Thee Four Day Win is the main tool we’re going to be playing with over this series of blog posts about changing a habit, and I’m so excited to introduce it. It’s based on Martha Beck’s book, The Four Day Win: End Your Diet War and Achieve Thinner Peace, and I recommend it highly if you’re interested in weight loss or just love having a lot of background on a particular tool. For our purposes, though, we’re keeping it short and sweet, so you can start using it today.
The basic premise is this – once you have the habit you want to change, you choose one small step that will bring you closer to your goal, practice it for four days, and reward yourself for doing so. Martha’s theory here is that if you do something once, twice, or even three times, it’s something that you’ve tried. Once you hit four times, it’s something that you do. The best way to see this is to just try it out for yourself.
Choosing both small steps (known as turtle steps) and rewards is a bit of an art and rate posts of their own. Here are the basics, though: a turtle step is a step you can EASILY take. For rewards, you want to give yourself a small reward each day that you successfully complete, and a slightly larger reward for completing your whole four day win. I’m going to give you a few examples of how this might work – one from my own life, and a hypothetical one based on one of the goals listed in the comments.
On my journey to being a non-smoker (again), I realized that I was averaging a cigarette every one and a half hours, with some extra ones thrown in there when I was chatting on the phone or trying to avoid doing some task I had set for myself. So, for my first four day win, I decided to limit myself to smoking once every 2 hours, and my reward for this was $10 in a thrift store buying pots for the garden I intend to create on my patio. I did not do daily rewards at first, I saved them all up for my four day win because I really wanted to be able to buy a couple of pots.
A hypothetical example from previous comments… say you want to stop drinking toxic drinks (whatever that might mean to you, I’m going to call them sodas for ease of writing). The first step is to figure out how often you’re drinking them currently, so you have some idea what a turtle step might be. So say you’re drinking two cans of soda a day, and your goal is to be drinking none. A potential turtle step might be pouring out a fourth of one of the cans, and drinking 1.75 cans per day for four days. Rewards are incredibly individual, so I’m just making these up at random. The rewards for each day of drinking 1.75 cans might be spending 10 minutes reading your favorite book, or watching trashy TV. Your four day win might be a new journal or a mini-manicure.
This sounds like nothing, but try it, and you might just be amazed at the results. I would love to hear what you decide to try for your first four day win and what the experience is like for you!