It wasn’t until after my first daughter was born 4 years ago that I discovered my affinity for 30 day challenges.
It all started when I became frustrated that I wasn’t taking time to do one single thing for myself in any given day. My whole day centered around caring for my infant child, my high needs dog, my home and my husband. I remember being angry that I couldn’t even meet some of my most basic needs. I had given all of myself to my family. I was lucky if I was able to find time to choke down food while chasing a kid and cleaning. I had had enough. I deserved more than 1 shower per week. I deserved to be able to use the bathroom when nature called. I shouldn’t have to hold it to the point of being in pain.
I deserved to be able to eat more than the crumbs that were on my toddler’s plate. I wanted more. I worked hard. I needed to do something for me. But with an infant around, I needed to take baby steps. Enter 30 day challenges.
I’ve always been goal oriented and after giving up my career to focus on my home life, I felt vacant. My identity was gone. I felt as though I needed those small successes again to feel connected to the person I was behind all the diapers, cleaning and tired eyes. Successes that were mine alone. A pursuit that helped me feel like I was giving at least something to myself again. I didn’t need a grand vacation. I didn’t need 3 hours a day for a mountain bike ride, though one can dream.
I needed to be able to consciously give back to myself. You know the saying “Pay yourself first”. Well, my bank had run dry. I needed to make deposits again. Small, manageable deposits.
Thirty day challenges helped provide a platform to making changes in my life that were important to me. They gave me focus and held me accountable.They gave me something I needed to do for myself.
My first 30 day challenge was so basic that it seemed negligible. But let me tell you, with an infant child, my basic self care had gone by the wayside. So I embarked on 30 days of face washing, exfoliating and moisturizing every day. That simple. Sounds easy, right? But how many times did I fall asleep with my baby only to wake up and realize I had a commitment to myself that I needed to complete. And so, for 30 days, I took care of my skin. Some days I relished in the joy of the warm water on my face and some days I cursed as the water dripped from my hands, down my elbows onto my now wet sleeves.
I’ve taken on various 30 day challenges from seemingly easy, to painfully challenging. These are just a few:
- Learn a new vocabulary word everyday and use it in a sentence.
- Kiss my husband every night immediately when he gets home for 5 straight seconds.
- No complaining: ha ha ha. Yeah, right. Who was I kidding?
- Stretch for 20 minutes every day.
- Compliment my husband on something new each day.
- Write 3 things I’m grateful for in my gratitude journal each day.
- Walk 10,000 steps a day.
- Read one chapter in a book everyday.
- Send a handwritten letter to someone new everyday.
- Spent at least 10 minutes each day practicing a new yoga pose.
- Give away or donate one thing per day.
- Do 30 minutes of weight training everyday.
Currently, I’m working my way through the Whole30 Challenge, which is an eating plan that eliminates potentially inflammatory foods or trigger foods for 30 days before you reintegrate them back into your diet.