Mind, Body and Soul 30-Day Challenges


July 1 marks the midway point of 2016. Six months ago many of us set intentions for the new year. How are those resolutions going? I know there are some #sweatworking attendees reading this who can honestly report that they are rocking those fitness goals.

For most of us, and I certainly speak for myself here, our thoughtful and sincere plans to meditate each day, run before work four times a week or cook three new recipes each week have dropped further down our list of priorities. Because, the thing is, when you take it day-by-day, a year is a long time.

Sometimes I have difficulty focusing on a task for one whole hour, so I can extend some grace to myself when I get distracted by 45 essays sitting on my desk or tempted by dinner out at the new sushi restaurant rather than whipping up chicken tikka masala at home. Understandably, our energy for those resolutions wanes as the year waxes on.

But, my energy is akin to popcorn in a frying pan right now when it comes to a newer concept: 30 Day Challenges! Just as I was gearing up for Whole30, I came across a five-minute Ted Talk titled, “Try something new for 30 days.” Matt Cutts enthusiastically explains the 30-day challenges he embarked on, and the differences they made in his life.

The emphasis for the 30 days is that you add something, or take something away, for every day. It is about forming a new healthy habit, or resetting one that no longer serves you. Perhaps the habit continues beyond the 30 days, or not. I am in my second month of 30 day challenges, and for June I dedicated at least 15 minutes of each day to reading in Spanish. To say I will do this for an entire year is not realistic for me, but I can do it for 30 days, and I can earnestly report that my brain is clicking with some of the Spanish grammar that I have struggled with for the past three years.

When setting yourself up for the most success, you want to devise a way to hold yourself accountable. Perhaps this is dialoguing with a friend or two frequently to explain your progress during the 30 days. It may also take the form of a calendar that you post in your classroom, office or on the refrigerator door, where you mark each day with a sentence or two connected to your goal. My favorite idea, though, is the bullet journal. If you are a fellow Type A-er, this will really tickle your fancy, and if your work space is a flurry of papers under your tea cup, this delightful system is going to help you get organized.

So ponder for a moment, what activities, foods or actions have you wanted to add in or take out of your life? July 1 is right around the corner, and so is June 16th … and tomorrow is a great day to commit yourself to a mind, body or soul challenge.

“Fortunate are those who take the first steps.”  ― Paulo Coelho

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About Jamie Bacigalupo

Having first traveled from her hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota, to live in Quito, Ecuador, she decided to give the East a run and is now a resident of Shenzhen, China. She earned her degree in Communication Arts/Literature and Communication and Secondary Education from Gustavus Adolphus College and is enthusiastically exploring Asia by teaching abroad. She digs hanging out with her students by weekday, and relishes finding new restaurants to eat authentic Chinese food and finding new hiking paths on the weekends. In addition to sticking her nose in a book to recover from an intense workday, Jamie also loves exploring all manner of flavors in the kitchen, especially when she is whipping up some recipes for her friends and family.