Join the 2021 Reclamation Wellness Challenge!
Join us as we spend the next 100 days working to form new habits in all eight dimensions of wellness. Let’s make healthy and intentional choices each day. Just one day at a time! You don’t have to become a triathlete or start a wildly restrictive diet to focus on wellness. We can do this one step at a time, one day at a time!
While each person’s path will be different, the 2021 Reclamation Wellness Challenge is designed to offer a broad approach for things we can do to help us enjoy greater wellness—at our own pace, in our own time, and within our own capabilities.
The following list of 100 steps will be updated each day as we add a new step in our journey to wellness.
Day 1: Balance your Wellness Wheel
The 2021 Reclamation Wellness Challenge is about balancing all areas of wellness in our lives, so let's start our journey by reading "The 8 Dimensions of Wellness: Finding Balance."
Then read "Wellness Wheel: Self-Assessment & Worksheet" and create your own Wellness Wheel to gauge your wheel's balance and determine which dimensions need the most attention in your life.
Day 2: Determine your Core Values
Using the list of values from the article (or add your own), generate a list of your top 10 values and then narrow down that list to your top 3 values. Take note of how you uphold these values and how you give them away.
Complete a Value Intentions Chart (found in today's article) for your top 3 values.
If you are in recovery or love someone in recovery, read "How Core Values Can Guide Recovery" and watch our video below.
Day 3: Set Daily Intentions
Jot down a few intentions that seem significant for you, that support your values and purpose. Pull from the list of examples in today's article or generate a list of your own intentions.
Now put this list somewhere you will see it early tomorrow morning, as a reminder of working toward establishing this new daily habit. Today, you learn about daily intentions. Tomorrow, you begin a new habit of setting a daily intention.
Day 4: Discover your Purpose
Following the directions in the article, try to write your own purpose statement. If you struggled to identify your values, jump back to Day 2 and try again!
Day 5: Add More Water to your Life
Read at least one of the supporting articles below to better understand our water needs. Then choose a water goal that suits your needs.
If you already drink water regularly, way to go! You are one step ahead. Water intake is definitely a weak link in my wellness and it's something I am committing to work on during this 100 day challenge. My personal goal is getting 64 ounces (half gallon) daily; I just bought a new 64-oz jug with a convenient flip top and handle to assist in meeting this goal. And I plan to drink one glass first thing in the morning before I leave for work.
If you would like to add more water to your life, try different ways of incorporating water to determine exactly what will work for you. Personally, I just can't drink water from a metal canteen-style bottle; putting my mouth on the metal just grosses me out and I can't force the water down! So it's glass or plastic for this mama. And if I'm drinking water from a glass, I want ice...but room temp water from a plastic bottle is totally fine. Weird, I know; but understanding these preferences increases my chance of meeting my water goal.
So before you give up on the idea of drinking more water, consider different ways of getting your water. For example, try different temperatures, containers, times of the day, amounts...even flavors! How about infusing your water with fruits, vegetables, or herbs? I am definitely going to try doing this! Here are 23 recipes for infused water!
Decide what you need to meet your own water goal and take the first step! Good luck!
Mayo Clinic - Water: How much should you drink every day?
Harvard Health Publishing - How Much Water Should You Drink?
Day 6: Write "I Am" Poem
Write an "I Am" poem, using the template shown in the image below. Print the "I Am" image, or view online and write on separate paper. Actually write out the poem rather than just thinking about how you would respond. The act of writing the poem and reading your own words--your own values, intentions, feelings--will help you recognize the significance of who you are and all you have to offer.
Read your completed poem several times. Bask in your uniqueness, your significance. Do you recognize a strength or gift you have been hiding or an area you can develop to support a dimension of your wellness?
Day 7: Pray, Manifest, Meditate
Today--Thursday, January 7, 2021--was a tough day in our country. Let's focus on our emotional (coping effectively with life challenges) and spiritual (purpose, beliefs, values) wellness. In whatever way speaks to your soul, pray / manifest / meditate.
Day 8: Box Breathing
It seems like the world has gone mad these last few days (January 2021)! It's time to focus on our emotional wellness, which is our ability to effectively cope with the challenges of life. And things are definitely challenging right now!
Our Day 8 task is to implement box breathing into your life. Box breathing has been shown to reduce stress, calm anxiety, lower blood pressure, and regulate the nervous system. Make a conscious effort to practice box breathing several times per day through the month of January until you notice it become a habit that you rely on for your emotional wellness.
