Today, I started my latest Healthy 65 Challenge. This is a life-improvement initiative launched by co-worker Juliana Keeping last year to cover 65 days from about Thanksgiving to after the first of the next year. This time, it actually will end Ground Hog Day, Feb 2. It's an informal challenge, but I found last year that it helped me have a healthier mindset that went beyond the stated goal of significantly reducing my exorbitant gum consumption. I exceeded that goal and continue to follow the plan that helped me there. (It just occurred to me that Julianna says one thing she likes about 65 days is that it should be long enough to establish a new habit. But for me and my gum chewing, I'm very aware that reduced gum-chewing did not become a habit for me, and if I didn't keep daily track, I'm pretty sure I'd quickly be back to the super excessive amount. Seems crazy but I know it's true.)
Anyway, I wasn't sure I would participate this year. I couldn't think of a worthy physical challenge I wanted to take on. But then a healthy behavior came to mind. So my #Healthy65 Challenge is to abstain from complaining. I want to quit whining and pointing out the negative. I want to say something positive or say nothing at all. And I want to somehow do this without denying or stuffing my feelings.
Between Wednesday, when I came up with my goal, and Sunday, I was having second thoughts and even took comfort in knowing I didn't have to be perfect. If my goal is just one or two days a week, it wouldn't even have to be the first day. But of course, I did want a strong start. So I figured I might as well try.
And now it's 9:45 pm, and I have succeeded so far. It seems every time I normally would have complained or whined, I was able to remain silent, praying as needed, until I could think of something neutral or positive to say about the situation. And there were plenty of times that pause was needed. After all, it is Monday, and I work a full-time job. Anyone who knows me knows what I am talking about.
I am amazed. It felt very peaceful and satisfying. I hope I can keep this up. I really liked the result today.
So, here's the continued approach:
-- Try not to say anything until I work through to the gratitude or at least can be neutral.
-- Instead of complain, I will strive to say (or at least think): What can I do? How can I help? What can I be grateful for here?
-- Pray. Be still and listen for God. Trust and obey.