The First of the Month

Day One My New 30-Day Challenge

I hope the first of the month means good things to you like a time to start fresh, to clear the slate and focus on something new—on whatever you consider important.

I also hope you missed me last month (on the blog, that is). I did not post as often as normal, and certainly not as often as I wanted to. I encountered some crises this past month, and those, in part, affected my writing and my last 30-day challenge. I did find the time to write about that in The Agony of Defeat. After that post, I was able to recoup to an extent and finished out the month fairly strong, but still not with the bang I usually do.

Therefore, my 30-day challenge this month is the same as for last month: I will work every day on writing and/or researching for my first e-book.

About Goals

About challenges… And the first of the year/month… And goals… I’ve been thinking about these a lot lately. I am feeling the need to shake things up a bit. I’m not quite sure how or what I am going to do, but this is how “change” begins for me. It starts as a little agitating thought that I can’t seem to shake. It nags at me regularly. I find myself thinking about it at all times of the day and night. I might even journal about it a little here and there. Finally, it begins to take a form that I am able to articulate and put into writing. Until then, all I can do is to continue to let it grow within me.

I will share with you one tiny little part of my thought processes to this point. In my most recent 30-day challenge (the one in which I did so poorly), because of the nature of my month (the crises that I mentioned), I was often unable to put any honest effort into the e-book. But, in keeping with the spirit of the challenge, I made a jab at doing something. Many times this consisted of doing nothing more than copying and pasting an old blog post into the software program I am using for the e-book, reading over the post quickly, making a couple of notes on it, and closing the computer for the night. That’s OK on occasion, as it is something. However, doing the bare minimum day after day just to be able to check the challenge off my to do list started to conflict with my internal value system, which is: “whatever you do, do it with all your heart…”

There are days—such as days of crisis—when doing the bare minimum is fully acceptable, because it shows perseverance in the midst of difficulty. But to operate at a “minimum required standard” level on a regular basis starts to create a habit of mediocrity and laziness rather than a habit of perseverance and excellence. So, over the course of a month, that level of “commitment” (or lack thereof) in a 30-day challenge can actually work against you rather than for you. You end up reinforcing negative habits rather than building positive ones.

As I renew last month’s challenge this month, I do so with these thoughts in mind. Yes, I will allow myself the “bare minimum” on those days that are full of other commitments. But I am consciously going to avoid that minimal standard on a regular basis. I don’t want to reinforce mediocrity. I want to press towards excellence in all that I set my mind to do. If it’s worth doing at all, it’s worth doing right.

What is your 30-day challenge this month? Please leave me a comment and fill me in. As for last month, I’d love to hear how you did on your 30-day challenge, as well. By the way, do you realize that even if you fulfill your challenge every single day this month, you still won’t complete a 30-day challenge? It’s February!Smile

Photo compliments of horizontal.integration via Compfight

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8 Responses to The First of the Month

  1. Cindy Lofton says:

    Hey Diane- Just wanted to let you know my 30dc is to practice violin at least 5 min. a day. This is the one thing on my MIT list that keeps getting ‘un-checked’ each day, and I feel the need to build this habit. But now after reading your post I am looking at it harder and wanting to make sure my time is well spent on this, in the sense of productive practice and not wasteful practice. I definitely don’t want to reinforce mediocrity, that’s for sure. This was very convicting. I’ll keep you posted on how this one goes.

  2. Hi Diane I like your post and what you have highlighted about us doing things with all our heart. This has give me something to reflect on. I know that only God can give me joy to persevere or joy whilst trying to build a habit as my flesh hates being disrupted and trained. thanks for sharing your process. Like you and Cindy, I definitely don’t want to reinforce mediocrity…

  3. Virginia says:

    I’m using the Lift app and this post came at a great time – a week of mediocre (or worse), bare-minimum writing sessions. It’s been a tough week!

    • Diane says:

      Hi Virginia! I’m so glad you dropped in for a visit from the Lift app! And so glad you left a comment. Hopefully, you took encouragement in the fact that it’s OK to give the minimum during “tough weeks.” And I do so hope next week is better for you and given to more excellent writing sessions!

  4. Pingback: Finale of My 30-Day Challenge | My Pleasant Places

  5. Christine Gaulton says:

    Reading your blog on the 30 day challenge has been very encouraging and reminded me of how many years ago I used to accept ‘well that’s just the way I am’ about areas of my life. I then realised that I could change many aspects that I didn’t want to take into my older years but slipped into an acceptance of ‘well I’ve made some progress’. However both are ‘old and mediocre’; so it ‘s good to have a fresh way of tackling one by one, in a structured way habits i want to build in my life without the fear of failure.

    • Diane says:

      Hey Christine! Thanks for the kind words! I’m glad you were inspired by some of my journey through the 30-day challenge concept. It really was a game changer for me. I am continually working on “upgrading” my life through tracking and tweaking my habits and routines. I think it helps keep me young at heart! 🙂

I love to read your comments!