I’m one month in with trying the Complaint Free Challenge…how’s it going? Read all about it in this update…
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To recap, I started the Complaint Free Challenge by Will Bowen one month ago.
The goal is to go 21 days in a row without complaining…whew! As a little physical reminder, you wear a bracelet on one wrist and you switch it each time you catch yourself complaining. Once you switch the bracelet, your 21 days resets. That means you are on day 1 again. Will Bowen says that most people take close to a year to get through the 21 consecutive days.
If you missed the first post on this where I explain more about it, you can read that here.
So first of all you might have caught that it’s been a month of this challenge and the challenge is for 21 days…yup, not done over here!
I expected this to take a while so this is not a shocker to me.
Complaint Free Challenge diary entries from month 1
Week 1: diary entries are here
I caught myself mid-complaint in week 2 and I stopped after a couple words came out of my mouth. I’m pretty sure I don’t usually catch myself like that so I’m really excited to have that be a result of this challenge.
I made it two whole days without complaining this week! Two days! In a row! I am super pumped. At first I was not able to get through an entire day without a little complaint so I’m so happy to get through two days in a row. This gives me the encouragement to keep going with this challenge even though 21 consecutive days seems like a mountain right now.
Let me give you an example of how easy it is to let a complaint slip out:
This week many places were hit with the Polar Vortex – super cold weather and looots of snow. I was coming back from work one evening and it was dark. My car had been parked for a while and usually I let it run for a few minutes to warm it up but I was tired and wanted to get home to see Squish. I miss her so much on my long work days out of the house (I’m so grateful to only work part-time outside of the home!)
Pulling out of the parking lot and toward a stop sign, I pressed on the brake, only nothing happened. Not skidding, not a slower stop, literally the brakes were not working – it was so cold that they froze up. The car was sliding towards a stop sign and at that intersection was a much busier street. I freaked out and quickly pulled the emergency brake which slid me to a stop just before I entered the busy intersection (it was not a four way stop so those cars were going).
I put my hazards on, let the car warm up, double and triple checked the brakes, and then headed home in the slow lane. All while my heart was beating like crazy.
I got home and wanted to tell my husband about it. Of course there is nothing that says you can’t talk about negative things that have happened to you. This Complaint-Free Challenge in not about being fake and keeping things only positive. You’re going to still be living in the real world where things happen. But I did notice that I was more careful with my words. There are ways to talk about scary things or difficult things without getting into a super big rant about them. I did not have to switch the bracelet, even after a story about a scary near-miss in winter driving.
I’ve come to realize that I’m being kinda strict on this challenge. If I say a little complaint under my breath, I count it and switch the bracelet. Even if I just barely start to say a complaint, I switch the bracelet. If I’m by myself, driving or whatever, and I say a little complaint out loud, I count that even if nobody hears me. Even if it’s directed at the weather or the driving conditions, and not at a person, I count it and switch the bracelet.
My bracelet has been moving from wrist to wrist a whole lot and I can see why a simple plastic bracelet like the one Will Bowen recommends works well because…..
I broke the bracelet!
Yup, in the first month of the Complaint-Free Challenge, with all my switching, I broke the bracelet I’m using. As I said in my initial post about the challenge I have been using my own bracelet because it’s a special one to me and I like wearing it. One of my good friends brought it back from a trip to India. She got it at the spot where it is said that Buddha became enlightened. The bracelet is made up of small wooden beads on a stretchy elastic. It’s simple and meaningful to me and I love it.
The elastic stretched out over the weeks so the bracelet became super loose on my wrist. I stopped wearing it because the elastic is really thin in one place and I don’t want it to break and lose the beads. I got some elastic to fix it and until then I am wearing a different bracelet.
At the end of the month, I counted up how many time I had to start over again this month. That is, how many day ones did I have in the attempt at twenty one consecutive days of not complaining.
Ready for the number? It’s not a small one:
There were……….19 day ones in the first month of this Complaint-Free Challenge. That’s a lotta restarts!
But, I had a couple of two days in a row of no complaints. And in week four I had a four-day streak of no complaining! Wahoo! On day five I made it until the afternoon, and then I complained. Whomp, whomp.
My thoughts on month 1 of the Complaint Free Challenge
I am noticing patterns emerging. One of them is that I am at my most complainiest at around 8pm. I can get through the day with its minor and sometimes more major challenges and dinner and all that and then after dinner it seems to fall apart. This just happens to be at the same time as my toddler’s bedtime routine…coincidence?? Not sure exactly how to stop uttering little complaints at this time, I don’t see much improvement on this yet.
This challenge feels like a workout, it feels strenuous! I feel like I’m working out muscles that don’t usually get exercised that much. I don’t think I’m naturally a huge complainer by any means, but to not let one teensy little complaint slip from your lips throughout the day? Or if you don’t complain at all that day, what about the next? It’s not as easy as it might sound.
Like any good exercise program, I need to stick with it to see results. So, onward to month two!
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For those of you trying this challenge with me, how are you doing… Let me know in the comments (or send me an email!)