You may have noticed that I enjoy doing challenges. Some challenges that I’ve done in the past include: A Vegan Challenge, a no-spend challenge, a no-purchase groceries challenge, and a no complaining challenge for Lent (doing this now). I think that I find these challenges appealing because I’m proving to myself that I have the discipline and the juevos to do something that most people find hard to fathom and difficult to do.
I watched and listened with interest when people talked about doing no spend challenges during February. I found it really annoying because they without fail would say the following “I’m doing this in February because it’s the shortest month.” Well what the heck is the point then? You have already lowered your expectation of what you think you can do by coping out on doing something hard. Hard is no spending for months, or even a year because you are so hungry for change. Hard is working multiple jobs to pay your sh$t off for a year, exhausted but invigorated because you’re kicking a@@ and taking charge. Anything in February is a cop out. The point is this: why do people believe they can’t handle 31 freaking days of doing something that’s hard? If you are embarking on a challenge such as the ones that I mentioned above then you’re probably trying to create long lasting and sustainable change over months and years. Wouldn’t that be hard to do?
According to an article called “Busting the 21 days habit formation myth” the author states that during a study of a dietary challenge most of the participants took 66 days to actually form the habit. So, 28 days is clearly not enough time to form a life changing habit.* I found this article when I did a google search on establishing habits. This article reinforces an intuition that I had about how much time is needed to establish a new habit. You need to be honest about the fact that you will need more time than a short 28 day month to establish a life long habit. Have you ever wondered about the 40 days of Lent , 40 weeks of pregnancy, and 40 days to recover from birth (many cultures). One exception is Ramadan which lasts 28-29 days according to Wikipedia. But, you’re fasting during this time and that’s hardcore so I’m willing to consider that a 40 day situation too. Let’s call it funny math. There are other examples but I think I made my point.
February is a wonderful month. Puxatony Phil checks out his shadow, Mardi Gras 2013, Every fourth year is a leap year, it’s cold in a lot of places, the Super Bowl is in February, and so is National Condom day which also happens to be on Valentine’s Day. I’m proud of you for embarking on any challenge and trying to push yourself. But, if you want to really rock your world expect more from yourself. You may mess up a long the way but at least you tried to do something beyond what most people would be willing to try. So, balls it up and really embrace whatever challenge you are trying to succeed at. Don’t do it in February. Do it in a month with 31 days-then add more days to the challenge until it’s a habit.
Do you like to do challenges? Are you currently doing one now? What is it? Did you one in February because it’s a short month? I’m judging you only because I believe you can do anything that you put your mind to. Why don’t you?
*I did a search after I wrote this and noticed that Lifehacker used the same article*