Last year when we reached Winter, I felt my energy flag. Of course, this was affected by the season, and most of us want to hibernate when the dark mornings and cold temperatures become a reality.
I then had an idea to create random 21-day challenges (because, as you might have guessed if you have been reading my ‘Weekly Words’ for a while, I love a challenge).
The first challenge I created was to write a 300-500 word article every day for 21 days. I tried to do this first thing in the morning, so it was done and dusted before there were any other pulls on my time. Writing is a practice, and it is one I want to keep cultivating until I die. That was why I created the challenge, but the unforeseen upside was that I then had 21 articles in my back pocket for when I needed them.
The second challenge was to perform the plank exercise (I found this one online, and the rules were already laid out: you needed to hold the position for a given amount of time each day, which increases throughout the period, in order to be able to hold a plank for 3 minutes by the end of the challenge). By day 21, I could hold it for 2:52. The beauty of this challenge was that my family joined in, as well as the guests we had staying with us. At some point in the day (not after dinner, we learned) I would say “Plank challenge”, someone would put on a timer, and we would plank until we could plank no more. It was such fun.
Another challenge I created was to practice the guitar for 15 minutes every day for 21 days. This challenge increased my confidence so much. I can’t say it was ‘fun’ like the plank challenge was, but it transformed my relationship with my guitar, and I was experiencing the power of consistent practice, no matter how small the time frame.
Because last year’s 21-day challenges were so beneficial in foreseen and unforeseen ways, I have decided to do it again this year, but the challenges are now going to be 30 days long.
This week I am back to writing a 300-500 word article every day, as well as putting aside at least 30 minutes a day to work on a significant project. The benefit of committing this daily time to the project, a project that has many moving parts, means it gets chipped away at every day, not just when “I feel like it”. When projects are challenging, we do not always feel like it, we need more to keep us on track. I find the daily challenge practice invaluable for this reason.
My guitar challenge will also be added again, but this time increased to 20 minutes a day. Do I love playing the guitar? Yes. Am I always successful in carving out the time to practice? No.
A challenge does not have to be as long as 30 days. Last week, I began a personal 7-day Bikram yoga challenge (the original hot yoga class), which I made up after doing the first class and realising that as my ‘youths’ are now on school holidays, and they sleep in, I can get to a 6am, 90-minute class, shower, get home, have breakfast, and do some domestics before they even stir. When I told my husband my plan, he joined me. We finished the challenge this week, and it was great fun (except when it wasn’t), and it was bonding for us to have a mini-challenge together.
So, what about you? Does the idea of creating a 7-30 day challenge ignite you?
If it does, I suggest that it is in the area of fitness, creativity, relationships, work or a project. I think, for many women, as soon as we think of a challenge we go straight to weight loss, and we all know how that turns out!
Every day we practice something, we are getting slowly better at it, or we enjoy it more, or we build competency, or we complete long unfinished projects, or we create structure, or we learn, or we set boundaries to carve out the time, we gain all of the above. But most importantly, we grow in the process.
Imagine how you much you could grow in 7-30 days.
Wishing you a weekend of consistent and intentional growth. xxx