I recently wrote about my 30 days of yoga camp with YouTube yogi Adriene and wanted to back up a bit to share what’s behind the idea of a 30-day challenge. Matt Cutts, who was with Google, is the master of 30 day challenges and describes some of why he likes them in his TED talk.
They are typically called 30-Day challenges but words matter to me and I prefer the word practice to challenge. Challenge almost sounds like a dare…practice concedes that I’m going to do it over and over again with the intent of refining. While I like challenges, I also like the intention of support and the permission to be human in that I may not be so good at it at first.
I find that 30 Day practices encompass three benefits.
#1. Narrow the focus of change for better success.
Often when we get inspired we think of all the things we need to do or change and it is easy to get overwhelmed. Focusing on one thing at a time can shift to real results.
#2. Cultivate commitment and eliminate the daily wishy washiness of life.
Often when we think too much about something it is harder to make a decision. Making a very specific commitment to do something for a finite amount of time is easier. Waking up and knowing you are going to walk for 30 minutes and having a system to make that happen and track it means you’re that much closer to having it become a habit. And repetition makes new activities easier. With every day of doing that new practice you are creating a stronger mental pattern, and the new practice gets easier.
#3. Connecting with someone who can support you.
Change is significantly easier with the support of an accountability partner. My friend Nicole Stottlemyer wrote about her daily fun movement practice and the research on success when you embark on a new habit with a friend.
I recently got to day 30 of a 30 day practice of taking a photo every day with the theme of Plants are my medicine. I had two friends that I would text the photo to and I also posted it on my facebook page. It was so awesome to have the support from these friends and their appreciation of my photos to keep me going. At day 30 I felt like I was just getting started so I’ve expanded the project to go for 108 days.
The practice of this daily challenge made me aware of how much beauty is always around me, even in my suburban neighborhood. It has made me anticipate going for a walk to see what I’ll discover each day. It has made me joyful as I’ve curated the photos and learned more about how to take better photos with my iphone.
Are you ready to embark? We’re building a group on our Prasada facebook page to kick off a 30-day practice beginning September 1. But really you can start anytime. We’re here for you…let us know what you’re doing and keep us posted. Everyday or whenever feels right for you.
One more detail about 30 day challenges…how to mark your progress. Some people like the big calendar with a big X approach. Here is a template for you guys. Others like something where they can write on the box details of each day. Here’s a template for you. For others posting on your own facebook page is the ticket or tracking it with an app. I like Day One and I’m sure there are others.
We’re here to cheer you on, support you and celebrate your success.
Be well…it’s a state of mind.