Not so long ago I started an experiment and I called it the #30DaysChallenge. I decided to do something uncomfortable every single day for 30 days, something that pushes my limits and makes me try something I would normally say no to. It was just a random thought, but it brought me more than I expected.
I didn’t read this in a lifestyle magazine and it wasn’t a conscious self-development method either. It was a Friday evening when a friend called me to join him wall-climbing and instead of saying Nah, maybe next time I said: I’m in!
I never tried my wings in climbing as a sport before. There was no rope and my hands started paining so badly after taking my first route on the wall that I could almost hear them begging me to stop. But I thought, who am I to seem like a chicken in front of everyone in the gym, so I distracted my mind from the discomfort and kept on trying as long as I could. I fell a lot and for an impatient person like me going back and attempting the same thing over and over again felt pleasantly new and encouraging. It is a sport which moves every bits of your body and you got to put everything you have into it to stay up there, taking one small step at a time.
I couldn’t help drawing the parallel between life and my first climbing experience, and two cold beers (which were heaven to my burning hands) were enough to get me so enthusiastic about the entire thing that I posted my commitment on Facebook to pursue a challenge every single day for a month. It wasn’t until the very next morning when I realized it’s not as easy as cool it sounds…
I am not a person to break my own word so I tried my best to come up with something before or after working hours and on busy weekends, or to drag my friends into the game who were willing to support me to do something ridiculous that meant a lot for me. I still worked long hours in office, I still did a fair amount of workout and I still said yes to social invitations. I had my own battles to fight in my everyday life or during work, but none of them counted in the game, since this month was about going the extra mile.
Sometimes, you plan out everything in a perfect manner and then friends don’t show up, things don’t work out and you might fall sick like I did (Warning: such experiences can affect sleeping patterns). That’s when you realize that you can’t say Not today, you have to keep going because you are the only one who is accountable for your mission and you cannot pick a rain date or pass it on to somebody else.
You can choose emotionally or physically challenging tasks, you can change your mind about what you are up to that day, there is only a single rule: You have to do something every day. It might be something that you have been procrastinating for long, although challenges don’t always knock on your door. At times it is harder to come up with the next idea than actually doing it.
It can be a thing that scares you. It can be something that you think you can’t do. It can be a call you always say no to or breaking an addiction –even if it’s a socially acceptable one. Scared of heights? It’s time to hit the tallest building in the city! Can’t do without makeup, social media or caffeine? Say goodbye to them for a while. Do you have a secret wish to try something unconventional or keep some words in your mind that you should finally tell someone? Go ahead! There is no point to wait any longer. You might choose some challenges which are bigger than you, and that’s completely okay. This experiment is about trying and taking that step is a success in itself.
The point of posting my experiences every day was not to impress anyone, but that I couldn’t back off from completing my commitment. Nevertheless, I got surprising and often heart-warming responses from people who gained strength or inspiration from what I did and wanted to follow my steps. I couldn’t be happier and I firmly believe it is beneficial to everyone to go through this experiment –whether telling it to the world or keeping it your own little secret.
Why am I so confident in this?
Because breaking your fears is an incredible experience. Because pushing your limits will make you realize how small your problems are. Because you will then notice that whatever it is you take on, if you have belief in it, then you can do it. And lastly because you might end up meeting new people on the way and having tons of fun.
Completing a 30 Days Challenge will lead you to experiences you will remember for long. So don’t stop after the month is over! If it brings you courage, then make it a lifestyle and start saying yes to insane ideas and risky opportunities that come in your way. If it brings you determination, then set monthly or quarterly goals and build something sustainable. Either way, don’t sink back to normal because routine is more painful than any challenge you can imagine.
And trust me: You can.