This past Sunday on the 29th of August I completed the inaugural #28Better challenge; here's what I learned.
I went into the challenge having selected 2 virtues to work on; discipline by way of daily workouts, and moderation by way of limiting my drinking. I had every excuse to not complete this challenge; my elbow was mostly unusable following a car accident, I’d just begun a new job, my 90-day meditation streak had been broken and I’d just been surprised with a long weekend trip to Rooi-Els, a beach town 5 km north of Pringle Bay.
With all these limitations in mind, you’d imagine that the most difficult aspect of the challenge was the physical one, but instead, it was moderation. I learned that it is easier to work out with a compromised elbow than it is to drink on some days and not others. It is much easier for our brains to commit fully than it is for them to commit on some days. If you plan on dropping a habit, drop it entirely for the duration of the 28 days.
I managed to complete a 45-minute workout for 15 of the 28 days, which is a 54% completion rate. In contrast, I was able to abide by my alcohol limit for 13 of the applicable 16 days, given that I took a break on the weekends, which translates to an 82% completion rate. This data seems to contradict my earlier point, but psychologically I found it more taxing to be limited on one day and not the other; there were many more mental negotiations that had to occur to stay on course.
An unexpected side effect of working out daily was that I began pushing myself further and further, to the point where I accomplished my most challenging climb to date — the Strand street pinch climb; a 0.55km, 31 metres vertical at a near-constant 5.5% grade. It doesn’t sound like much, but it felt truly hellish, and I got every inch of confidence to attempt and complete that climb from knowing that I’m the type of person that completes such challenges. Once I’d committed to the climb, nothing could stop me!
That power of personal transformation is the true gift and purpose of #28Better — in only 28 days you can discover your inherent ability to transform yourself and your life. Today, the 1st of September, I start my second #28Better — join me!