Day 9: Circle of Influence
Read this short article from Dr. Stephen R. Covey regarding Habit 1 (Be Proactive) from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Then use our worksheet to determine your own Circle of Concern and Circle of Influence.
Day 10: Expand your Circle of Influence with Intentional Kindness
On Day 9 we learned that our Circle of Influence includes our words, actions, and attitude. So for Day 10 let's expand our Circle of Influence by spreading kindness! Let's be real...the world is super ugly right now and we can all use a little more kindness! And by expanding our Circle of Influence through kindness, we're boosting our own emotional and social wellness. So let's go! Let's commit to actually doing one of these today or tomorrow.
Day 11: Expand your Circle of Influence with Intentional Kindness
On Day 9 we learned that our Circle of Influence includes our words, actions, and attitude. On Day 10, we expanded our Circle of Influence by spreading kindness! On Day 11, we continue the important journey of boosting our own emotional and social wellness by spreading kindness! Remember...don't just read the ideas and think about it. Commit to actually doing one of these today or tomorrow!
Day 12: Expand your Circle of Influence with Intentional Kindness
Welcome to Day 3 of intentional kindness! Today your goal is to recognize an organization that you appreciate, to help someone feel valued! Send a card, write a letter, post on social media, send an e-mail, make a donation, or whatever your heart calls you to do.
Choose an organization that is meaningful to you. Here are just a few ideas:
local hospital, cancer center, or nursing home
national healthcare provider, such as St. Jude's
local fire station, EMS, or police
animal shelter or rescue, or therapy dog group
military group or support organization, such as Soldiers' Angels or Wounded Warrior Project
Day 13: Hand Care
I noticed the back of my hand the other night and I was horrified. It looked like the hand of an old lady! I knew then I'd add hand care to our wellness challenge. Skin care falls under physical wellness but not feeling like an old lady at age 46 falls under my emotional wellness!
I have several types of cream and lotion in my bathroom closet but I wasn't actually using any of it. Out of sight, out of mind. So I moved a tub of cream downstairs and now keep it on the end table next to the couch. Now when I'm sitting down to watch TV, it's easy to grab the cream. I've used it every day since I moved it. So easy! Simply moving the location of the cream has helped me form a new healthy habit! Yay for easy!
Find a fun lotion or cream (I prefer a heavier cream for my getting-old crepey hands) I had forgotten how much I love Whipped Lavender Shea Butter from Biggs and Featherbelle. I had used half of my container a long time ago, before I got out of the habit and relegated the container to the unseen closet shelf. I was so happy to rediscover it and be reminded of how wonderful it feels! I got mine at Wegmans, but Biggs and Featherbelle have a complete online store, so hop over and check them out!
I also forgot how amazing hand scrub feels! I haven't used a hand scrub in several years, but I was quickly reminded how amazing they feel. And so super easy to make your own! Drop in some of your favorite essential oil or keep it simple and just go with oil and sugar. Try it with any oil you like--olive, avocado, grapeseed, coconut. Or experiment with raw and refined sugar to see whether you like the large granules; you can even try it with salt! Seriously, go make some (and keep it in a container with a lid)!
Day 14: Foot Care
Add foot care to your self-care wellness routine. Start with one step and work toward incorporating all five steps of foot care: massage, soak, moisturize, exfoliate, stretch.
I recommend trying a foot peel mask! They are incredible! I've used a peel four times and each time I'm amazed by how smooth they make my feet. (This is not an ad!) And I admit that there is something so strangely satisfying about peeling off a literal layer of your foot! I used Soft Touch because I liked the ingredient list, but you'll find many brand names available. I ordered from Amazon and have already re-ordered. I'm hooked!
Check out Day 13 for a hand scrub recipe you can also use on your feet. Try it with salt instead of sugar for your rough feet. And if you include an essential oil, try peppermint for your feet.
Take care of your feet and they will take care of you! Happy peeling! :)
Day 15: Negative News Detox
Our brain is wired to attend to information that unsettles us. This unfortunate fact is called "negativity bias." Thanks, in part, to the overwhelming 24/7 media coverage of this negative news that our brain is drawn to, we are a generation with anxiety, fear, stress, and depression. It's time for a negative news detox!
Try just one of the tips below. When you see how much better you feel, add another step. And another. You will not miss it! Today was the first day in a looong time that I didn't check a single news source even one time. Not one! And I'm still alive. You can do it!
Day 16: Give More Compliments
We desperately need more positivity in this crazy world right now. Let's work on giving complements every single day. Not only will giving complements help other people, it will improve our own emotional and social wellness.
