#21days done! Now what?

July 19, 2010 · 20 comments

Shall we keep this going?

For those who took part in the #21days challenge – well done!!!!! I hope moving forward you are now in a good enough habit to permanently make the changes you identified. At risk of sounding like a parrot, the true test is only just beginning – will you keep it going or will you pack it all in?

For those who didn’t take part – a group of us identified a change that we wanted to make to our lives and for the next 21 days we carried out activities we thought may help us achieve these changes.

Doing an activity for 21 days solid is supposed to be long enough for a permanent habit to form – we effectively took part in a group experiment to see if it worked! The original post about desire and routine is here, and the post with details of the last challenge is here.

If you took part and would like to share your #21days experience with the rest of us, feel free to leave a comment below. I have heard some people may be writing blog posts too, so make sure you leave a link so we can find it easily.

Again, a big thank you to everyone who took part. It’s been great hearing about everyone’s challenges.

What next?

I had an idea about how we could try and keep some of the momentum going and wanted to see if anyone else was up for my proposition?

From the 1st to the 21st of each month, the challenge can run for whoever wants to take part. Of course people can start before or after, but having a set timeline makes it easier for people to share their journey with others. You can make your changes together and help each other along the way, just like before.

My thinking was that there probably needs to be a gap between challenges to give people time to think about their changes and to find more people to join in, but too much of a gap and momentum may be lost. #21days has made a genuine difference to some people’s lives, so why not keep it going?

What do you think of the 1st – 21st approach?

Would you be up for taking part?

If you took part last time, how did you find your experience?

(If you like my posts, sign up to my RSS feed here or subscribe by email near the top right of this page)

Scridb filter
  • http://scottgould.me/ Scott Gould

    Congrats on a very successful campaign Robert!

  • Alastair

    Like the thinking Robert – I'm now sticking to mine. I had a few wobbles that were out of my control so intend to make up for them by extending (and hopefully carrying on with) the #21days challenge.

    I would suggest maybe once a quarter for new challenges as this gives us enough time to think up the new ones and reflect on the last one – just my opinion though :)

  • jonathanalder

    Hi Robert. I think 1st-21st is a great strategy for taking the idea forward. As you say, people have enough time to review their activity and plan the next challenge. And you can't lose track of your progress… You just need to look at a calendar!

    For me #21days was a great exercise. My goal was keeping me desk clear – a simple enough task, surely. But despite several attempts in the past I have failed. Not this time though. With 'virtual' accountability to my fellow #21day-ers, I kept it clear.

    But it's about more than a clear desk. The discipline of keeping my desk clear has spilled across to other work-related behaviour, which I know is making me more efficient, and helping me make better use of my time (a REALLY important issue for me).

    So the next challenge? I think it will be making time to read something work-related for 15 minutes every day. But ask me again on 1st August. I look forward to catching up with everyone then!

  • http://www.robertpickstone.com Robert Pickstone

    Thanks Scott! Would be great if you take part in the next one – however big or small the change :-)

  • http://www.robertpickstone.com Robert Pickstone

    It was quite tricky deciding the approach for the next one so I thought I would just put my idea out there and see what feedback came back. Pros and cons to every approach but I think this way will allow people to take part every month, every few months, whenever they want really – just need to start on the 1st of the month to join in with others. I am running pretty low on energy after the last challenge (still going to exercise 4 or 5 times a week though) so whatever I decide to do next month will be home or office based!

  • http://www.robertpickstone.com Robert Pickstone

    The general tracking ease of the 1st to 21st was another reason for my suggestion but I didn't want to explain it in too much detail in the post in case I just started boring people!

    It's great that #21days not only helped with your goal, but with other behaviours too. Keeping fit had a similer effect with me – other parts of my daily life received a small boost too.

    The virtual accountability is a really good point. There was no way I was going to stop either with others looking on. I feel the same way when I do things for charity – there is no turning back once people start sponsoring.

    The reading something work related sounds like another interesting challenge – look forward to hearing your final decision!

  • http://twitter.com/ChrisPenberthy Chris Penberthy

    Thanks for the update Rob – and for getting #21days going, it's a great idea.

    I think the idea of doing #21days on a scheduled basis is a good idea, and monthly seems about right – it means that there is some rhythm to it, and that people can choose to do it every month or on a different frequency, but that there will still be likely to be others also doing it (if that makes sense).

    I didn't do very well first time round – although habits were challenged, I didn't manage to be consistent and do things every day so have not managed to change them. Having been reflecting on my failure (for want of a better word), I thought I might share the key points as others might find something useful in them as they plan their #21days activity…

    I opted to do two challenges – big mistake! I suddenly had two additional calls on my time, and two habits to try to change. Next time I'll be sensible and do only one!

    If you are trying to change something that means there is a backlog (emails, reading, cleaning…) try to do something about it before the #21days starts- ditch, blitz, choose to ignore, whatever it takes in order for the backlog not to be seen as a mountain that will never be conquered in the limited time you have set on a daily basis – for me I should have blitzed the flat before starting on my 30 minutes a day of chores, instead of feeling that I was never going to get on top of it in the time I had.

    Make the most of the online community – admit difficulties, celebrate success, encourage others and be encouraged by them. I didn't, and think if I had then I might not have got dispirited by lack of progress and ending up not sticking to the challenge.

    Don't expect creativity to be bound by time – the daily allocation could well be exceeded (often I ended up writing for more than 30 minutes a day).

