My 100 Day Challenge

I was reading an article the other day in a magazine about a lady who had done 100 comedy gigs in 100 days – wow, I thought, that’s really going for it. Her rationale for it was that you only get good at something if you practice every day for a sustained duration of time. It seems there’s a movement out there – #100daychallenge.

Without making myself feel inadequate by comparing myself to extraordinary people, I began to think about what habits I would like to introduce into my life, which would make a positive difference.

Having gone through a hurtful break up very recently, which rather knocked me sideways, this challenge appealed to me as not only would it create some good habits, it would also allow me to get back some control in my life.

I also know that challenges suit me, particularly ones that take some time. The sense of achievement as I continue to reach smaller goals motivates me and keeps me going.

I began with one habit – the one I have been dabbling with off and on for a few years now, without managing to make it a daily habit – meditation. That didn’t seem challenging enough though, and I wasn’t sure if it would create enough change or instill enough discipline. So I added 4 more:

  1. Wake up at 6.30am
  2. Meditate
  3. Read my reference books for at least 30 minutes
  4. No snacking between meals
  5. Tweet at least once a day

I figured the first one is the key to getting the next 2 done also, as I can tackle the first 3 before anything else in the morning. So far that seems to have worked as it gives me the motivation to stick to the other 2 for the day.

For this to work for me, it required a gold star progress reporting structure, so my fridge now has my 5 daily goals and a grid with 10 x 10 boxes with a number from 1 to 100 in each box. Each day I get to cross off a box and for every ten days successfully completed I get a gold star. Love it!

I am already 10 days in (gold star being awarded today), and feeling strong, and confident that I can do it and that it will have a very positive affect on my life.

The Power of Perspective

Last night I went to see a viewing of Dead Poet’s Society in memory of Robin Williams. The showing was put on by Bedford Film Festival and hosted at The Pad – a great night.

The part which particularly resonated with me this time involves the Robin Williams character, Mr Keating, standing on the desk to get a different perspective of the world, and then encouraging the boys to do the same.

As it happens, this morning I was reading ‘Mindfulness – A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World’ by Mark Williams and Danny Penman (which I would thoroughly recommend). The opening quote was,

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking out new landscapes but in having new eyes – Marcel Proust

The chapter talks about how we often get a different view of a situation with some minor change in circumstance, and this can happen in seconds. The example they use is seeing a landscape in cloud and then in sunshine – this happens quickly and can transform our experience. In a similar way, our response to someone can transform from fearing them to feeling warmly towards them, by a simple change in expression from a frown to a smile.

Viewing people, places and situations in a different light or from a different perspective can happen quickly and it can also happen with the passing of time. Think of something that really bothered or upset you yesterday, and then imagine how you might view that same situation in a month’s time. The impact of even quite significant emotions changes over time, sometimes we even get to laugh about things which at the time made us cry.

Changing your perspective can transform your experience of life, and we can do this consciously, as well as subconsciously. We can do this as a result of a change in circumstance – response to a smile or the sun, or as a result of time passing. We can also do this by choosing to look at things from a different perspective, from a different point of view, from another person’s point of view, from a distance.

This is a powerful tool if we choose to use it, and one which is unique to humans. What’s bothering you today which you could choose to view differently?