Make Your Bed: 40 Days to Create a Good Habit

By July 27, 2011Communications

My dog, Clover, in a decidedly unmade bed.

Confession: I was horrible about making my bed. When our kids were young, it seemed like I was in and out of it so many times during the night that really, what was the point of making it all nice and neat before climbing into it again, later?

At some point, I decided to change the way I thought about making the bed, and to create the habit of just doing it. First, I changed the way I thought about it; making the bed isn’t a chore, it’s just part of your day. Instead of straightening sheets, I thought about creating a sanctuary; a pleasant place to return to and relax at the end of the day.

I was raised with the religious tradition of Lent and giving something up for 40 days as a way to refocus, purify yourself and understand the meaning of self-sacrifice. It was a Lenten season when I chose my bed as my focus.

Now, I know from all manner of consultants that it takes a certain number of days to create a habit; I’ve read 27, 28 and 21 . . . but I figured 40 days left me plenty of room for error. So I set out on the journey of tucking, smoothing, fluffing pillows and folding corners that would culminate, not only in the Easter season, but in a new, healthy habit.

Lately I’ve been focusing my habit-creating on writing daily. I remember the experience of creating the bed-making habit as a clear analogy to how challenging habit creation can be. If I think about my commitment to blogging as a chore: “I have to blog every day,” that becomes far less appealing and leads to whining.

If I approach the activity differently and say, “I will create content of value to my audience daily. I will share information that demonstrates my capability and thus helps establish my business every day,” I’m much more eager to commit.

What habits are you trying to create in your business? How can you change the way you think about and talk about them, to manage the approach to take? 


  • KenMueller says:

    I love this, but that shouldn’t surprise you. As one who blogs everyday, (and has to put up with your whining), I’ve gotten to the point where I love writing and blogging. At times I come up with so many ideas that I have too much that I want to write. But it wasn’t always this way. But by sticking to it and being consistent and faithful, that’s where I am now.

    Making the bed, however, is another story…

  • khall27 says:

    Great post, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for me, personally and professionally. One of the best habits I’ve created is visiting your blog daily. 🙂

    The bonus today? In a word, Clover.

    Until tomorrow….

  • denisestewart73 says:

    Oh Marijean, I feel like I’m habit-building more intently than a kid with a bucket at the beach. I have been through the whole making the bed thing and I had to channel my grandmother to pull it off daily (but I don’t think I made it 21 days…hmmm). It still makes me very, very happy to get into a made bed at night, and I will be sure to do it on vacation next week because I always try to masquerade like a neat person when I’m around my mother-in-law. For my business, I am working on building habits regarding blog posting, scheduling and promoting events, and thinking bigger (yes, habitually thinking bigger) about financial goals. Thanks for the post.

  • Marijean says:

    @khall27 He’s a cutie, isn’t he? 🙂