30 Days to a Happier Life
By Charlotte Latvala
They say change is good but it sure doesn't feel that way when your world
seems to be spinning out of control. Follow these guiding truths from Ariane de
Bonvoisin, author of the new book The First 30 Days, and that's exactly
how long it'll take you to be able to face life's surprises with confidence,
optimism, and hope.
I'll admit it: I hate change. It's only spring and I already feel uneasy
about my youngest child, my baby girl, starting kindergarten in the fall. I'm
not alone in my misery; change is unsettling, if not terrifying, for most
people I know — whether it's a major upheaval (divorce, new job) or a fairly
minor one (painting the bathroom, switching e-mail programs). And women have it
extra-tough: Research shows we generally take longer than men to adapt to
To the rescue comes Ariane de Bonvoisin, whose new book, The First 30
Days (a companion to her recently launched Website, first30days.com), is
the ultimate manual for any change. That first month is when new habits are
formed, de Bonvoisin explains, and it's the key time for gathering the
confidence and energy to get you through the next weeks and months of
transition. De Bonvoisin herself is all about trying new things: She's climbed
Mount Kilimanjaro, lived on three continents, and worked as a ski instructor,
in media, and as a life coach. Still, she admits change isn't easy for her.
Rather than approaching new experiences with fear, however, she's learned to
welcome them with enthusiasm — even joy. "Change is the one constant in all
our lives," she says. "And learning to embrace it is the most valuable
tool in helping you love your life more."
To help you get through any transition, de Bonvoisin has identified the
following nine guiding truths. Make them your own, and let them lead you
1. I have positive beliefs — about change, about life, and about myself.
An optimistic attitude is the first tool you need to tackle change, says de
Bonvoisin — and yes, optimism is something you can choose. You may not have
chosen the change that is happening to you, but you do get to choose your
beliefs around it, says de Bonvoisin.
To shift to that positive mind-set, try asking what-if questions, such as,
"What if I believe things are going to get better?" "What if life
is working on my behalf?" and "What if this crisis is the best wake-up
call I ever got?" Looking at change this way will make it seem less scary
because you're focusing your mind on positive outcomes — and it's not that
difficult to do. "By habitually emphasizing the positive," says de
Bonvoisin, "you can actually rewire your mind to think more