Let's commit to making people around us feel a bit more appreciated, a bit more "seen," a bit happier. And we'll feel better in the process!
Review the graphic below to understand why giving compliments is so important and some tips on how to give a great compliment. Your task for Day 16 and every day going forward is to work on giving more compliments!
Day 17: Compliment Yourself
Encourage and compliment yourself to boost your self-confidence and squash the negative self-talk. Let's work on ignoring the damaging and damning messages from media and society (and sometimes the people in our lives!) and focus on our strengths to boost our own emotional wellness.
Review the graphic below to understand why learning to compliment yourself is so important. Your task for Day 17 and every day going forward is to work on giving yourself more compliments!
Day 18: Stop Judging
Read our blog "Get to Know Someone's Story."
Read the graphic below for tips on how to stop judging others and be open to the possibilities presented by seeing beyond someone's surface. Your task for today and every day forward is to stop judging and start getting to know people for who they really are.
Related video: Understanding Shame & Guilt
Day 19: Laugh it Up
Did you know that laughing is actually good for your health? Laughing generates mental relaxation, reduces stress, lowers blood pressure and pain, improves immunity, and provides a physical workout. And did you know you're 30 times more likely to laugh when you're with good company than alone? Thirty times!
Maybe you already know what makes you laugh, or maybe you need to step outside your comfort zone. Do some exploring online. Ask some friends or co-workers for suggestions or recommendations.
Day 20: Belly Breathing
Breathe in, breathe out. Simple, right? There's actually a right way to breathe!
Deep breathing is a great way to lower stress and decrease anxiety. But be sure to breathe deeply through your belly rather than your chest. Check out the following graphics to learn more. Your Day 20 Wellness Challenge goal is to practice belly breathing every day. Start with once per day and work up to several times per day.
Day 21: Digital Declutter & Cleanse - Phone
Our phones are like a lifeline, so we need to take care of them. So let's tackle the clutter and germs and improve our environmental wellness.
1. Delete unused apps.
On average, we have 60-90 apps installed. But we use only about 10 per day and 30 per month. All those unused apps eat up battery life, waste your storage space, and create clutter. Seems like a good reason to purge! Delete unused apps to keep your phone running faster.
Android. Tap and hold an app, then tap Uninstall. For a list view of all apps, go to Settings > Apps > See all xxx apps. Tap an app, then tap Uninstall.
iPhone. Tap an app until it wiggles, then tap the X to uninstall. For a list view of all apps, go to Settings > General > Storage. Tap an app, tap Delete, then tap to confirm.
2. Organize apps.
Tidy up the apps you keep by moving them into folders on your home screen. I find it helpful to create a folder for different app uses or purposes; for example, I created a folder called Social Media for Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook and another folder called TV for YouTube TV, Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu. Maybe you need a folder for Games and one for all your different email accounts, or maybe one for the apps you use for work. To create a folder, long-tap an app and drag it on top of another related app to make a folder. Then you can name the folder.
3. Delete unwanted files.
Need to keep it? use the cloud. Don't need it anymore? Get rid of it! Because many things are saved to your cloud automatically, you could probably stand to delete some files from the cloud, too!
4. Optimize your battery usage.
Optimize your battery usage in phone settings. Improving battery life extends the lifespan of the battery by slowing down charge cycles. Turn down your screen brightness, reduce the screen timeout, and choose a dark theme.
5. Use cloud storage.
To save memory on your phone, back up information to the cloud. Evaluate your highest areas of memory usage—usually photos, documents, music and video files, and store them in a cloud service rather than on your phone. Some cloud services are free and may come loaded when you buy your phone, but most require a monthly fee depending on the size of your files. If you use a cloud service for your computer, you can usually use the plan same for your phone.
6. Back up photos and delete the junk.
Photos are a big source of phone clutter. Maybe you take tons of pictures of your kids and you can't imagine deleting a single cheesy smile, or maybe you're like me and you take a million screenshots of things you absolutely need to remember for some reason you'll never remember. All these photos slow down your phone because the operating system is left with no space to cache. If you want to improve your phone's performance, you need to weed through your photos (and videos). After you delete the unnecessary pictures, move your remaining photos to a storage service like Google Photos, Snapfish or Flickr.
Android. Google Photos offers free cloud storage for all your photos with a small compromise in image quality. In Google Photos, tap the hamburger menu on the left and choose ‘Free up space.’
iPhone. iCloud gives you 5GB free. Go to Settings > Photos > Optimize iPhone Storage. Now, when your device starts to run low on storage, it will automatically offload your full resolution images to iCloud while saving a much smaller phone-optimized photo on your iPhone.
