In the post, How Shall We End This Year?—my first of the month post in which I state my new challenge—I asked for others to make their challenges known, as well. I extended the challenge to “Finish [the year] Strong!”
I was so gratified that a couple of readers took me up on the challenge and responded by stating good, “meaty” challenges for the remainder of 2012. When I say meaty, I mean that their challenges are not just token “challenges” to appease their consciences and convince themselves that they are doing something beneficial for their personal development.
“I’m thinking a BANG and no fizzle for me. 🙂 [She is referring to my question in the post as to how to end the year—with a bang or with a fizzle?] Therefore, I publicly announce that my 30-day challenge is to write at least 300 words (approximately 1 page) everyday this month, more specifically 300 words for my thesis. I’m really hoping to do more, but this minimum daily amount is a good step for me. It is a must-do for me to get 80 pages done by mid-March or no graduate degree for me, and that is NOT an option! I did get about 15 pages done in the past 2 1/2 months, which included a month of just research; a decent start, but not all I wanted to do. Even my math-challenged self knows that if I keep that rate I will not finish in time, so I need to turn up the heat. So here I am, saying it in black and white.
Side note: Thesis or no thesis, I know the bigger picture of this process is that God is training me how to do something small on a daily basis (no matter how I feel!) to get to a bigger goal down the road. This is something I’ve never been good at but want and NEED to be, especially as a mother with kiddos and no big chunks of time. I did 300 words today, so little by little here I come! Thanks for the support and all the great posts to inspire me. I will keep you posted.”
Cindy also took up a December challenge:
“My challenge is to get up with the alarm every morning and stop hitting the dadgum snooze button! It’s a very bad habit I’ve built over the years and it’s time to get the ball rolling in the other direction. I’m missing some very valuable time in the mornings when I snooze, and I don’t want to miss it anymore! Gotta make my minutes matter these days and not let tiredness govern what I do. You are so right about December! We will finish strong.”
I wanted to share these two ladies’ challenges with you because 1) I want you to be as inspired as I was by their positive, proactive challenges, and 2) I wanted to assist them in their challenge this month by taking it even more public. Why would I do that? Because it will help insure their success. The more public we go with our goals and challenges, the more likely we are to succeed. There’s only one caveat: You must report your progress (or lack thereof) publicly, as well.
I can easily use myself as an example here. I started this blog on January 1 of 2012. Between January 1 and July 1, I posted 10 times. That’s not a very active blog! I remember vividly sitting at my computer on July 1 and contemplating whether or not I really wanted to “go public” with a challenge to post to the blog every day that month. Honest; I sat and stared at the screen for a minute or two before I posted that first challenge…
I often read about “30-day challenges” on the web, and now it’s my turn. I am officially beginning my first public 30-day challenge. You’re welcome to join me if you like.
And so began the 30-day challenge concept. Did it work? Yep; I posted every day that month, and I have remained very consistent since then. What made the difference? Going public like Angela and Cindy have. Angela even went so far as to post a link to How Shall We End This Year? on her Facebook page and invited others to join her with a challenge of their own. Now her friends know about her challenge, too.
However, I will quickly add that my real motivation came not so much from “declaring” what I was going to do, but in the awareness that ‘the whole world’ could tell if I was sticking to my declaration or not. All one had to do to see if I was succeeding was check the website for that day. Granted, there were a couple of posts that went up just an hour or so before midnight, but by golly, something got posted every day (I’ll admit that some posts were weightier than others; I did post a picture of my new running shoes one day).
Unless your challenge is to start a blog (where ‘the whole world’ can check your progress), then I suggest you come up with some creative ideas to hold yourself accountable in a public forum. Angela could take her Facebook post a step further and post daily progress reports. Both ladies could enlist the help of some close friends that they send an email report to on a daily basis. Whatever methods are used, I suggest the stakes be as high (aka, embarrassing or costly) as you dare.
In the spirit of this post, I will report that thus far, for three days in a row, I have fulfilled my challenge of writing for at least 30 minutes first thing in the morning. Only 28 more days to go!
It’s not too late to get in on the fun and start a new, positive habit before 2012 is history. Will you join us? State your challenge in the comments. And leave a comment about how you plan to hold your own feet to the fire, too.