30-day Challenge Jar

A few months ago, I watched this short TED Talk by Matt Cutts titled, “Try something new for 30 days.”

Here is the talk description: “Is there something you’ve always meant to do, wanted to do, but just … haven’t? Matt Cutts suggests: Try it for 30 days. This short, lighthearted talk offers a neat way to think about setting and achieving goals.”

I decided to give it a try, and after a few months, I am hooked on 30-day challenges.

Starting in December 2020, I made a commitment to do at least 10 minutes of Peloton yoga every day. As a yoga instructor and practitioner for more than two decades, I know how good yoga makes me feel, but I was not making it a priority every day. Enter the 30-day challenge.

I am proud to say I accomplished this 30-day challenge; in fact, I have done at least 10 minutes of Peloton yoga every day since December 1. But don’t be too impressed…

An awful lot of those sessions were 10 minute restorative classes, where you find a comfortable pose, using props like a blanket, bolster, and blocks, and just lay there for several minutes. Although these classes were not physically challenging, it sometimes was mentally challenging to stay still in the pose and focus on breathing and being present in the moment.

It was also sometimes challenging just to get down on the mat and open the Peloton app, especially on busy days, but I did it, and I keep doing it. I have learned that keeping myself 100 percent accountable is empowering, even if it is only a 10-minute class.

In January, flush with the energy and commitment that comes with the new year, I gave up sweets. Although my diet is mostly “clean,” I do have a sweet tooth, and once I get started on the sugar, it is hard for me to quit.

I have continued this challenge into February with a few exceptions—Culver’s with our son, candy after the “Love Chocolate 10k,” and a bowl of ice cream on Fat Tuesday. I have learned that it is easier to give up sweets entirely so I do not have to make a daily decision, but to have some flexibility for special occasions.

As I mentioned, I do eat a decent diet, but in recent months, I had been making bad choices regarding dinner. Because my husband is gone every other week flying as a pilot for Wheels Up, and our son does not get home most evenings until 8:30 or 9:00 p.m. because of play rehearsal, I eat dinner alone many nights. Rather than bother with cooking, I was eating cheese and crackers, or just chips and salsa, for dinner.

Wanting to get away from that bad habit, I decided to eat a real dinner—which I defined as a protein and a vegetable—every night in February. So far, I have been doing that, and I plan to continue when the month is up. I feel better when I fuel my body with real food.

I am loving this 30-day challenge idea and want to continue, but I was having trouble deciding what to do next, when an idea popped into my head. I created a “30-day Challenge Jar” with dozens of ideas gleaned from Google searches. My plan is to pick one out of the jar each month and do it for 30 days.

I am excited to see what happens! I will let you know, as I plan to write about it every month on this blog.

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