7. Clear the digital detritus.
We collect a lot of “digital detritus” (debris, trash) on our phones, like browser cache and app data. Clearing out this trash makes a big difference, often making your phone run "like new." Here's how:
Android. Go to Settings, then Apps or Applications. This shows you how much space your apps are using. Tap on any app, then tap Storage. Tap "Clear storage" and "Clear cache" for any apps that are using a lot of space.
iPhone. You have to delete and reinstall apps that seem to be slowing down your phone.
8. Clean the outside
A recent study by research firm dscout found that the average person touches his phone 2,617 times per day, which is about 1 million times per year. Uh, I'm a little disturbed by that stat, to be honest. It's time to clean! Verizon recommends cleaning your phone and accessories (phone case, headphones, cords, etc.) once a day. First unplug and turn off your phone. Use disinfectant wipes with 70% isopropyl alcohol or a similar disinfecting spray, spritzed onto a clean microfiber cloth. Do not spray directly onto your phone! You can use soap and water to wash your phone case, based on manufacturer's instructions.
Day 22: Digital Declutter - Email
The number of emails I receive daily is nuts. Factor in my four different email accounts (two work and two personal) and my email quickly becomes overwhelming. Every few months I need to do a big purge and unsubscribe from lists that no longer serve a purpose in my life. Just logging in and seeing a long list of unread messages stresses me out. So here's today's decluttering task in support of your environmental wellness.
Clear unread messages. All those bold messages sitting in your inbox. Ugh! Read them or delete them. Get it done. You'll feel better.
Unsubscribe from unwanted lists. You might have signed up for a mailing list two years ago, but it doesn't mean you have to stay on the list indefinitely. If you find yourself ignoring messages from a list or the content no longer serves a purpose in your life, unsubscribe!
Save attachments. If you need an attachment that someone emailed you, save the attachment and then delete the email.
Delete messages you don't need. Seriously, though. Do you really need to keep it?
Sort messages into folders. If you really need to save the email, sort it into a folder named for something specific such as its purpose or the sender.
Turn off phone notifications for email. When you want to check your email, make a conscious choice to do it, without being prompted by your phone all day.
Tip: When going through messages to delete or move into a folder, sort your messages by sender (the "From" field) for easier batch deleting.
Day 23: Digital Declutter & Cleanse - Computer
Physical clutter can affect our performance, and digital clutter can affect a computer’s performance. Today let's get your desktop or laptop working more efficiently, which will boost your productivity. Decluttering your surroundings--both physical and digital--supports your environmental wellness. Here's what you can do to declutter your computer.
Clear web browser cookies and cache.
Delete unused web browser extensions.
Clean web browser bookmarks.
Clear downloads folder.
Delete unnecessary files (documents, images, videos).
Organize files into folders.
Back up files to a cloud service.
Empty recycling bin.
Clean the physical components of your computer (keyboard, monitor, mouse, cords, etc.). Here's a great article with specifics.
Day 24: Tips to Improve Sleep
Sleep is an essential component of physical health and mental well-being, especially if you are recovering from addiction or substance misuse. Most common mental disorders--such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and substance use disorders--are associated with disturbed sleep. For more on the connection between sleep and addiction, read our blog "Importance of Sleep During Recovery."
Anxiety, stress, and depression are often associated with sleeping difficulty. Try these tips for improving your sleep.
Be mindful of food and drink. Avoid eating unhealthy snacks or heavy meals within an hour of bedtime. According to WedMD, eating too close to bedtime can cause indigestion and sleeping problems. But if you're hungry right before bed, try a small healthy snack. Avoid alcohol and nicotine for for 4-6 hours before bedtime, as these substances are stimulants. Alcohol might make you feel sleepy, but it reduces the quality of sleep. And when you're recovering from addiction or dealing with stress and anxiety, your body requires quality sleep.
Manage stress. Exercise early in the day. Spend about 15 minutes writing a to-do list or journaling to "release" your worries for the evening; let those overwhelming thoughts go so your mind can relax. Practice mindful breathing. Check out our Day 8 task to implement box breathing to calm anxiety. Sip some chamomile tea, but not while you scroll...turn off those screens at least an hour before bed.
Create a ritual. Develop a relaxing ritual to signal to your brain that it's time to wind down for the night. Try different things to discover what works for you. How about a little yoga or stretching? Maybe a hot bath or shower. For me, it's reading on the couch.
