After I finished my 30-Day Paleo Challenge I wasn’t necessarily thinking that I’d take on another 30-Day Challenge, but that’s exactly what happened.
And some of her Northern California yoga friends.
It was a fun weekend — we did a lot of yoga, ate yummy food, drank some wine, saw a good movie premiere, went to the Michael Franti concert, talked and sat in the sunshine.
After Wanderlust I traveled onto Southern California for BlogHer and a friend’s wedding. On my last day in California I took a yoga class at YogaWorks in Laguna Beach.
The day I returned to Denver I took another yoga class at my *favorite studio. After a couple more yoga classes that week I realized that I just finished five straight days of yoga (beginning in Laguna Beach). Well, I thought, I might as well do 25 more days and make it my next 30-Day Challenge.
And that’s how my personal 30-Day Yoga Challenge began.
This is me on Monday (Labor Day) in Denver, Day 30 of my challenge.
I DID IT! 30 straight days of yoga. It felt great. Although there were a couple days I was tired, or didn’t always feel up to it, I showed up and took a yoga class anyway.
Here’s the breakdown of the different styles of yoga I did during the last 30 days:
Vinyasa Flow Yoga – 20 classes
Hot Yoga - 3 classes
Nidra (Meditation) Yoga – 2 classes
Anusara Yoga – 1 class
Yoga Blend – Yoga Works (Laguna) – 1 class
Core Power outside at Yoga Rocks The Park – 1 class
Restorative Yoga – 1 class
Forrest Yoga – 1 class
Total = 30 yoga classes from Aug 7 – Sept 5
I kind of stumbled across the 30-Day Health Challenge idea this summer and now I’m hooked. I’m ready to take on another challenge. I’m thinking a meditation or a volunteer challenge will be next.
For now I want to take in and really absorb what I just accomplished. I tend to rush my way through life and its experiences (good and bad). It feels good to pause and let the accumulation of the last two challenges sink in before I start my next challenge. I’ve settled into a comfortable, easy eating routine after my Paleo Challenge (down another 5 pounds) and after a couple days rest I can’t wait to get back to yoga and pilates. For me both challenges were like hitting a major re-set button and it’s been incredibly easy to stick with things. I love the routines I established as a result of both challenges.
So what about you? Have you ever done a personal challenge? Are you interested in creating one for yourself? Either way, hopefully this will inspire you to start your own 30-Day Challenge!
Why 30 Days? – Psychologists agree that it takes 30 days to get into the groove of a new habit. If you are ready to end a bad cycle, pattern, habit, or get out of a rut, 30 days of consistent action will catapult you into a fresh, new beginning. It is just long enough to reap the benefits, yet it is short enough that you don’t lose your focus and motivation. Intense focus coupled with a measurable timeline creates better follow-through and anchors in habits for long term success. On the other hand, ambiguously thinking; “I want to eat better and exercise more” is non-focused, un-motivating and rarely produces any results. Just think about the people who walk around saying those exact words and nothing ever changes. A 30-Day Challenge however, can create big changes!
You’re Stronger Than You Think – I think a 30-Day Challenge is a great antidote to feeling sorry for yourself, or any general life funk you might be in currently. You’ll be surprised how quickly your attitude and inner strength builds when you take daily consistent action. Not to mention the fact that when you change one area of your life for the better a ripple effect happens in all areas of your life. Things are very interconnected.
Stagnation or Transformation – Resistance can show up in our lives at various times and when it does we have two choices. 1.) Stagnation or 2.) Transformation. After doing two 30-Day Challenges in the last 90 days I can almost guarantee that sometime during your 30 day challenge “something” will happen. You’ll have a bad day, you’ll get bored, you’ll get frustrated, you’ll get really busy, you’ll feel tired, you’ll think of everything you could do if you weren’t doing this. But what will you ultimately choose? Will you become stagnate and quit? Or will you transform and continue? Just remember, the harder it is in the middle the bigger the transformation is at the end. You can do this!
Be Kind To Yourself- A 30-Day Challenge doesn’t necessarily mean physical exertion, i.e. an exercise challenge. In fact your “challenge” may be creating silence and resting every day with no distractions for 30-60 minutes. Period. No discussion, no explanation, no negotiating (with yourself or loved one’s). Taking care of your health begins with drawing a line in the sand and saying “enough is enough, I’m ready to do things differently and more healthfully” But use common sense and wisdom when selecting your “challenge.” If you are physically exhausted and depleted I would not recommend trying to exercise for 30-days straight. If you obsess about calories every minute of the day perhaps a nutrition challenge isn’t the best choice right now; instead how about volunteering and helping someone else for the next 30 days. If you give your energy to others all day long, whether at home or at work try a relaxation or leisure challenge for 30 days. Choose the thing that will push (challenge) you out of your normal comfort zone, yet it will still nourish, feed and fortify you. The point is self care, not self abuse.
How You Do One Thing Is How You Do Most Things – When things get hard or uncomfortable do you: Make excuses, create drama, quit, get angry, get sick, blame others, expect others to “carry you”? Do you talk excessively about the situation to anyone and everyone but ultimately never change? Notice how you react and answer these questions. These are the reasons why a 30-Day Challenge is useful.
You see, It’s not about doing yoga per say, although if you want to do a yoga challenge I highly recommend it. The point of any 30-Day Challenge is to confront and change habits, patterns and behaviors that hold you back and make you unhealthy. The actual challenge you choose becomes a backdrop to the life affirming benefits and “ah-ha” moments you receive when you show up and take care of yourself day after day for 30 days. These benefits can be much more rewarding than touching your toes or losing a couple pounds.
So what are you going to do? Are you ready to create your own 30-Day Challenge?
While diet and exercise are typical places to start you don’t have to begin there. Here are some ideas to get you thinking, but there are hundreds of choices. Don’t feel like you have to use any of my suggestions. Pick something that resonates with you and is doable in your lifestyle for the next 30 days.
Nutrition – No sugar or drink 80 oz of water every day for 30 days.
Exercise – Walk 2 miles every day (that would be 60 miles by the end of 30 days, Wow!)
Relaxation – Meditate every day for 20 minutes, or go to bed at the same time every night (early) so you get 8-hours of sleep every night for the next 30 days.
Leisure – Set aside 60-minutes every day to do the hobby that you love, but never “have time.” i.e. painting, photography, etc.
Money – Save $20 every day. At the end of the 30 days you’ll have $600, at the end of one year you’ll have $7200. That’s a nice little rainy day fund.
Spirit – Keep a gratitude list, every day write down: What inspired you today? What touched your heart today? What surprised you today?
Volunteer and Relationships – 29 Gifts, How A Month of Giving Can Change Your Life (offer up one Random Act Of Kindness to another person) add one more day and make it 30 days.
Emotions – Write in a journal every day. Research shows that journal writing can be very healing and therapeutic to our emotional health.
Career – Turn off the computer, phone, TV at 7PM and take a digital, electronic sabbatical for 30 days.
As I was lying on my yoga mat, waiting for class to begin on Day 28, this song played on my teacher’s iPod. I thought it summarized very nicely how I felt after this 30-Day Challenge, and I think it’s a nice way to end this post as well.
So go on, create your own 30-Day Challenge. You can do it, I know you can!
* I want to give a big shout out to Kindness Yoga in Denver. I did 95% percent of my yoga there and all the teachers are fantastic; Patrick, Cameron, and Tina are three of my favorites. If you live in or around Denver or you’re visiting sometime soon, check ‘em out, they are a wonderful Healthy Discovery.