I ve always wanted to do this.
And in a way I ve always done this. Just that I failed more often than I succeeded. What I m talking about is a challenge.
For example writing a book in a month, like NaNoWriMo. Which is really a thing. It’s an abbreviation for National Novel Writing Month, and it takes place every November.
But my challenges were usually yoga challenges. The first one was in 2009 and I called it The Goddess Challenge. I did yoga twice a day, for half an hour. I did complete that one but all the others after failed massively or moderately, but whichever it was, it never gave me the satisfaction of the Goddess challenge.
And now I understand why.
And this is a huge insight that I only received a couple of days ago, and it has changed my love for challenges from an impulsive, can’t-not-do craving, to a Life’s Choice, which I will stand for and defend.
I will even go as far as to say that I ve reached the point where I m opposed to any new habit that is not a challenge. As a principle. Because the longer I think about it, the more I believe that you should go big or go home.
And yes, i know of all the research that says you re supposed to take baby steps because otherwise your reptile brain blocks, from too much change. I know all that. And I confess that I thought “they”- the babystep, ten minutes a day, people – were right.
And that I was wrong.
That I would just keep failing at my big challenges and they would laugh at me because they knew I would be totally rocking it (whatever “it” was) if I would just come over to their side and take things slowly. But now I know; No.
Not doing that.
I m on to something here, and I have always been on to that something, just that I didn’t know what it was. But now I do and I call it The Hero’s Journey, after the book by Joseph Campbell.
I received my insight on the purpose of challenges versus the danger-free small-change approach in an unusual place; Studying dating programs.
Those are programs that explain how to get your man and keep him, or how to bring the spark back into your relationship. These programs came with a catch, that I believe even the creators didn’t quite understand;
They gave you formulas and principles that you could only adopt if you pushed yourself to go next level.
So for example, the programs didn’t say; You must let go of all bitterness, and all righteousness. They said: Always let him know you are on his team, and that you respect him.
They didn’t say: You must let go of all past hurt and neediness. They said; Give him a chance to do practical things for you.
If the programs had been candy, it was candy that was stuffed on the highest shelve, and you would automatically, and without asking, go get a ladder to reach it. Whereas if the programs had said;
“In order to save your relationship you need to get a ladder.”
You would have been all like;
“A ladder? Why? They’re bulky! I don’t need a ladder to save my relationship!”
Or: “I don’t have time to get a ladder.”
But now that you had to get the candy? You yourself got that ladder, because you thought the candy was going to save the relationship. When in reality? It was the ladder.
The ladder/ candy analogy, is the reason why I believe challenges work. And baby steps, in their definition of something anyone can do and squeeze into their life and within their comfortzone, do not work.
Baby steps, new easy to do habits, are like candy that is already on the counter;
You either think you don’t have to change to reach it, or you really don’t have to change.
Now this doesn’t mean that it’s easy. Your whole internal system could still start revolting at the idea of taking baby steps, but the problem is, that you will not be very willing to put in any effort, in order to overcome resistance for something so small and silly.
Exactly the same way many women (and men) would revolt against the “candy”- what it is they have to do to save their marriage or become successful at dating - if it was handed to them too casually. But if they paid to get their hands on the candy?
Or if they were presented with a free video that was “online only for a limited amount of time”?
They would pay very close attention, and do everything that had to be done in order to reach the candy without questioning.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the phrase; “It’s about the journey, not the destination.”
“The Journey” represents that of course you’re getting the ladder, or putting in the time, effort and money, in order to reach the destination. And of course you’re going ALL IN in order to overcome any challenges to reach your destination.
What happens during a journey, is that you transform into something else. But that only happens if someone placed your candy on the highest shelve, if someone gave you a difficult dating life or frustration about a whole life going wrong in the first place.
The way to change yourself and your life, the way to come up with inventive solutions to crack the code, is to start by defining something as a challenge. A difficult and intimidating challenge.
Not something that is doable, or easy, because doable or easy will not inspire you to give it your all, and yet you d still be highly frustrated if you didn’t make it for your daily ten minutes on the mat.
But if you give yourself a HUGE challenge?
Either you drop out immediately. Which is cool, because then you were not ready anyway to give it your all in this area of your life.
Or you go ALL IN and you crack the code, solve the riddle, survive the marshes, meet the wizard, get lost, ask for help, lose your resources, hustle new ones, suffer injury, are healed, find the pot of gold, save the world, get the girl, or the guy obviously, AND you live happily ever after.
Is called The Hero’s Journey.
The Hero’s Journey
How I took my life next level doing yoga.
But you could also run, write, cook, or have sex for 365 days.
Start; Christmas 2017
Ends: Christmas Eve 2018
What; One hour of yoga a day minimum, and one two hour practice once a week
Resources/ how to do this yourself;
I m using the 1999 cd Yoga Sanctuary by Shiva Rea
cd 1 is Solar Practice 1h 15 minutes
cd 2 is Lunar Practice 1 h
cd 1 and 2 combined is 2 hours
You can follow this project for 365 days on my live blog and I ll post all lessons learned along the way on my Facebook and Twitter.