30 Day Challenges to Make a Difference
"Every single qualification for success is acquired through habit. Men [and women] form habits from futures. If you do not deliberately form good habits, then unconsciously you will form bad ones. You are the kind of man [or woman] you are because you have formed the habit of being that kind of man [woman], and the only way you can change is through habit."
The above quote was taken from Albert E. N. Gray's essay The Common Denominator of Success. It has been included because it perfectly encapsulates the underlying ethos of the 30 Day Challenge to Make a Change initiative.
As Mr. Gray rightly said "If you do not deliberately form good habits, then unconsciously you will form bad ones." But it is hard to form new habits, which is especially so if they are good. However, the research is in our favour. For it basically says that if we can adopt a new habit - such as exercising, smiling more or reading as opposed to watching TV - and practice that new habit for around thirty days, we will statistically increase our chances of implementing and maintaining a positive lifestyle change.
It is in the spirit of this research and Mr. Gray's sagacious words why the 30 Day Challenge to Make a Change initiative was originally created. The various challenges that feature on this page provide you with a 'road map', so to speak, of how you can follow a journey that will lead to a more positive personal destination.
The theme of each 30 Day Challenge is centered on lifestyle improvement.
They begin with an introduction which aims to outline the rationale behind that particular theme. For example, the 30 days of one hour Mindfulness Meditation practice is accompanied by a fairly lengthy exposition on the multifaceted benefits of Mindfulness and it includes lots of contemporary research to support the central supposition of why it is wise to meditate on a daily basis.
Do not feel obliged to read these introductions. The challenges can just as much be enjoyed and experienced by skipping straight to the 'rules'.
Every challenge has been tried and tested by a real living breathing human being. That human being has, after successfully completing each challenge, produced a 'participation log'. The participation log delineates the inevitable trials and tribulations that you - the potential participant - might encounter if you choose to embark on the challenge.
Each challenge concludes with an 'outcomes' section. Though the outcomes are sure to vary with each individual, they offer a window into the land of possibilities that awaits the person who dares have a go.
These challenges are, well, challenging. That self-confirmatory sentence probably needs further clarification.
It has become fashionable to pit one's self against the latest fad challenge - whether that be eating a pot of cinnamon, being doused in ice-cold water or not molesting one's phone every five minutes. But these challenges, when we take a step back and scrutinise them with an objective eye, are not in the least challenging - and even if they were they're certainly not conducive to cultivating long-term lifestyle improvement habits.
The 30 Day Challenges that feature on this page are challenging. There are two reasons for this.
The first: anything worth achieving in this life is inevitably wrought with hardship. If we want to improve our health, as an example, we must cut out all vice, abstain from consuming 'bad' foods and participate in regular, intense physical exercise. None of them are particularly very easy to implement and maintain. But for all the associative benefits they are certainly worth doing; the same cannot be said for eating cinnamon.
The second: in order to experience a sense of accomplishment, which not only feels good but also develops self-efficacy, we must undertake an activity of considerable duration that forces us out of our comfort zone whilst also presenting us with numerous opportunities for failure. A challenge that involves being drenched in cold water does not satisfy these requirements. Consequently, the individual will not derive any long-term benefit from them.
It is for the reasons identified in the above paragraph why each and every 30 Day Challenge has to meet a strict criteria of requirements before it is tried and tested. The criteria includes the following:
The duration of each challenge must be 30 days or more
The theme of all challenges must be centered on lifestyle improvement
In the majority of circumstances each challenge must force the participant out of their habitual comfort zone
The challenges must be accessible by all and whenever a challenge is likely to transgress this requirement 'modification suggestions' are to be included
All challenges must be challenging!