21 Days to Make a Change

I’m told that the received wisdom of the moment is it takes 21 days to make a change, whether learning a new skill or the breaking of an old habit. I went to Italy recently for my fist solo holiday and it was a huge learning experience for me; this was a prelude to a much longer trip that I had been planning, a testing of the waters if you will, and I definitely did feel tested. During the first difficult week my insightful daughter kept me afloat by saying “give it 3 weeks before making up your mind and maybe giving up on the whole idea”.

21 day challenge

She was right, the first week was awful despite me loving the place where I was, the second week was busy; I was on a cookery course, and the third week started to be wonderful so that by the end of that week I was ‘flying’ and so proud of myself. Travelling solo? It’s a breeze! Or so I thought.

I have been on my extended 5 month trip for 3 weeks now and the thing is that I have had to go through the same set of challenges all over again. I have felt lost and alone and weepy and have wanted to run home on many occasions in these last 21 days. The difference is that this time I know that persistence and not dwelling too much on momentary feelings does help.

how to be happy

I have already had a whole lifetime of experiences from chancing upon a fabulous free concert in Grant park in Chicago via standing awed and amazed at the foot of Lincoln at his memorial in Washington, to saving a turtle from being run over on a busy highway in rural Florida and snuggling up on the sofa with a pit-bull called Giselle! Already I have met some amazing, funny, outrageous and influential people and all of this at a time when I was also feeling sad and a long way from home.

how to be happy

I wouldn’t have changed a thing on this journey so far, I have learnt to give myself permission to be sad and to be lonely at times, and whilst this is not a ‘new age guide to a more enlightened me’ I have truly come to realise that in my privileged life I have the fortitude and opportunity to explore new experiences and to survive on my own for 21 days!!

So today I am raising a glass of something fizzy to myself and all those intrepid people who have worked out that if you can keep going at something new for just 3 weeks not only will you have achieved a goal but you just might have had a blast along the way.

Stay Happy

Jo x



  1. Jackie Dale
    11th July 2013 / 2:13 pm

    that’s lovely Jo and very wise words I feel. I think any change is always difficult and you have had to adapt to changes in your life that were not your choice, if a change is thrust upon you it is always more difficult to be accepting of it. It is tempting to rail against it in a “why me” mode but we both know that is counter productive and indeed why not me is probably nearer the mark.

    I will keep your 21 day rule in mind when facing my new challenge which funnily enough is in 3 week cycles! We are strong and I hope intrepid, so: cheers to you my dear and I hope you continue to have a blast even if it takes you 3 weeks to arrive at that point sometimes.

    Jackie x

  2. Gillian hobbs
    18th July 2013 / 10:27 pm

    Very wise words from both of you . Both strong and loved by many . Heres to the next 21 days . Xx

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