Create a restful environment. Sleep.org recommends keeping a quiet, cool, dark room and replacing your pillow every year. I definitely agree that a high quality pillow can make a big difference in the quality of your sleep; my husband and I have used orthopedic pillows for about ten years and they have made a big difference for our sleep quality. And try some lavender essential oil to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. (Tips for using lavender.)
Stick to a schedule. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time each day. This is tough for me but I'm trying to do better!
Day 25: Using Lavender to Calm Anxiety and Improve Sleep
Read our blog "How to Use Lavender to Calm Anxiety and Improve Sleep" to learn how to lavender essential oil calms anxiety, reduces stress, and improves sleep. We'll also give you six ways to incorporate lavender oil into your routine to suit your wellness needs. Finally, we explain how to choose the right oils and how to grow your own lavender.
Pair this lavender article with yesterday's Wellness Challenge task to work on improving the quality of your sleep. Related: "Importance of Sleep During Recovery."
Day 26: Welcome to Financial Wellness
Day 26 of the Reclamation Wellness Challenge dives into financial wellness. Your task for today is to follow some financial accounts on Instagram and/or Facebook for information and inspiration. Let the learning begin!
Check out the accounts listed in the graphic below and see which speak to you and your interests/goals. Then we'll continue digging into financial wellness tomorrow.
Day 27: Explore Financial Gurus on YouTube
Yesterday we explored some financial accounts in Instagram and Facebook, adding our favorites to sprinkle in some knowledge and inspiration into our feeds. Today we explore the three best YouTube channels I found for overall financial wellness. These videos provide a wealth of information! I have learned sooo much and they have helped me determine a plan to improve my family's financial wellness as we prepare for our oldest to head to college in 2022.
Your task for today is to explore these three channels and decide which best meets your needs and interests, then subscribe to that channel. Or heck, subscribe to all three! Then we'll continue digging into financial wellness tomorrow.
Day 28: Discover Personal Finance Podcasts
Podcasts are an efficient way to get info on-demand and on-the-go. Listen at home, in the car, on a walk, wherever you have a few minutes. We have our Google Home set to play a few short podcasts each morning as we all get ready for school. Each podcast is just a few minutes, but we choose interesting and educational shows suitable for our family of 4 ages 11-55. But I'm going to add one or two of these financial podcasts to my listening log while I'm on my lunch break at work.
Best Finance Podcasts of 2021
The following list is provided by The Balance, a website dedicated to making personal finance easy to understand. Experts provide clear, practical advice on managing your money, whether you're looking to invest, buy a home, save for retirement, or choose the right credit card. And read this for an excellent description of each of the following podcasts.
So Money: Best for Finance Beginners
The Dave Ramsey Show: Best for Getting Out of Debt
The College Investor: Best for Students and New Grads
The Fairer Cents: Best for Women
Money for the Rest of Us: Best for Beginning Investors
The Disciplined Investor: Best for Seasoned Investors
Smart Passive Income: Best for Boosting Your Earning Potential
The Mad Fientist: Best for Achieving Financial Independence
The Modern Frugality blog shares a list of the 10 Best Personal Finance Podcasts for Millennials.
Day 29: Focus on Connections
The opposite of addiction is connection. It deserves your focused attention.
Day 30: Phone-Free 24 Hours
Day 31: "Stop Buying Dumb Sh*t" 28-Day Challenge
I took the title for this month-long challenge from a video I saw from Gary Vaynerchuk (@GaryVee). GaryVee believes we can do what we love if we do two things: 1) Stop buying dumb sh*t and 2) Stop worrying about other people's opinions. So for the entire month of February (hey, it's only 28 days this year!), we're going to work on GaryVee's first piece of advice. Let's stop buying the things we know are not good for our financial wellness.
This is not a spending freeze. This is not a total overhaul of your budget or savings. But it is, we hope, a way to recognize where we have poor spending habits and maybe develop some new and better habits that will improve our financial wellness.
Most of us can acknowledge where we waste our hard-earned money. But maybe with a little habit digging and a little planning you can discover some new areas where you can curb ill-spent money. Consider more than what you spend in a store. Think about your online spending habits, your consumption, and your utilities. I hardly ever shop in a store anymore; I even do grocery pickup, which curbs impulse buying. But I am fully aware I waste money in other ways: I use way too many paper towels, we are not great at conserving water in our home, and I have spent a gross amount of money on movies and toys for my kids over the years.
