Are You Up for the Challenge?

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Lisa Thal


We are already approaching the end of January. Many set a goal to stop smoking, lose weight, drink more water, start exercising and the list goes on. We all have good intentions to accomplish something new that will improve our lives. In sales, we too make resolutions. They may be to create more income by growing our current business or by generating new accounts. Are you feeling confident about your game plan so far? If not, did you give your strategy enough time to make it an effective habit?

One of the greatest marketing campaigns ever created was the 21-day challenge, so I decided to take a deep dive into how that phrase was created and whether it truly takes just 21 days to make a habit. What I discovered is that Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon in the 1950s, was the one that began noticing a strange pattern among his patients after 21 days. He would perform an operation, like a facelift or nose job, and found that it would take about 21 days before the patient got used to seeing themselves. In theory, the study showed it took about 21 days for you to shift an old behavior pattern to a new one.

Decades later, the “self-help” phenomenon began with Zig Ziglar to Brian Tracy and Tony Robbins. They began marketing the phrase to shift your behaviors by following their recommended program for 21 days. They did a great job convincing people to commit to 21 days to see the results they desire, but the reality is that on average, it takes about 66 days for your behavior to be a new habit or automatic.

In sales, we have the power to choose our destiny and create winning habits, and it all comes down to two choices we make.

  1. Static choice – This includes old habits and beliefs you have, or the past conditioning you created and may not be aware of. You set limits, avoid taking risks and continue down the same old path getting the same results. You feel comfortable and safe.
  2. Dynamic choice – This involves embracing new ways to grow your business, creating new paths and being open to trying new approaches to accomplish your outcomes. You’re fearless versus fearful!

I invite you to take the 21-day challenge with me. I want you to think about one thing you will focus on and commit to doing for 21 days to transform your business. Some thought starters include blocking out your calendar to plan and prospect each day, getting your current clients to spend more, or improving your clients’ creative to better gain the attention of their customers. What you are about to experience is more than practice makes perfect. It’s perfect practice that will make the difference.

Whatever it is that you focus on, you must be willing to commit to it for 21 days. It should be something you will do each day with resilience and persistence. Track your progress and measure your results. You must stay focused on your challenge. Make it your screensaver, leave a reminder in your car or home, and choose a co-worker or manager to hold you accountable. The key is to stay the course for 21 days, then 42 days and then 66 days.

After 66 days, you have officially created a habit that will transform your income and your outcomes!

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