The 10-Day Experiment

by Erich

Being prepared is more about a lifestyle change than one glorious shopping spree.

10-days I believe the most overlooked part of being a prepper or ‘survivalist’ is improving and developing yourself. You may have a years supply of food storage but you have never practiced using it. You may have your bug-out bag waiting to go in case of an emergency but you can’t walk a mile without being out of breath (let alone carrying a 65 lb. backpack on top of that). Or you may have the latest assault weapon with all the accompanying gizmos but you couldn’t hit the broad-side of a barn at 50 yards.

Being prepared is more than just accumulating stuff. A huge part of it is developing yourself as a person and to do that you need to develop routines and good habits. For most people, developing good habits is not easy. It requires a lot of effort and previous failed attempts often leads to a lack of confidence or motivation to try again. However, here’s a simple experiment that, if followed, will bring motivation, confidence and action into your life. I call it the 10-Day Experiment.

The 10-Day Experiment is exactly what it sounds like…an experiment. Nothing more, nothing less. I based it off of my experience with the Master Cleanse, a 10-day fast which aims at ridding the body of all the toxins it has built up over the years. Although initially difficult, I noticed that after the 10 days, it would have been fairly simple to continue with the fast if I wanted to. Since then, I’ve applied this same 10-day pattern to many different aspects of my life. For example, I’ve used it to regularly get up at 5AM every morning, in doing daily exercise, to changing the foods I eat. Each of these ‘experiments’ ended up becoming solidified habits.

How it Works

In a nutshell, you take something that you have wanted to try, improve, or change in your life, and for the next 10 days, you try it out. For example, if you have always wanted to be an early riser (say 5AM), you would over the course of 10 days get up at 5AM. It’s really that simple. You make the decision that no matter what, you’ll stick to that decision for at least 10 days. It helps to think of it less as a commitment or lifestyle change and more like a trial run.

The best part about this, is that it only lasts for 10 days. If after the 10 days, it doesn’t seem to fit in your life or you don’t find it beneficial, you can stop. This relieves the added pressure of ‘a commitment’. Even if you don’t decide to continue, at least you stuck with a goal that you made to yourself. That in itself builds personal trust and confidence. By sticking to something for 10 days straight, you will have the ability to make major improvements in your life. You will gain more confidence, personal trust, discipline and willpower to apply in all your life endeavors.

Going Beyond the 10 Days

It seems (at least for me and others with whom I’ve talked with) that the first 10 days are the most difficult. From there, I’ve noticed a definite progression that happens over 10-day increments, until the action becomes a habit. Let me explain this progression in terms of “levels”.

Level 0 – The Launch

You have entered this level when you begin to apply action to a decision. Just like a rocket being launched, 90% of the fuel is used in overcoming earth’s gravitational pull, while the remaining 10% will keep it going. So it is with your “launch”. You will be using much of your energy in overcoming the inertia of your previous way of life.

Level 1 – The Tipping Point

Now that you’ve made it to the 10-day point, you may have noticed something. What was previously a struggle, seems now to be a lot more bearable. At level 1, you have just begun to overcome the inertia that held you bound to your old way of living. This is the level I like to call The Tipping Point. Although you’re up and running, it still hasn’t begun to be automatic for you. You now have an idea of what it’s like and it’s here that you can determine whether to turn the experiment into something you’d like to do for life, or to quit altogether.

Level 2 – Momentum

After 20 days, you’ve reached level 2. Here is where you’re picking up speed and have gained momentum. You no longer struggle to keep your commitment, however it still requires a conscious decision. You now know exactly how it will fit in your overall life. You’re well on your way at establishing a habit.

Level 3 – The Habit

At the 30-day mark, you’ve arrived at the final level. Level 3 is the realm of habit. Your daily commitment is well established and you realize a sense of freedom because it has now become automatic. At this point, it is actually more difficult to stop doing what you’ve been doing then to keep doing it. Now it’s time to send this into autopilot and try a new 10-day experiment!

Life Applications

Here are some applications in your life that you can apply this to:


Trying to overcome addictions like coffee, soda, cigarettes or even video games or television, can all be helped with the 10-day Experiment. Just try and see what it’s like to go without your favorite addiction for 10 days (the first 3-4 days always seems the worst for me).


Getting involved in a health and fitness program is a perfect candidate for the 10-day Experiment. After 10 days, you’ve overcome the initial inertia and if you like how it makes you feel you can stick with it.

Focusing on what you eat is also a great candidate. For example, try going without all that processed crap for 10 days. Eat more fruits and vegetables and whole grains.


Focus on being absolutely productive for 10 days. For example, instead of lying around watching the boob tube, work on those preparedness tasks that you’ve wanted to get to but “haven’t had the time”. Well, now you do slacker…so get to work. 😉

Time Management

For the next 10 days, work on planning your day each evening and sticking to that plan the next day. During those planning sessions, it’s a good idea to review the day and see where you can make improvements the next day.

Develop a New Skill

Skills like making fire without matches, learning to can foods, learning to shoot, learning martial arts and so on are all excellent choices for the 10-day experiment. In the case of martial arts, many clubs offer a one to two-week free trial.


In trying times, your relationship with your loved ones is most important. A good experiment is to work on being completely unselfish towards your partner. For 10 days, work on their needs and go above and beyond your normal actions. You’ll be amazed at how much comes back to you in return that you’ll never want to stop!


Work on sticking to a budget for 10 days. Or for 10 days, see if you can save 10 dollars a day that you can put towards debts, savings, or precious metals.

Random Acts of Kindness

During trying times, they’ll be plenty of opportunities to help and serve those who are less fortunate. Get over your selfishness now by finding ways to serve and help other people for the next 10 days. Randomly show acts of kindness to complete strangers.


One of my favorite things to do is carry out personal experiments. I love trying new things. Whether it’s living in a leaf hut out in the woods for a month straight to seeing if I can clean my insides drinking nothing but lemonade for 10 days, if I feel I can benefit from it, I’ll try it. Sure, many of the things I’ve tried have not benefited me directly, but at least I’ve always learned something from it. And if nothing else, when I’m 100, wearing Depends, and confined to my rocking chair, at least I’ll have some cool stories I can tell my grandkids one day. 🙂

Experimentation is what all great discoverers have done. Edison ended up experimenting with thousands of filaments before he found the right one which would light up the world. In our personal development, it is no different. By applying the 10-Day Experiment to different facets of your life on a regular basis, you’ll be forced into action which will eventually light up your own world!

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Comment by Doug
2009-10-25 21:05:47

Great advice. I have accumulated all of the stuff but have never made the time to practice. I’m going to start my first 10 day experiment with getter up early enough to do basic PT. Thanks!

Comment by Erich
2009-10-26 20:27:42

Thanks for stopping by Doug! Exercise is a great application of the 10-day Experiment. I’d love to hear of your results.

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