Challenge: Accepted

I’m a challenge junkie. Have something that flexes my willpower and tests my discipline (and is somewhat interesting)? I’m in.

While a lot of the challenges I’ve done in the past are fitness/nutrition-related like the Whole30 or a 30-day plank challenge, I can get excited about a lot of different flavors of challenges. Some that I’ve tried:

  • a 30 x 30 where you only wear 30 items of clothing from your wardrobe for 30 days (including shoes! gah!)
  • a no-Facebook challenge;
  • and, the ultimate challenge: growing out a pixie cut (something I’ve done more times than I can count. I doesn’t get easier.)

My favorite podcast, Note to Self, has challenges sometimes, too. Note to Self is all about “preserving humanity in the digital age.” Episodes cover things like what reading on a screen versus paper does to your brain; sexting; and the intersection of gaming and gender identity. Fascinating stuff.

The show has two challenges: Bored & Brilliant, which is designed to help you “detach from your phone and spend more time thinking creatively,” and Infomagical, which is designed to help you “find focus and discover the magic of clear thinking.”

I think about Bored & Brilliant every time I’m standing in line, waiting for a friend to join me somewhere–heck, anytime I have some time to fill and feel like whipping out my phone and checking email or scrolling through Instagram instead of daydreaming, reminiscing, problem-solving, or talking to the people around me (yes, even strangers!). One of the best things that I got out of Bored & Brilliant was that I turned off Facebook notifications on my phone. I have to choose to look at them now. (Full disclosure: I initially deleted Facebook from my phone entirely, but was actually losing time uploading the pictures I wanted to share. Turning off notifications was a happy compromise.)

Infomagical is newer and I haven’t had as much time to reflect on the challenge, but I will say that my main takeaway is similar to B&B’s: being mindful about what I choose to consume, and how I process and apply what I’ve consumed, makes a huge impact on my feelings of information overload.

I think what is so appealing about the challenges I’m drawn to is that there’s an opportunity to learn a lesson or nurture a positive behavior change through participating. It’s a fun way to self-reflect and self-improve.

What challenges have you done that sparked a change in your life?

What should I do next?

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