Think about things you can do differently without giving up things you love. About a year ago we moved our Keurig into storage and bought a simple coffee pot. Not only are we saving a bunch of money by brewing our magic bean water this way, we also feel pretty good about not sending all those darn plastic K-cups to the landfill.
Some "dumb sh*t" to consider eliminating for Frugal February:
restaurants when you have time to cook at home
junk food from the grocery store or vending machine
coffee shop brew when you can make java at home
cheap, trendy clothes you know you don't need and you won't wear next year
expensive Valentine's Day presents (check back later in our 100 day Reclamation Wellness Challenge for Frugal February Valentine's Day ideas)
subscription services you haven't been using (gym, magazines, newspaper, theme subscription boxes, etc.)
movies and books (call your local library for help setting up their free e-book app)
everything from the Target Dollar Spot and Walmart clearance aisle
cable (use this month to look into cheaper options)
Start by making a list of what you think you can cut out or cut back on. Put the list aside and come back to it later. Then try to add a few more things to the list. Be brutal and remember it's only for 28 days.
By the end of the month, re-evaluate what you consider essential spending. You did without for 28 days, so can you continue to do without or to do with less? This challenge will be different for each of us, but the goal should be the same: improved financial wellness.
Day 32: Fitness Refocus
I fell off the fitness wagon quite awhile ago...and I've struggled to get back on. Now I find myself closing in on 50 and needing to face reality: I simply must do a better job of addressing my physical wellness, which includes my fitness level and my nutrition and sleep habits.
Today's task in the 2021 Reclamation Wellness Challenge is to establish our fitness goal(s) and break the goal(s) down into a plan. Starting tomorrow, get going and get on your way to back up your plan until it becomes reality. Right now, grab a pen and write it down!
Some of you might already have a well-established fitness routine. Congratulations! Maybe you can give yourself a specific goal to extend your routine, or maybe a short-term challenge just to mix things up. For me, I feel like I'm starting from scratch. My goals involve core strength, balance, and flexibility. Sure, I would love to lose the 25 pounds that I've gained in the last 10 years, but I choose not to use weight loss as a goal this time. We'll see if that makes a difference for me!
What about you? What is your goal and how will you accomplish it? There are soooo many options for fitness support these days. Fabulous free routines available on YouTube, social media, and apps. For Day 33, I will share some of the fabulous online sites and personalities I've discovered for this challenge.
Day 33: Fitness Refocus, Make a Plan
Today's task in our 100 day wellness challenge involves establishing a plan of action to accomplish your fitness goal (established yesterday).
The image below lists some great accounts to follow in support of your physical wellness. Check them out and find one that will work for you and your goals. I looked into all of these in order to write today's challenge task, and I look forward to getting started with a few myself.
Day 34: Fitness Mini-Challenges
If you're feeling overwhelmed by the idea of jumping into a new exercise program, start your physical wellness journey by implementing a daily mini-challenge. Choose one that interests you and that seems achievable so that you an build confidence and motivation. Then add a few more mini-challenges until you feel ready to dive into a fitness program (see Day 33 for some great program ideas).
Day 35: Stop Chasing Perfection
Perfection is a fantasy. When we aim for an impossibility, we become discouraged or overwhelmed and we return to our unhealthy habits. What matters is consistency in building healthy habits that support our goals.
4 Tips on How to Stop Chasing Perfection
BE AUTHENTIC. Perfection is a fantasy, so embrace reality. Be true to yourself, the real you. Be honest. Cultivate & revel in self-awareness.
MINDFUL OF EXPERIENCES. Striving for perfection creates anxiety, because there's always something to scrutinize & improve. Instead, practice mindfulness & focus on the sensory experience.
STOP PROCRASTINATING. Don't wait until it's perfect, because it will never be perfect. Do it now. Instead of overplanning and worrying, do it & be flexible to adjust.
DEVELOP A GROWTH MINDSET. Embrace vulnerability. Welcome setbacks as an opportunity for growth.
Day 36: Be Authentic
In yesterday's task to "stop chasing perfection," our first tip was to be authentic. So today let's break down how to be authentic.
It can be challenging at times to be truly authentic, because we fear that others may judge or reject us. But we must be true to yourself in order to find true happiness.
Check out our 5 tips for being true to yourself:
Uphold your values. ("Designing a Life of Value")
Fortify your boundaries.
Respect your feelings and needs.
Nurture yourself and your self-esteem.
Jot down a few notes about where you see needs and strengths in your life. Start small. Pick one area and make a concerted effort to improve that aspect in your life.
