Friday, September 3, 2010

100 Days Challenge - Finished ... Yeah!

My personal 100 Days Challenge ended on Wednesday, September 1st. I practiced my challenge 83 days out of the 100, which feels pretty good. I had an 8-10 minutes morning ritual, which included strength and balance exercises. Those of you who've followed this challenge know that, as easy as it seemed to be, I struggled with it. However, I've learned a lot and I've gotten a lot out of it.

1) I'm sure I've said this before but it is important. I found out that it takes me a lot longer than 21 days to change a habit when it is replacing a old bad habit of long standing. I say this is important because I'm sure a lot of you have been frustrated when you work on a new habit and, after a few weeks or even a few months, all your work seems forgotten. Life gets in the way, it just seems too hard, etc. Well, it takes as long as it takes. I know that's little comfort but I encourage you not to give up. Find out for yourself what your personal timeline is when you are making changes in your life. Don't be discouraged by others who seem to be able to adopt new habits, drop bad habits or change their lives more quickly or easily than you do. We're all different and they may have struggles with other things in life that come easily to you.

2) I've learned that I play mind games with myself. Weeks into this challenge I was still trying to find ways to avoid doing it. Most days, 83 to be exact, I didn't let myself get away with it but it was almost always a problem. Some days it took me 30 minutes to get through because of my delaying tactics. I even made myself late a few times. Wouldn't it just have been easier to do it and get one with my day? There's no good reason for it. I guess it's just the way the mind works, my mind at least. Now that I know this about myself, my goal and intention is to keep pushing through it.

3) Good habits really can inspire more good habits. As much of a struggle as this small task seemed to be, during the last half of it I realized I was following healthier habits in other areas. I got back on track with working on healthy recipes, started eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and started walking more, even through the knee pain. I think as I began to feel the benefits of having more strength and better balance, I wanted to do more to get healthier. I didn't want to sabotage my own progress. What I find interesting is that I purposely did not make a list of habits to work on during this challenge. I committed to one thing as I've seen suggested in books and articles I've read and I found these things easier to do on a regular basis. Even so, I began making healthier changes. Oh, and I almost cut out fast food from my diet; I averaged about once a week during the challenge, as opposed to five or six times a week (my pre-challenge norm). This surprising change was good for my health and my wallet.

So what now? Well, I still need to work on this habit so I think I will add a bigger challenge to this one. I will build on it. I'm not sure what it will be but I will let you know. I'm going to take this week off, enjoy the long weekend and come up with my next 100 Days Challenge. I'll still do my excercises but I won't be keeping count. I hope you are challenging yourselves as well. You can do it!

Have a great weekend!