In my blog reading a few weeks ago I came across a post which has played on my mind. I’ve admitted to this habit before – I mull over stuff all of the time. Yes, it’s true. My name is Deborah and I am a ‘muller’!
Actually – in all honesty – I cannot tell you how much richer my life is, as a result of the stuff I get put onto by other bloggers, writers and the like.
New discoveries aside; the post in question was by Chubby Girlfriend from Boyfriends Make You Fat and it linked to this clip.
I’d encourage you to watch it as it’s only three and a half minutes.
I’m not much into challenges, indeed I wrote a somewhat sarcastic blog post earlier this year about the myriad doing the rounds. Plank-a-day, Burpees-a-day, Push ups-a-day… and so forth. I got the point where I thought I might scream if another update appeared in my Facebook feed or I saw yet-another tweet pronouncing someone’s latest achievement. #Killmenow I was thinking.
However, I have recently partaken in a couple of low-key challenges from o/s bloggers: I agreed to post my weight each week over the month of May (just on her site, to keep ourselves honest); and at Easter I committed to exercise all four days of the break.
Easy peasey. No hard taskmaster was standing over me with a stopwatch and clipboard and there were no public lashings if I failed in my task.
But given this antipathy towards the whole ‘challenge’ concept I was a bit ‘meh’ about the clip. Until I watched it.
Matt Cutts is no fire and brimstone evangelist or self-help book toting public speaker. He describes himself as just a desk-dwelling IT geek. His TED talk focuses on goal-setting – just by trying something new/different for 30 days. After all, he says, the 30 days are going to pass no matter what… Why don’t we take the opportunity to add or subtract something from our lives, which we’ve been aching to do.
“You can do anything for 30 days,” he says.
Another blogger from my diet world, the lovely Satu, recently talked about breaking bad habits. We do this in two ways she suggested. Firstly (the one I’m most prone to use) is the wham-bam-thank you-maam option (aka Innovation). It’s effective and brings immediate results. But if you’re like me, it’s often short-lived. The other option (the Kaizen way / continual improvement in a business-sense) involves slow incremental change. It’s all about integrating small steps into our daily lives until we no longer notice they were never there.
Cutts has the same advice in his TED talk. He says that the smaller changes were (for him) the ones most likely to stick.
When I read through the list of stuff he did over a period of a few months, I thought… ‘shit, I could do that’. Little things. Little changes: 10,000 steps a day and biking to work. Etcetera. He commented that participating in the challenges made time more memorable. (Living in the moment, perhaps?)
Having completed a photo-a-day challenge, he said he could look back over any photograph he’d taken over that time and recall exactly where and when it was taken.
Aussie blogger, Chantelle from Fat Mum Slim has been hugely successful with her Photo-a-Day challenges. I must confess I’ve never really ‘gotten’ the concept. I suspect this is for two reasons: the aforementioned antipathy towards ‘challenges’; and the fact that I’m not really into photography or visuals. Sure I use pictures in my blogs, but for me words are all-important. I’m an auditory thinker and though I love pretty stuff (don’t we all?!) I’m not usually patient enough to think about creating it for myself.
But… inspired by Matt Cutts, I am going to do Fat Mum Slim’s Photo-a-Day for June. I can’t promise my life will be any richer. I can’t promise my photographs will be anything other than blurry waffle, but… I might as well give it a try. Because I have nothing to lose and everything to gain, including some perspective. I hope! Cutts said his challenges got bigger and bigger as he went along. So that’s where I’m headed.
Oh, and by the way… I’m also aiming to NOT eat any corn chips, rice cakes or chocolate for 30 days. As I pronounce this I’m reminded of the apoplectic fit I had when my therapist tried to force me to agree to this very thing at Easter in a ‘never again’ way. But… as Cutts says, we can do ANYTHING for 30 days. Can’t we?
What would you give up or start doing in a 30 day challenge?