Day 37: Be Mindful of Experiences
In our Day 35 task to "stop chasing perfection," our second tip was to be mindful of experiences. So today let's break down how to do that!
Release your ego and fear. Acknowledge the value and significance of your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Read more on this here.
Disentangle yourself from mental chatter. Here is a great article!
Turn off auto-pilot and experience life with your senses. Check out our blog on mindfulness for help!
Practice box breathing. Repeat an anti-perfectionist mantra on each exhale. Check out the graphics below for instructions on box breathing and some possible mantras. Be sure to choose a mantra that's meaningful to you, so come up with your own if you don't see one that fits!
Day 38: Stop Procrastinating
In our Day 35 task to "stop chasing perfection," our third tip was to stop procrastinating. Perfectionism and procrastination are intimately linked. The following graphic provides a little inspiration to stop waiting until something is perfect because it will never be perfect!
Day 39: Develop a Growth Mindset
In our Day 35 task to "stop chasing perfection," our fourth tip was to develop a growth mindset. To handle what life throws at us, we must learn to embrace vulnerability and welcome setbacks as opportunities for growth.
The following graphic explains the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.
Need help developing a growth mindset? Work on adding the following "self-talk" statements into your life. What you say to yourself becomes truth!
Day 40: Choosing Grace & Gratitude
When we over-apologize, we give away our power. We introduce an unjustified sense of shame and vulnerability, and place responsibility on someone else to assuage our guilt and forgive us for something that does not even require forgiveness. We give the power of our own feelings away to others and assign responsibility for them to offer their approval and acceptance. When we over-apologize, we end up decreasing our self-confidence, increasing our own negative feelings, and damaging relationships.
Read the examples in the graphic below, and consider how you might shift your own words to shift your mindset and your relationships. Speak with grace for yourself and gratitude for others.
Day 41: Show Yourself Grace
Show yourself the same grace you extend to others. Grace includes acceptance, love, and forgiveness.
To foster self-acceptance, try the following:
Stop comparing yourself to others, especially to strangers online who hold no value in your life.
Acknowledge your strengths. Try leaving yourself little notes around the house to remind yourself of all the amazing qualities you have to offer the world.
Stop chasing perfection. Instead manage your expectations, because unmet expectations lead to resentment.
To foster self-love, try the following:
Speak kindly to yourself with positive self-talk.
Keep a gratitude journal or jar to focus your attention on all the parts of your life that you're grateful for. The negative parts of life already get enough of your attention; it's time to give conscious attention to our gratitude.
To foster self-forgiveness, try the following:
Let go of the past. Past mistakes, errors, lapses in judgment...they are all in the past. Living in the past encourages depression, living in the future encourages anxiety. Focus living in the present, giving your attention to the present day. One day at a time.
Write yourself an apology note. Then read it. Accept it. Forgive yourself. Now let it go.
Day 42: Cultivate a Habit of Gratitude
Science has shown that gratitude helps you feel more positive emotions, enjoy good experiences, improve your health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.
An attitude of gratitude helps direct your attention to the good rather than the bad, even when the bad seems to outweigh the good. Gratitude is about manifesting the positive life you want while learning to recognize and appreciate the positives in life you already have.
Like with any habit, cultivating a habit of gratitude takes time and deliberate effort. Here are a few suggestions for how you can practice gratitude. Try a couple methods and see what works for you. Don't just read this post. Actually try these gratitude activities!
Gratitude Jar. Jar, bowl, vase, box, bin. Whatever you use, make it inspiring. Cut up little strips of paper or use sticky notes and keep a stack by the jar with some fun pens or markers. Every day, jot down something you are grateful for and drop it in the jar. There's something fantastic about seeing the jar fill up with all the wonderful things in your life. This is a great activity to do with children to foster gratitude in their lives. My boys and I actually did this when they were both in elementary school, and I really enjoyed the daily opportunity to discuss something positive every single day with them. And when you need a little reminder of all your blessings in your life, grab a handful and savor each word.
Gratitude Journal. Use your son's half-blank notebook (is that just me?), but a cute notebook from the dollar store, or splurge on a leather journal. Use whatever will inspire you to write a few lines. Keep it simple with a list of one to three things you are grateful for each day or spice it up with a passage about something you're grateful for. Do it in the morning to start your day on a positive note, or do it at night as part of a calming bedtime ritual.
