And welcome back for the 30-day challenge. I’m going to be honest, this started out as a pretty simple challenge basically just about social media. But the more comments, facebook posts & emails I got about this yesterday…the more I realized that it needed to be something more than that. That maybe we all really need something more than that right now.
So it’s now a challenge made up of five parts. Five small steps to getting back to….you. To remembering why you’re in this in the first place. To getting that fire back and gaining a clear vision, maybe for the very first time, on where it is that you’re trying to go. I don’t think it holds all the answers. But I do think that it might just give you enough space & focus to find them on your own. We’ll be giving you a different step every day this week, and you’ll have the next 30 days to see them through. The next 30 days that could maybe change the course of the next 30 years. Or, maybe just the course of the next 30 days. Either way, it’s worth it.
Here we go, don’t get scared now.
Step 1: Eliminate the negative. Accentuate the positive. This first step is really all the challenge was going to be about originally. So that should tell you just how important of a step I think it is. As I mentioned in this earlier post, I’ve been filtering out the negativity on my twitter feed. But the real truth is…lately I’ve been doing this in all forms of communication with the outside world: blogs, twitter, facebook….and yes, even real life people. And I can’t tell you what a difference it’s been making. I had no idea how much all of it was weighing me down until I decided to let go of it.
I don’t know about you, but I absorb other people’s negativity like a sponge. I soak it in, every last drop, and then I hold on to it until it ruins my entire day. Even if it had absolutely nothing to do with me, just seeing someone’s angry rant or a comment thread bashing someone else gives me a pit in my stomach that I carry around the rest of the day. It sucks me in. I give my energy to it. I lose a little bit of faith in humanity because of it. I stew on it. I stress over it. Until all that negativity becomes a part of me too.
Now just imagine what it does if the thing I saw was actually about me (and believe me, we have more than our fair share of those). Yea, that can take days to bounce back from.
But sometimes, and here’s the hard part, it’s our own negativity that we have to deal with. Sometimes, if we’re being really honest, it’s the negativity that we bring to the table by comparing ourselves to others or wishing for what they have that really causes us the most harm. Because it hardens our hearts. Makes us ungrateful for all the things we do have. Postpones our happiness to some undisclosed point in time in the future. And when we give all of our fuel to that fire, we should not be surprised to wake up one day and find that our own spark inside us has burnt out.
Now since I don’t know of any overnight cure for the disease that is comparison or the epidemic of negativity that surrounds us, in this case the best medicine will have to be prevention. A one-month detox if you will. A chance to get all of that negativity out of our system, so that somewhere under the broken pieces we can start to find us again.
So what am I suggesting? For the next 30 days, I want you to go on a communication detox. From the blogs you read, to the people you follow on facebook and twitter, to the people you allow into your world in real life. Completely and vigilantly filtering out all the negative. But here’s the thing, and maybe the most important part: this is not one of those drink only water and cayenne pepper and starve yourself for the next 30 days kind of detoxes. You know, metaphorically speaking. This is the kind of detox where we’re not only eliminating all that is bad for us, but we’re making sure to feed ourselves plenty of the good stuff in its place. The kind of stuff that actually nourishes us. And pushes us to be better people.
So here’s your action plan. For the next month, in each of these areas I want you to do this:
blogs: For the next 30 days, I want you to create a temporary RSS feed in your reader of choice. Actively add in only blogs that you believe will feed your soul. Things that inspire you, uplift you, get the creative juices flowing. For me, this will be things like design blogs, food blogs, the Daily Om, Joel & Victoria Osteen‘s blog, and then I’ll also add in anyone whose blog I already read who has a track record of consistently putting out feel good posts, like Miss Gail Werner who I just adore . As for your normal reader, I want you to close it. And make a pledge not to open it for the next 30 days. Anything that you didn’t actively add to your temporary reader as something you believe will continue to inspire you gets filtered out for the next month. Anything that is constantly negative or drama-filled gets filtered out. And any blog that you currently read, as good and well-meaning as it might be, that consistently brings out the comparison monster in you (yes even if that includes this blog) gets filtered out. It’s only for 30 days. It will still be there when you get back.
twitter: Now I want you to go and do something similar for twitter. If you’re not ready to filter out all the negativity on your regular account, create a temporary account just for the next month. From that account, follow only positive people and people who will push you to live better/ think more creatively. For me, that list will include Women’s Health magazine, Dave Ramsey, Tim Sanders, Joel Osteen, Ellen, and Rachel LaCour to name a few. For the next 30 days, check only this timeline. You’re still more than welcome to update your own status under your real twitter account. But I also challenge you to only tweet (or retweet) positive, encouraging or helpful things. Be part of the solution, not the problem.
facebook: Plain and simple, stay off of the facebook news feed. It is a black hole of bitterness that will suck you in every time. If there is someone you want to check in with, actively go to their page. The only exception for going to the home page is to check birthdays. Then go leave that person a little birthday note. Spread some love.
and finally, real life people: For the next 30 days, surround yourself only with positive people. Grab lunch with them, take them out to coffee, have them over for dinner. Dream with them, and let them push you to dream bigger. For anyone who has a track record of sucking your energy dry and spewing negativity to everyone around them (you know who they are), well for them you’re going to be too busy washing your hair. For the next 30 days.
Whew. Ok, there it is. Step 1.
I know it sounds like a lot. And maybe even a little unattainable right now. After all, 30 days is a long time to make such drastic changes in the daily rounds we’ve become so accustomed to. But it’s called a challenge for a reason. And at the end of the day, if it wasn’t hard work it wouldn’t be worth it.
And as you go boldly in the direction of becoming who you were meant to be, just keep reminding yourself of this:
So who’s up for the challenge?? Let us know by leaving a note in the comment box below, and that way we can all help support each other! Let us know what you plan on doing to eliminate the negative & accentuate the positive in your life for the next month!