I just love a good challenge! Well, I don’t exactly love the challenge part of it per say, but I usually love the results of a challenge. Since about half of our normal activities are on summer break, I think this is an excellent time to do a new challenge. Don’t get me wrong, we’re still quite busy during the summer, but it is a tad more laid back than during the school year. I talked to the Husband about my challenge idea this morning, and I believe he’s going to join me (Hooray!). He’s already in pretty good shape, so I’m sure he’s agreeing more out of moral support than anything.
I am opening this 12 week challenge period to anyone who would like to join me. All you have to do is let me know that “you’re in” via the comments on this post. Certainly you may email me privately as well, but there is something powerful about committing to something in a public format. I won’t ask you to share your weight or anything you deem to personal. The details you share are up to you.
Please begin thinking about how you plan to challenge yourself over the next 12 weeks. Maybe you want to exercise more. Maybe you want to follow a specific eating plan. Maybe you want to drink more water or get more sleep at night. Maybe you want to get off caffeine or dump junk food. Maybe you want to spend time in God’s Word daily. Maybe you just want to keep your laundry caught up (I have a pile of dirty clothes outside the laundry room door, and a pile of clean clothes on the floor of my bedroom at the moment). The choices are endless, and they are totally up to you. I have no idea what you struggle with day to day, or where your fitness level is right now. Whatever it is, be specific when you write out the goals of your challenge. For example:
I will complete Beth Moore’s study of Daniel.
I will follow the 80/10/10 low-fat, raw vegan plan for the next 12 weeks.
I will track my calories to ensure I am eating enough.
do my best toadhere to the half-marathon training schedule I come up with prior to the start of the challenge.
I will do some kind of strength training three days per week.
I will blog about my experiences throughout the challenge to keep me accountable.
Simply writing out the goals is a good step, but if we don’t plan how we’ll accomplish them, they probably won’t come into being. So, the next step is to look at each goal and come up with a plan to keep yourself on track. For example, I am planning to track my calories to ensure I am eating enough. I need to decide how and what tools I’ll use to help me do this. The same thing for my strength training goal. Will I follow a specific plan? What days of the week will I lift weights? What time of day is likely best for getting it done on those days? Be as specific as possible in building your plan. Also, don’t just “think” it through, write it down.
Lastly, we need to come up with some things we hope will result from the challenge. For example, I’m hoping to lose weight and have more energy as a result the challenge. I’m also hoping to increase my athletic performance, sleep better, and complete another half-marathon. Other ideas could be: break a caffeine addiction; make a habit out of keeping my laundry clean, folded, and put away; draw closer to God; get rid of cravings; stabilize blood sugar; lower cholesterol; improve BMI; get into my skinny jeans… etc. Again, be as specific as possible and determine if there is a way you can track your results. These results are probably your motivating factors. If you don’t “want it” bad enough, you’ll likely slip back into your old habits more quickly. Your motivating factor will be what you read when you have a really, really, really bad day and that cup of Joe is calling your name. Or you might be so tired from running your kids all over creation (and listening to them gripe), that the last thing you want to do is fold clothes. It’s in that moment that you must look at the results (I want to have clothes to wear, and I don’t want to trip over stuff on the floor).
Even as we are writing out what we hope will result, we must understand that the results are not our responsibility. These are the things we desire to happen, but if we are only focused on “making it happen” then we’ll become discouraged if for some reason the results aren’t living up to our expectations. Our responsibility is to work our plans. Do the workouts, eat the food, fold the laundry, say “no” to the coffee… you get the idea. We must leave the results to God. Let Him bless our efforts and bring about the reward.
Now, when will we start? I know this will seem like an odd day of the week to “begin”, but I’m setting the date for Tuesday, May 29th. The reason is, it’s after Memorial Day weekend. I’m also picking Tuesday because it will help me to break out of that mindset that says, “I can’t start during the week. I must wait until the beginning of the week.” You know how we’ll tell ourselves, “Oh well, I’ve messed up this week, I’ll start again next week.” I want us to learn that we can get a “do-over” any day of the week. We don’t have to wait till “weigh in day”, or till Monday, or till the first of the month, or till the new year. We can do this immediately. So, why are we waiting till after Memorial Day? That’s easy. It’s to give us a few days to write up our plans and prepare our minds. Also, most of us already have Memorial Day weekend plans that probably don’t include focusing on habit changes.
If you would like to blog the challenge with me, please link back to this post. Be sure to let me know so I may visit your blog and cheer you on. If you’re not a blogger, please feel free to participate in the comments section of this blog. There is strength in numbers!
I’m looking forward to what the next 12 weeks will bring!