My blog began as a challenge to myself. I was moving into to a new season in my life and it felt way too much like ‘gloom and doom’. So, I set out to prove to myself I could actually get healthier. And I could do it by taking small steps.
My original intent was to commit to trying my 'small steps to healthier living plan' for a year and to keep myself accountable, I shared it with others via a weekly blog. That was over ten years ago, and I am still at it.
Recently I found myself reading some of my past blogs, I was reminded that what I enjoyed most of all about my decade of blogging wasn't carrying on about myself, but rather hearing from others about their own journeys.
It was 2016 and spring had just arrived. I decided to get my readers involved. I sent them out a challenge. Here’s what I wrote:
“For the next week, think about what you want to see bloom in your life; something that is calling you to action, a change you want to make, a goal you would like to achieve, a bad habit that needs to be pruned; a challenge that you want to take on. Remember it’s a season of fresh starts, so even if you’ve failed before it’s a chance for a ‘do over’.
Once you’ve given it considerable thought, then I dare you to commit to the 'Put Spring in Your Steps' challenge for 30 days. That’s right just 30 days. We can do anything for 30 days, right? ...Isn't it time to step up? Who can resist?”
And step up they did!
What fun it was to read and hear about my readers' month-long journeys.
Here are some examples of their inspiring challenges.
Kathy is an artist, so it was a natural for her to take on a challenge with her artwork.
She wrote, “After 10 years of an enthusiastic, late in life shift from business manager to working artist I find myself in a slump, seeking inspiration and motivation, and struggling to make the art that up until recently brought me much joy."
Kathy took on the challenge of sketching a picture in her art journal every day for a month.
Susan's challenge was to clean and organize her home.
“My summer vacation is finally here, and I do not want to waste one precious minute of it! It would be a thrill to try something completely different and write about it, but the truth is I’m extremely practical and just want to accomplish something on my to-do list.
Here was Susan's plan:
Spend 15-20 minutes per drawer or cupboard, focusing only on that task. Do 3 drawers or cupboards per day for 30 days.
"Sounds simple enough," wrote Susan, "but without the intention and the plan I might procrastinate all summer and never get it done. Thank you, Karen, for suggesting we challenge ourselves! Maybe one of you have something daunting on your to do list that you could divide and conquer in 30 days."
Shannon’s challenge was to help her family get healthier.
"I always thought of myself as a healthy person and felt like our family overall ate pretty well. But lately I’ve read a few articles and had some conversations that have gotten me thinking. I started to read some of the labels of what I was eating and was a bit taken aback by what I saw.”
Our family’s health is important; most importantly we want our 3 girls to fuel their bodies with healthy foods to help them grow and learn as best they can.
Our 30-day challenge is to get rid of highly processed foods and focus on eating more “real food.” We’ll try to rid our food of artificial colors/flavors/sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, Trans Fat, Preservatives, GMO’s, MSG and nitrates. We’ll focus on eating lots of fruits & vegetables, mostly grass-fed, free range local sourced meat and dairy, whole grains and ideally foods with 5 ingredients or less (or maybe 10 as long as I can read all the ingredients and know what they are)."
Sarah wanted to change her negative attitude about early mornings so she could enjoy morning workouts to become healthier.
"I am notorious for sleeping in. I love my long, lazy mornings on the weekends, and I usually roll out of bed during the week with just enough time to rush through getting ready and run out the door to work. I have been wanting to make a change in my sleep habits for a while. I became inspired as I read about Karen's 30-day challenge, so I decided to go for it. I love a good challenge; enjoy having something to work towards, and the thought of having some readers hold me to my goal was appealing to me.
I want to get healthier, and I heard about an early morning workout group. But that meant I had to get up at the crack of dawn. I thought this could be a good way to try to get me up and going. So, June 1st came around and I figured there wasn’t a better day to start a 30-day challenge than the beginning of a new month.
I set my alarm for 5am (eek!) I had a million reasons why I should stay in bed when my alarm went off, but I couldn’t fail on day 1 and especially if I was being held accountable!"
“It was perfect timing for me." wrote Heidi,
"As I read about Karen’s 30-day challenge, I was in the middle of researching clean eating and cleansing by diet. It’s all the rage, right? Maybe there is something to it? The way you eat can directly affect your health, your emotional state and could even heal your body and prevent illnesses or cure them? Why not try a 30-day program? I found a program that I thought might be right for my husband and I, it’s called Whole30. I was looking to fuel my body better for training and competition in triathlon and running and my husband was looking to lose weight and lower his blood pressure. I felt like this diet suited us both and it seemed “doable.”
Josh and Caren took on an especially unusual challenge….but I will let them tell you about it themselves.
And Eva's challenge involved drinking more water each day. I know you will love hearing more about her journey, as well as enjoy her helpers. So, make sure and sign up for our newsletter on the contact page, so you don't miss it.
Aren't these folks inspiring?
And …. we had 100% success from all the participants. They all met their 30-day challenges!
It was so much fun that I want to do it again.
So, for the next week, think about what you want to see bloom in your life; something that is calling you to action, a change you want to make, a goal you would like to achieve.
Come on now…. I know you have something that you would love to take on! I dare you to step up to the 30-day challenge.
Let us know what you're doing. Go to:
Facebook page (Small Steps for Healthy Living | Facebook)
or email me at https://firstname.lastname@example.org.
Write about it or tell us about it on YouTube. I would love to share it on my blog or newsletter.
I can't wait to hear from you!
(And to those of you who participated in my challenge before, make sure to join in again).