quality of our thoughts. The main character of this lovely fable was able to change his life by changing his thoughts. So my resolution was to do my best to work on switching negative thoughts to positive ones.


“The price of greatness is responsibility over each of your thoughts,” Winston Churchill.





After we all shared these wonderful resolutions, I felt excited about taking action. I remembered the author also mentioned the practice of 21 days to create the habit of change. I’ve heard of this idea before and I thought it could be powerful to invite this practice in. It’s believed that you can make or break most habits when consistently practicing a routine for 21 Days. While each habit is as different as the person trying change it, 21 Days continues to be an ideal amount of time to try a totally new experience and implement change.


No one is entirely sure where the 21-day rule originates, but it seems to have been set forth in a book called “Psycho-Cybernetics.” It’s a self-help book first published in the 1970s. The evidence supporting the theory is empirical, or based on experience, not clinical, or based on controlled experiments. However the theory caught on and has been backed up in other forums since then.


“Investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make. It will not only improve your life, it will improve the lives of all those around you.” Robin Sharma


I decided to implement my resolution in a charted section with two columns in my journal for 21 days. Each day I would think of a negative thought that came to mind and how I consciously switched the thought to a positive one. I set forth with the hope that this awareness would eventually create more positive thoughts and less negative ones and thereby creating a positive shift.


I’m feeling excited and inspired by moving into 2017 with my New Years resolution.


Photos in this story by Nihura Monteil

Bring more Joy to your inbox

Subscribe to receive The Joyful Approach updates, event invites, musings, playlists & more.