I've been doing 30 day challenges for nearly three years. Diet related ones on are my favorite: gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, paleo, no sugar, and no alcohol. I've done challenges related to: budgeting, reading, writing, learning a new skill, exercising, etc. One month, I even gave up "interneting"-gasp.
Why would I subject myself to random challenges almost every month?
I enjoy tweaking my life and practicing self-discipline. I've enjoyed centering in on one challenge each month, and trying to get it right. I like doing things that other people don't do. I like trying out trendy diets to see if they are actually legit. Every 30 day challenge I complete, is a goal that has been accomplished.
What has helped me the most is doing these challenges with my husband. I'm lucky to be married to someone who is down for my latest random notion. I also started a Facebook group to invite my friends to join in on the month's challenge.
Each challenge poses it's own, well, challenges. Like, when I was gluten-free, and tried to make a pizza crust out of cauliflower. I learned that pizza should always be filled with gluten. Or, when I was vegan and found myself chowing down on McDonald's Chicken Sandwich because of poor-planning. Also, while eating a vegan diet I developed a major sweet-tooth, which I am still trying to tame.
My biggest complaint with food challenges, is when a diet suggests "healthy" substitutes for your favorite foods. Like, Paleo and sweet-potato "nachos" with no cheese. Um, I don't think so.
With each challenge I learn something different about myself.The month I sent snail-mail I realized I had a lot of unspoken things I needed to tell people. The month I gave up social media, I realized I was addicted.
The first challenge I did with my boyfriend (now husband), was going gluten-free. We celebrated the completion of the challenge with a delicious Jimmy John's sandwich. When I eliminated all added-sugar from my diet, I discovered everything has sugar.
I'm trying things out, and testing the waters. Refining my life with the hope that one day I will get it right.
If you spend any time studying successful people( I have) you will find a correlation: Successful people are disciplined. Successful people probably work-out, eat a decent diet, read, don't waste time online, etc.
Successful people challenge themselves, they aren't afraid of hard-work. They have grit, gumption, and the resolve to make things happen in their life.
I don't know about you, but I want to be successful. So, something like, reading every day might not sound like big deal. But, if I can apply that same discipline to everything I do, it will make a difference.
We all have dreams, right? But I want to have goals, and a strategic plan to accomplish them.
Let's get real. I fail most of my challenges. I'm right there with those New Year's resolution folks who regret buying that gym membership after two weeks. I often find an excuse to "cheat" , or just give up because it's too hard. But I fight against it every month.
I'm human, I'm not a machine. I'm normally hard-core about whatever challenge I'm doing for the first week, and a little less motivated the second week. The following week, I think, "Why am I doing this again?" Or "21 days is probably enough." But, when I totally crush a challenge, I feel like winner. So here's to more challenges: more failing, and more successes.