I’ve been watching the launch of the 100 Days of Real Food book with interest. There are also 100 days left in the year, and some resolutions associated with that. Taking on an “X-day” challenge for a short period of time is a popular concept. I know many people who’ve tried “Whole30” (basically, eating Paleo for 30 days). Gretchen Rubin’s 21-day projects (to stop yelling at your kids, to declutter your life) have done well. People write books about a year spent doing something (e.g. not spending money). If you think about it, the idea of giving something up for Lent taps into a similar vein. You challenge yourself to do something with strict rules for 40 days.
I’m working on a story on why such challenges are appealing. Change is hard, to be sure. Change for short periods of time sounds doable. Of course, then there’s the question of what happens on Day 31, or 22, or 41, or 101. Do you go back to eating junk? Or drinking? Or letting the mail pile up, or whatever it is you’d worked to change? Does adopting a habit for a short bit of time help you build that habit long term — or is that not always the point?
I’m really curious what people’s experiences with this have been. Have you done a challenge for a certain number of days? Why? Did you stick with it, and then how did it affect your life after?
As a side note, I think I’m more of a “moderator” than an “abstainer,” which may be why strict challenges don’t appeal to me as much as they do to some. I have done stunts to write about them, like a week of waking up early, or a week of checking email twice a day, but If I want to adopt a habit, I’ll try to find small ways to incorporate it into my life for the long haul, but without strict rules about it. I aim to run most days, and I do, but I don’t have a rule to do at least 5 days a week, and at least 3 miles per day (even though I almost always achieve that). I have been trying to eat healthier and so I over-buy fruits and veggies as a way to have them around and handy, but I’ve not tried to cut out processed food from my life. What’s your approach?
Photo: Seriously, are there 100 days left in 2014? Almost time to order a new planner…