Conventional wisdom says it takes just 21 days to establish a new habit. So what if that new habit involves getting over a breakup? Is it possible to exorcise your ex, clear your head, and heal your heart in just 3 weeks? In my workbook It's a Breakup, Not a Breakdown Workbook: A 21-Day Action Plan to Plot Your Revenge, Spoil Yourself, and Find Out How Good Your Life Is Without Him, I walk you step by step through your breakup recovery. Here’s a day-by-day breakdown of the fun, fearlessness, and fabulousness you’ll experience:
Day 1: Throw a pity party for one
Turn off your cell, call in sick to work, and slip into your best PJs (No sweats for you, Sister. You’re pining away in style!). Stock up on chocolate, Cheetos, and Kleenex. Spend the day crying, emotionally eating, and watching Sex&the City reruns. Go ahead -- give yourself permission to embrace your inner drama queen!
Day 2: Live in denial for a day
Okay, you've had a good cry and the breakup still stings. Before you announce your breakup to the world, spend a day in denial. Pretend the breakup never happened. Act as if your ex never gave you the ax (or vice versa). Better yet -- pretend your ex never existed!
Day 3: Delete your ex from your online (and offline) life
Like it or not, the breakup did happen and unfortunately your ex still exists. Today's the day to build an impenetrable fortress around your heart so that your ex cannot break it again. Delete his phone number from your cell phone, his email address from your contacts, his profile from all your social networking sites. And if he calls, emails, or stops by to check up on you? Screen that call, delete his email (without even reading it), and hide under the covers, pretending nobody’s home.
Day 4: Widow for a day
Now that your ex is out of your life, it's time to mourn the death of your relationship. Go ahead, Girl. Slip into your finest black ensemble, open a new box of tissues, and let the waterworks begin. Today, you’re writing a last will and testament (bequeathing his morning breath to him while keeping your joint CD collection), performing a eulogy, and dancing on your ex’s freshly dug grave!
Day 5: Get mad
You’ve had time to mourn the bastard. Now it’s time to shake off the gloom and get pissed. If you're up to it, gather your girlfriends and throw an ex-boyfriend bash complete with photo burning, letter ripping, voodoo doll torture, etc. Or, if you’d rather get pissed in private, throw a solo ex b.f. bash. It's your prerogative!
Day 6: Get bitter, then get better
At this delicate post-breakup stage, bitterness is your new best friend. By being bitter, you're harnessing your pain and using it for good, i.e. exorcising your ex. If you haven't already, start journaling and/or blogging about the breakup. Go ahead - get in touch with your breakup bitterness!
Day 7: Get even
And because nothing helps a girl through her post-breakup pain quite like getting even, it's time to start scheming. Make a list of all your ex’s dirty little secrets and plot various ways to expose them. Put your pinky to your lips and let out an evil cackle as you indulge in fantasies about how your ex’s life will be ruined once you've spilled his secrets. (Don’t worry – you won’t actually engage any of these risky revenge fantasies!)
Day 8: Announce your breakup
Now that you're in touch with your post-breakup rage, it's time to tell the world all the dishy details. Call and/or email your friends and vent about your ex and the breakup. Don't stop there -- go online and update your social networking profile(s) with your newly single status. You can even let off some steam by sharing your story on a breakup message board. This is one time when airing your dirty laundry in public is the right thing to do (just don’t name names!).
Day 9: Disappear for a day
Just as you wish your ex would disappear, today's the day to create your own missing persons report. Call in sick to work, pack a backpack full of goodies, and get lost for the day -- without your cell phone. From getting back to nature with a day at the beach, lake, or park to museum or movie hopping, pick an activity that soothes your soul and then get lost.
Day 10: Reclaim your space
Now that you're getting used to the idea that the breakup actually happened, it's time to exorcise your ex from your home. You’ll want to make a clean sweep, gathering any remaining evidence of his existence (photos, clothes, shampoo, etc.). Put all his leftover stuff in a box and put the box in your car. You can decide later whether to burn it, donate it, or sell it on eBay. Once the exorcism is complete, it’s time to give your home a much-needed makeover. Paint the walls vibrant colors, rearrange the furniture, celebrate your inner girly girl!
Day 11: The Halfway Hump Slump
Now that you’re halfway through your detox, you may be feeling a little disoriented. Today’s the day to identify any remaining toxins in your system, as well as make a plan for purging the leftover demons.
Day 12: Dump your slump
Channel your inner super heroine and dump that post-breakup slump! Say sayonara to the past and yes to your fab future, sans What’s his name. Whether you know it or not, your reinvention is under way!
Day 13: Take a flying leap
Remember that fabulously fun and fierce girl your ex fell in love with? Now's the time to reconnect with her. Look in the mirror and just say hi. Ask her how she's doing. Find out what she feels like doing today and then no matter how self-indulgent it is, do it. It’s time to take that flying leap into your future!
Day 14: Plan a girl getaway
The absolute best thing about going through a breakup is the opportunity to reconnect with old friends. After all, boyfriends come and go but girlfriends are forever. And now's the time to celebrate your girlfriends with a Girl Getaway or Ladies Night out -- you decide. Wherever you end up going, give yourself permission to be a little risqué. Wear something revealing. Flirt with a total stranger. Tip your waiter 25% AND slip him your phone number. Behaving inappropriately for a night can be so liberating!
Day 15: Get a post-breakup makeover
Right about now you just might feel like you're hitting your saucy post-breakup stride. If so, fabulous! If not, don't despair. Today's the day to celebrate your resilience by getting a much-needed movin’ on makeover. Get glam with a new cut, color,&highlights. Stop by your fave boutique and shop til you drop. Make an appointment at the makeup counter and get a new look.
Day 16: Reinvent yourself
Whether you know it or not, a brand-new you is emerging. It’s up to you to make room for her transformation. Today’s the day to let down your hair, shake your inner goddess loose, and let the REAL reinvention begin!
Day 17: Shake up your routine
Even though your ex is long gone, memories of him may still linger. Now’s the time to shake up your routine in hopes of shaking those memories loose. Take a different route to and from work today. Shop at a different grocery store for a day. Get your latte at a new coffee place. It's time to shake things up as you ease into movin’ on mode!
Day 18: Start a healthy new habit
Since the split, you've been getting healthier by the day. Today is no exception. In fact, you're gonna rock it even harder today by starting a healthy new habit. Whether it's eating more vegetables, getting back to the gym, quitting smoking, or practicing positive affirmations, today's the day to introduce a healthy new habit to your daily routine.
Day 19: Enroll in Single U
While it may be too soon to start searching for your next great love, it's never too soon to embrace successful singledom. Sign up for a singles event. Enlist a friend to take some cute pics of you and then create your online dating profile. Flirt with a cute stranger today. Do whatever it takes to remind yourself that you’re still lovable and desirable.
Day 20: An ex marks the plot
Now that you've got a little breakup perspective, are you able to see how life after Mr. Ex is going to be so much sweeter? You have a better idea of what you're looking for in a future partner, you now know what you won't put up with, and you’ve probably even thought about new directions you'd like to pursue now that you're on your own again.
Day 21: Celebrate your success
After 21 days, do you feel lighter, stronger, healthier? Now is the time to celebrate by throwing yourself a fabulous movin’ on party. Invite your Boo-hoo Crew-turned-Woo-hoo Crew and party like it’s 2009!
Got questions about how you can heal your heart in just 21 days? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.