Alright, I guess it’s time to get honest.
I’ve failed every single challenge I’ve undertaken since starting my blog, 30 Day Challenge Dude.
I started the blog right after I quit sugar for 30 days. I was all fired up about having quit something that has haunted me basically all my life. I had momentum. I was on fire for 30 day challenges!
I set the goal of starting a new 30 day challenge every 2 weeks. Looking back, that was incredibly ambitious. It wasn’t long until I changed it to only a single 30 day challenge every month.
It kept getting worse. I failed the “Wake up at 7am” challenge after 2 short weeks and eventually just unpublished the original post. I tried to keep going on the “Intermittent Fasting” challenge but failed that soon after. I unpublished that post.
My momentum was gone. My fire snuffed out.
It seems like a bummer on the surface. I set out to create a blog where I could track my progress on improving my life. I didn’t end up making any progress worth writing about. Must suck for me and my blog, right?
Since scrapping the challenges that I publicly posted on my blog, I’ve had a bit of a shift. I’ve started five new 30 day challenges. I’m 2 weeks into two that I’m really excited about. I started the other three this week but we will see how they go!
Below are some reasons I think I failed so miserably at those initial challenges. Plus, I go over what I’ve done recently to change things up and actually implement positive change in my life.
If you often find yourself failing to reach goals you’ve set for yourself, you are likely running into one or more of these blocks.
My Changes Became Externally Motivated
Once I started doing 30 day challenges for my blog instead of for myself, I was basically doomed. I quit sugar before the blog started. I did it because I really wanted to eliminate it from my life and live healthier. Once I started doing 30 day challenges simply to document them for my blog, I was doing it for my readers and for an ulterior motive.
One of the core truths in life is that if you want to make changes in your life, it has to come from within. No outside force can change you if you don’t want to be changed. You see this often with recovering addicts and alcoholics. Someone’s parents/spouse/children will desperately want them to change. They’ll do everything they can to give them what they need to get sober. They’ll pay for rehab, pay rent for sober living, take them to meetings, and give them endless emotional support. But unless the person is ready, unless they have that earnest desire to get better, it’s all for naught.
This is what happened to me. My desire to change became motivated by something other than myself. If you’re struggling, take a look at your goals and figure out if the end product is something you truly want.
What I Did to Fix It: I decided to start 30 day challenges and only report on them if I finished them. This way, I can make changes that I really want to make in my life and then relay what happened. For example, I lost my enthusiasm for intermittent fasting. I was far too hungry in the morning and it wasn’t worth the benefit for me. But I had this pressure of posting my intention to intermittent fast for 30 days on the blog. I felt that I had to continue even though I was miserable. It was horrible. Now I’m doing 30 day challenges that I find useful. If I stop finding them useful, I stop doing them.
I Was Putting Unnecessary Pressure on Myself
I’m hard enough on myself as it is! When I added the pressure of answering to my readers on top of completing difficult 30 day challenges, it became too much. I wilted under the pressure.
When we set goals, it’s important to monitor the pressure we’re putting on ourselves. If the pressure is so much that it makes us want to throw up our hands and admit defeat…well that’s just too much. This sort of relates to the final reason I ended up failing…
What I Did to Fix It: I simply stopped taking this project so seriously. I still went about implementing changes in my life, but it became okay to fail. I stop and start 30 day challenges as I go, depending what is useful to me at this point in my life. I’m looking more at the process than the final product and I feel so much better.
Because people were going to be reading about my 30 day challenges, I wanted them to be perfect. I didn’t want to have to lie about not waking up at 7am on a few days of the challenge. I wanted to be authentic. But I took it too far. I didn’t get enough sleep. I was miserable.
I took on this attitude of “30 day challenges have to be perfect or they aren’t really 30 day challenges”. This simply isn’t true. You can fail sometimes. Just get back on the horse. If you keep failing, just restart! There is no “30 Day Challenge Completion Committee” that is going to deem you a failure if you don’t make or break habits in a certain way.
For example, I’m currently doing a 30 day challenge related to nutrition. I give myself a cheat day on Saturday. It’s freaking great. If I didn’t have Saturday to look forward to, I’d lose my mind. It’s important to be easy on ourselves and give ourselves a break. We’re working toward positive change and we’ll slip up sometimes.