So, what’s in the number? I’m thinking about various challenges/diets that I’m familiar with. The military six-week workout challenge, the no carb 30-day cleanse, I’m remembering the 100-day exercise challenge, where many of my friends challenged themselves to exercise for 100 days straight, whether it was with 100 push-ups per day, 30 minutes of running or any kind of exercise for 100 days in a row. There are numerous health challenges happening at any given moment.
I am a fan of short-term challenges; in fact, I’ve hosted many throughout my 25 years of owning a health club. I’ve also participated in them and this week I’m reflecting on how these challenges worked for me.
I’ve often said, that when the jeans get too tight or the scale tips a number that’s not good for you, it’s time to focus and get in control of your body and usually that only means for a short amount of time. Often, a 30 or 100-day challenge will produce results you want.
In a 30-day challenge, you give up everything or at least everything you are doing wrong and focus on doing everything right for 30 days. Was giving up everything wrong the hardest part of the challenge? Or was mentally completing the 30 days the hardest part?
There goes your brain, starting those head games; “You’ve made it 21 days with amazing results, what’s the last week going to accomplish? You’ve already done so well and there’s a donut.”
Is accomplishing each day the challenge, making you fight the time-factor it takes to break bad habits or is it the thought processes that you put yourself through? Body or brain, isn’t that always the fight?
When we decide to make a change and start a challenge to do better, we almost always think about what we will lose instead of what we will gain in our lives for those 30 or 100 days. We think and act like it’s going to be a short-term lifestyle torture. Even when your body is telling you how much better it feels and how awesome everything is during the challenge.
Challenges break habits, habits are broken through practice and practice takes time.
So, here’s my challenge to you. What positive health change could you challenge yourself with for a set number of days/time? Would you ever consider making a change based on time to change the brain/thought patterns that have caused problems in your life?
Are there hobbies or activities that you desire to add back into your life? Maybe you want to read for pleasure for 20 minutes a day for 20 days? Or work on your favorite craft for an hour a day for 60 days. What about not missing church for an entire year, every Sunday? Maybe it is something like “paying it forward” and doing something special for someone else for a week’s time?
Maybe you need to kill those bad habits by taking them out of your daily life for a challenged set of days. Want to quit smoking or chewing tobacco, how about cutting your habit in half for 30 days and then in half again for another 30?
How about not eating after 7 pm for 70 days? Or 100 days of dog walking? How about these; a salad a day for sixty days, 32 oz. of water for 32 days, no dessert for 45 days, no grains for 24 days.
Don’t worry about what events might come up within the time frame set for the challenge. That’s part of the deal because it’s life. You’ll for sure have a wedding reception in your future and there will be cake. Well, guess what? You’ll either eat one of the tiers, pass completely, eat a piece or have a bite or two and none of those choices will kill you.
At one point you will be done with the 30 or 100-day challenge, then what happens? Will the time you’ve spent looking, feeling and being better on the challenge/diet dictate the path you want after? Body or brain? What about body and brain?
Take the challenge, get where you want physically and mentally and stay there! If not, there will always be another challenge!