    I would be interested to hear what tips others have arrived at (whether through successful or less so engagement in the challenge) – after all, I'll be doing it again, and want to better next time.

  • http://www.juusmedia.com/ Jason Stanley

    Really well done on this! I think I'd just got back from my honeymoon when I'd heard about the #21 days task (that's my excuse) so I shall be taking this up in August.

    Just going to make up a list of changes/tasks and single out one!

    I'll keep you posted!

  • http://www.robertpickstone.com Robert Pickstone

    Great that you're going to get involved Jason!

  • http://twitter.com/XlilmissdeppX Shayna Joynes

    i took part in the last 21 days challenge and failed due to falling ill at the beginning if the challenge:( and because its august first today i'll start up a new one on september 1st :D ( probably an easier one as well ahahah ! xx shayna xx

  • Brock Patterson

    Robert,

    Thanks for the message about continuing on the #21days challenge. I am most definitely in. And I believe that I am going to continue the challenge as a lifestyle. Here is a brief backdrop.

    To date I have lost 100 lbs. since 2006. I have a goal to lose an additional 25-35 more. To say that it has been a challenge is an understatement. But rewarding nonetheless. There are so many things I want to give back because of winning this challenge. And thanks to you and your challenge. Timing was perfect.

    I posted every day for 21 days. My goal was to run each day, as close to 3 miles. And I did just that. Sure, there were days I had to get up at 5 a.m. to get the run in, or do it late in the evening. But I did it. No excuses. I didn't want to hear my own thoughts tell me no.

    So here I am for round 2. I am going to spend an hour each day or night working on my training/speaking business.

    I wish everyone good luck with your challenges and I am leaving you with a quote I came up with when I decided to take control of my weight and my life.

    “Be honest with yourself, it's the one person you have to trust the most.” -Brock Patterson

    Serving You,

    Brock Patterson

  • manningfinance

    Late posting but this time mine is on the physical side. Will get back to cardio and strength training a minimum of 4 – 5 x/week.

    Onward and upward…

  • Alastair

    Mines a little simpler this month – I'm going to comment on other people's blogs at least once a day (this one doesn't count!) I want to support other bloggers as much as possible, especially the local community :)

  • http://www.robertpickstone.com Robert Pickstone

    You have tons of time to think about one then (and you can also laugh – I mean encourage – the rest of us in the meantime)!!!

  • http://www.robertpickstone.com Robert Pickstone

    Brock,

    Credit to you for giving it your all. Deep down you wanted change, as you got the ball rolling well before #21days, but the routine and habit looks like it has helped recently too. That is what #21days is all about – helping to change.

    Your honesty is amazing, your quote is spot on and I am genuinly a bit taken back by what you have just shared.

    Thank you very much

    Rob

  • http://www.robertpickstone.com Robert Pickstone

    Great that you're involved again and I think Jed Langdon is also doing a physical challenge if you want to help each other along. Good luck with it…

  • http://www.robertpickstone.com Robert Pickstone

    Those bloggers will sure appreciate the effort you're making and I think Ann Holman also carried out the blog comments challenge last time. Might be worth asking her about if it has made a difference or not? I hope it has!

  • http://www.jedlangdon.com/ Jed Langdon

    Hi Rob and all,

    When I was thinking about why the first round of #21days was so successful, I remembered a brilliant quote by Tim Smit that I wanted to share with everyone:

    “I discovered a technique that revolutionised my life. It’s called lying – or rather, the telling of future truths. It’s about putting yourself in the most public jeopardy possible and saying ‘I am going to do this’, so the shame of not doing it would be so great it energises every part of your being.”

    This quote perfectly encapsulates how I felt during the first #21days challenge because that's what #21days is – the telling of future truths. My challenge, to get the train to work everyday was tough due to the amount of exercise and early starts, but there was no way I was going to let my new tribe down, so the thought of public humiliation drove me.

    Since the last #21days I have continued catching the train every day and I can honestly say that it feels like a habit. The only thing that I have let slip slightly is the amount of exercise I do during my trip to work. I started out cycling everyday, but gradually I have started walking more and more. Whilst it is a good walk, I wouldn't call it hard exercise.* For the next 21 days (or 19 days now) I am going to either cycle or run to and from work and add some extra distance at the weekends!*

    It's great to hear everyone else's experiences and challenges for this time round. Keep them coming guys, I'm psyched!

    Jed

  • http://www.brockpatterson.blogspot.com Brock Patterson

    Hello Rob and everyone,

    I noticed something is a little different in my journey for this #21days challenge. I am very eager and aggressive to put more time into my new business adventure, but I didn't look at the month and what I could accomplish. I am off track. Yeah, I may be spending an hour each day, but is it productive?

    Here is what I have learned. The challenge doesn't always have to be as life-changing as the previous. It can be as simple as do less laundry, email a friend each day, or something less “challenging.”

    Sure, I am still going at this strong, but I need to make sure to pace myself.

    Life is a marathon, not a sprint.

    Serving You,

    Brock

  • http://www.robertpickstone.com Robert Pickstone

    Exactly. The change can be big or small, public or private – as long as the the daily activities are leading towards some form of change, then it will be worth it. You sound like you are a busy man Brock so be sure to pace yourself! One of my personal challenges actaully involves doing less of something so it is more of a willpower challenge than a time consuming one – the “Life is a marathon, not a sprint” most definitely applies.

Previous post:

Next post: