Do you stick with a challenge?

Les and I are reading through an Advent devotional book this season. It’s something we try every few years—try, being the key word. We begin well, but, somewhere by the second week, it falls by the wayside as life crowds its way in. I’m proud to say we are up to date so far, even though we’ve had to make up a day a couple of times.

Photo by Anthony DELANOIX on Unsplash

I love a good challenge—30 days of this or 6 weeks of that. I barrel right in, set up my charts and engage with great enthusiasm. I just don’t usually finish well. I’m too much of an all-or-nothing woman; when I miss a day or week or whatever, I tend to throw in the towel on the whole enterprise.

That’s why I wanted to revisit a concept I talked about on the blog at the beginning of the year—my micro-cleaning schedule. If you didn’t get to read that post or don’t really remember, the rest of this post will make more sense if you go back and read it first.

For a whole year now, I have stuck to that checklist I wrote down on a page in my planner.

Every month I have completed every task on the list, with the exception last month of the second swiffering of my kitchen. I wrote that list and assumed I would revise it and codify it into a lovely computer-generated chart, but I never did. I still work off of photocopies of the planner page.

A portion of my actual list.

I don’t always complete a task each day (in fact, today I did 7 tasks in order to make up for all the days so far in December when I’ve been too busy working at Ten Thousand Villages or out viewing Christmas lights or losing myself in a jigsaw puzzle). But my house has been entirely cleaned every month for a year! This is huge for me. And because the tasks are broken down into micro chunks, even when I do multiple tasks in a day, it’s not very onerous. I can hardly believe it’s working, that I am getting the results I wanted when I scribbled it in desperation.

“Let us not become weary in doing good,
for at the proper time we will reap a harvest
if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

By taking the time to spell out the benefits of completing the challenge I am more committed to finishing it, even if I miss a day or task. The biggest benefit to me has been the list has made my life so much less stressful because I’m not assaulted by “shoulds” and guilt and feelings of failure as a wife (or even as a clean human being).

Maybe in 2020 I will commit myself to another challenge (likely) and actually follow it through (might be possible). My goal will be to structure it in micro chunks that are doable but get me to the goal, at whatever speed.

Now to determine the goals for 2020!

What are your goals for 2020?
* What micro (or macro) chunks will make up your challenge that gets you to the goal?
* What will be the benefits of regularly following through on the challenge?
* What will motivate you to keep pressing on when you miss a day or an activity?

Wishing you challenges committed to AND completed in 2020—challenges that will make a difference in your life.

4 thoughts on “Do you stick with a challenge?”

  1. I am soooo like you!! Thank you for sharing this…you make me feel normal!! I do well with lists too. I get satisfaction from crossing off the completed task. But for me it goes a bit deeper..its about keeping promises I made to myself..something I struggle with.. ~E~


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