My friend, Kristie, has declared her new 30-day challenge. She writes, “This month my challenge is to be up by 5 a.m. Monday through Friday. This goal is multifaceted. Not only do I want to get to work by 7 a.m., but there are things I want to do in the mornings before going to work. Examples: read my Bible, spend a few minutes talking to my husband, make my lunch so I can have healthy meals during the day, MAKE COFFEE!!!”
Making a public declaration like this is seriously effective. Are you going to join the challenge? I’d love to hear from those of you who joined the 30-day challenge last month. Let me know how you did. I really am interested! Simply leave a comment. And while you’re at it, tell me what your challenge will be this month.
When you are determining what your goal/challenge will be, remember to be realistic and strategic. By “realistic,” I mean keep your goal reasonable and feasible and something that can be achieved all 30 days—and yet will still be a stretch for you. My goal to eat at least three servings of nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables a day, with an emphasis on deep-colored, high-in-antioxidant foods, is reachable. I admit that it would be better if I ate at least five servings, but I knew that that might be beyond my reach on occasion. Furthermore, eating three servings a day is beyond what I do on a regular basis now, so the three servings will be an improvement.
By “strategic” I mean to devise a challenge that could possibly set off a series of positive changes in your life. I gave an example of this in Tiny Actions That Make A Huge Difference. The mother in that article chose to focus on keeping the kitchen table cleared—even though the rest of the house might be chaotic, the table would be clean and cleared. After the first couple of weeks of maintaining this practice, she noticed that she was also becoming more diligent about keeping up with the laundry and putting it away and her husband was becoming inspired to take on some home improvement projects.
Kristie’s goal to get up earlier will touch off numerous positive effects for the whole family, not the least of which will be a greater sense of peace for everyone in the home because there won’t be that rushed up, harried frenzy in the morning. But that’s not all. She will eat healthier, she will save money (on her lunches), she will be more attune to God throughout her day, and she will build a greater sense of connectivity with her husband even though their lives are very busy. Sounds very strategic to me.
As for my challenge to eat three healthy servings of fruits and veggies a day, that too is very strategic. Obviously, I will be doing well by my body and mind (what’s good for the body is good for the brain!) by eating more nutritiously. But there are other benefits, too. To get lots of good, fresh vegetables, I will have to cook at home more and eat out less (I find it very difficult to find good vegetables in most restaurants). That one effect should save a significant amount of money this month. I also may discover some new foods and different cooking methods (I’ve already checked out a book on the Mediterranean diet that I have heard so much about). I am hoping that I will become less attached to the “bad carbs” as my diet becomes more healthy and that my cravings will diminish (is it too optimistic to hope that they disappear?).
Have you given this much thought to your challenge? Can you think of other areas of your life that may be affected if you are successful with your 30-day challenge? Share your “strategy” with me in the comments below. I look forward to hearing from you!