Today we talk about challenges and how I moving away from them. I love making changes a habit, improving by implementing new habits, but now with challenges.
This post is born from a review of my personal life and my professional goals. I already wrote and talked a lot about challenges and their importance in our evolving lives. I really believe that in a way they are what helps us move forward and improve.
However, I realized that challenges that are a week or a month long, are not working for me! I’m stepping back from my “one-week challenge” approach here. Mistake me not. I truly believe in the power of small changes and in the importance of setting goals, but I will stop advocating a method that, obviously, doesn’t work for me.
Why the “short challenges” way is not working for me
Once I realized that these challenges were not my thing, I wanted to understand why. If the result is right, and the purpose is okay, I must understand the right way to go there, in that place of achievement.
I have successfully changed many habits in my life since I was a student, that means, decades ago. Some small, some huge. And led by this challenging spirit, I naturally thought that it was the way I was handling changes and new habits myself.
Well, I was wrong! I’m not a Millennial. I’m older, and I grew up in a completely different world. A non-digital world. I’m also a Mom of two teenagers, almost adults, and have been married to the same man for more than 20 years, that means we’ve known each other for more than a quarter of a century. Clearly, I can’t function like a person who is in their late 20’s, without kids, and have known the world with the “world wide web” forever!
Challenge or change?
So I decided it was time for me to apply my last post principle (about XMoms), and to do things my own way. Or better, to explain things my own way, because I know how to handle a new habit, but I just thought the theory could be summed up to “take the challenge.”
I must be honest, I started this year with the determination of tackling 12 challenges, one a month. And keep the ones I thought where really beneficial, but also be inspired to improve a bit on the long run with the other challenges.
Amongst them, exercising for at least 30 minutes 4 to 5 times a week and doing Yin yoga for at least 15 minutes after each session. I wanted to quit sugar and coffee for a month. But also break my working day with a 20 to 30-minute meditation, stop watching videos during the week, get up at 5:00 am from Monday to Friday and taking cold showers. Or even, to practice “no-spend” month at least once or twice this year or to learn a new creative skill.
12 challenges a year
The new year started quite well. I was happy with my first challenge: exercising 4 to 5 times a week, every week. It was a challenge that I was supposed to keep even during our travels.
It’s going well even now, except when I’m travelling, but I’m looking forward to the summer break to improve on this point. However, when the month of February came, I was supposed to quit sugar for 28 days. I did not, not in the least. I managed to quit sugar for a 3-month period during the summer last year and the year before that, but this time, nothing happened. Then March came and to my disappointment, I bought 2 bags of coffee beans just before February ended, killing my March challenge in the process.
It only got worse when we travelled during March break, and my exercising habit flew away like a bird too. This, right there was my low point! I was starting to think, maybe I could handle two challenges in a month to go back on tracks. This way I was ignoring the first advice given by the very person who inspired me to change my new habits goals into “challenges.”
So I must explain myself. When I started exercising in January, it was not supposed to be a challenge. It was a new year goal that was supposed to last, simply because I want to get older in a body well taken care of. But then I came across this idea of 12 challenges a year.
And I thought that was great! It was far into January already, but no problem because my January challenge would be me exercising 4 to 5 times a week. Perfect!
The challenge idea ruined it all
So from there, I chose 11 other things I wanted to try, change or improve in the long run.
Then as I previously said nothing happened. My problem was not to change my habits. After all, I quit drinking alcohol a few years ago, we went on an almost perfect plant-based diet a year ago, I have already quit sugar or coffee for several months with great success in the past. Not to mention that changing countries and languages several times with two
teenagers were challenging enough!
I understood what was happening a couple of days after we came back from our March escape. My husband and daughter told to me to go to the gym and my answer was straight forward: “No way, and don’t even try to convince me!” Then I realized what I meant: “I’m doing enough already, for everyone, and everything in this house. I don’t want to be
challenged once more!”
That was it! Challenges are not for me because I feel like I already handled, and certainly will handle so many challenges in my daily life! Improvements and self-care shouldn’t be another challenge! They should be a treat I’m giving to my body and my soul!
X-Moms treats not challenges
Do you remember my last post about X-Moms? Well, here we are again. We are doing a wonderful job and we don’t have to consider self-care as another challenge. We deserve a treat, a reward for doing an amazing job. And this reward is giving our body and soul what they need to feel great!
The changes we need are there to help us improve, feel better and more content with ourselves. It’s not supposed to be a contest or a battle against our own mind. I believe that if we handle things this way, we are all in for a dramatic failure. Failure is not good, and once again. We are X-Moms, we deserve to feel great!
We are approaching the end of April, and I recently decided to change my point of view. No more challenges. I wanted to fall asleep listening to relaxing music while reading a book along with my husband and switch off the lights at 22:00. This was supposed to allow me to wake up at 5:00 am to go to the gym and do some yoga before my Mom’s day started. And I was supposed to take my cold shower after that just because I practiced this habit already and I recently discovered the numerous health benefits that come with it.
Instead of challenging myself with one goal at a time, I recognized that I needed a new evening and morning routine. My husband, children and I planned a new organization so each one of us could have the opportunity to take on their own new habits without being disruptive for the whole family’s organization. And things are going great!
How motivating success can be
I now slip into my bed at 20:30 from Sundays to Thursdays evenings, to read. We switch off the lights at 22:00. Wake up at 5:00 am. I go to the gym, exercise, do Yin yoga and take my cold shower before starting my Mom’s routine! No challenge, just a treat for myself, because I’m convinced that these habits are good for me, and I deserve the time and efforts
to include them into my schedule!
It feels great to manage all these changes. They don’t even feel restricting. They are simply like Russian dolls, logically fitting into each other to perfection. This way I managed to tackle 7 of these exhausting challenges I was first envisioning almost effortlessly. Well, obviously, we all need a little motivation to push yourself down the slope at first! But once you
are on your way, everything falls into place, and your new habits are just part of another routine of yours.
Have a great day!
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