Thirty day challenges can be a great tool when trying to create new habits. As someone who tends to take on more challenges than I can handle at one time, I have steered clear of any additional pressures that thirty day challenges bring up for me. It reminds me of a morning years ago when I sat sobbing in the living room chair of our San Francisco flat with a newborn sleeping in his room down the hall. I was sobbing because the lactation consultant said all I had to do was “pump more” to produce more of the liquid gold milk my son needed to nourish his little body. My production had slowed and he needed me more so time to plug in to the milk machine was limited. “Well, you can nurse him more too,” she said. Months of feeling sucked dry and meeting the challenge of pumping six to seven times a day per instructions and I could no longer take the pressure. I was deflated, spent, and exhausted. I was sobbing because Iwas cracking under the weight of this challenge.
The pressure I was feeling was too much. I probably should have stopped trying sooner but presented myself with a challenge that has measurable outcomes and I will persist. I persisted to the point of sobbing while also feeling isolated and alone. It was time to give myself grace, the grace to quit.
I have taken on many challenges since then and have always remembered to give myself grace and consider whether persisting was right or if the timing of the challenge was right. Thirty day challenges with visible accountability measures felt like a slippery slope out of grace and into the shame game. So I never committed to one openly until now.
One of my two writing coaches sent out an email inviting her contacts to join in her daughter’s 30 day challenge beginning December 1. Curiosity in myself, my capabilities, curiosity, and what I might discover through the process lure me into challenges, particularly when it comes to fitness, rehabbing my knee and running. I am also deeply curious about writing and the ability of words to evoke emotion or inspiration.
So I am showing up here to discover and learn by challenging myself to open a blank page each day and write for at least twenty minutes every day! I can do this for thirty days during one of the most hurried times of the year. No pressure is the key ingredient. Accepting this challenge is birthed out of curiosity and nurtured with the desire to go there, NO pressure to perform.
Also, I am accountable to our group by logging it as done in our group spreadsheet. This sounds very tactical, I know but it keeps the challenge from happening in a vacuum where things can get dark and lonely. Some days will certainly require grace.
If you are considering taking on a thirty day challenge. Ask yourself these questions before you begin:
- Is now the right time to take this on?
- Is there a reasonable beginning and end date?
- Is there a human connection to others taking on their own challenge?
- Does this challenge feel like pressure or curiosity?
- Where else will grace be required while taking this challenge?
Thanks for playing! Here we go!