Gratitude Mantra. Find a mantra to say every day to remind yourself of all the good in your life. Say it aloud or silently, while enjoying your morning coffee or while hyping yourself up in the mirror, in times of calm or in a moment of frustration. Find a message that works for you! Here are a few to consider: I appreciate the abundance in my life; I will allow myself to enjoy my gratitude; I live in harmony with others and with nature; I am grateful for my health and the opportunity to both enjoy it and improve it; I am grateful for (fill in the blank).
Gratitude Keepsakes. Keep a special box or other container to store keepsakes of special items or experiences you are grateful for: a movie stub from a special date, a dried flower from your child, photos, or drawings, for example. Keep the box somewhere convenient so that you are reminded to add to it but also so you can open it up and enjoy the lovely reminders of all you have to be grateful for.
Day 43: Nourish to Flourish
You have to nourish to flourish. Self-care isn't selfish. However you say it, taking care of your own wellness is a necessity, not a luxury. Each of us is nourished in different ways, so we all need to take a minute to think about what nourishes us--mind, body, and spirit. And flourishing also looks different for each of us. How do you want to flourish? The answer to this question should correspond to your core-values, your priorities, and your goals. Take some time to think about the following questions, and make your answers intentional and value-aligned. Write down your answers and look at your note at least weekly to stay focused on taking care of yourself.
How can I nourish myself? Do I need alone time, exercise, green smoothies? Do I need more sleep or less alcohol? More laughs and fewer obligations? For me, I know I need to take better care of my physical health, including better nutrition choices, more sleep, and more exercise. What do you need to nourish your mind, body, and spirit right now?
How do I want to flourish? Do you want to be a more patient mom or a more inspired teacher? Are you looking for a promotion or more creative outlets? Do you want to make more money or spend more time on hobbies? What does 'growing in a healthy way' look like in your life?
Day 44: Free Self-Care Activities
Self-care is not selfish. Self-care is not a luxury. Think of it as taking care of all dimensions of your own wellness the same way you take care of your child or the same way you want your best friend to take care of herself. If you don't tend to your own wellness, you'll end up tending to your own sickness.
Self-care doesn't just mean expensive splurges like a spa day. In fact, self-care doesn't have to cost anything at all! The following graphic lists some free self-care activities that nourish the mind, body, and spirit.
Day 45: Love One Another
Happy Valentine's Day! Focus on love today.
Day 46: Recognize All You Have to Offer
Recognize all the amazing qualities that you have that you look for in others. And ditch the unrealistic expectations. If you don't expect your coworkers or mom peers to be perfect, why do you expect yourself to be perfect? If you love your friends no matter what they weigh, why don't you love yourself regardless of the number on the scale? Stop and recognize all the qualities you DO have!
List the qualities you look for in a true friend. List the qualities you respect in peers such as co-workers or fellow parents. Now look at your list and highlight all the qualities that you possess. Write each quality as an "I am" or "I have" statement. For example, if you highlighted honest in your list, write "I am honest." Now look in the mirror and say each I AM/I HAVE statement. Repeat this exercise until you confidently believe each statement!
Day 47: National "Do a Favor for a Grouch" Day
Stanley Hudson. Ron Swanson. Frank Barone. George Jefferson. Thelma Harper. Ove.
A few of my favorite curmudgeons. Grumpsters. Gruff, rough, and grumpy...but oh-so-lovable when you dig deep below the grouchy exterior.
In stories, these lovable grouches are finely crafted to make us laugh while they grump their way to finally revealing their tender hearts. But in real life, we usually have to work a lot harder to discover the grouchy tender hearts.
Today--February 16--is National "Do a favor for a grouch" Day! So think of a Stanley, Ron, Frank, George, Thelma, or Ove in your life and do something kind to try to make just a little chip in the grouchy exterior that's protecting their heart. Here are a few ideas:
A smile, a wave, and a friendly hello go a long way!
Show interest in their life and ask them about something specific.
Drop off an anonymous note saying a simple hello or wishing them a great day.
Give them a genuine compliment when you see them.
Share a simple edible treat like a few bagels or muffins, or maybe even a plated meal if they live alone or are elderly.
Ask if they need anything at the store that you could pick up for them.
Ask them to join you in a game of cards or go for a walk around the block with you.
The simple gift of your compassion.
Day 48: Let It Go
In order to allow room for joy and happiness in our life, we have to let go of things that are filling our heart and head with pain, bitterness, or resentment. Easier said than done, I know. For today, let's simply make a list of what we want to let go of. I want to let go of the anxiety I feel over the current state of our country. And recently, I let go of my long-term resentment toward my sister. Maybe you want to let go of an unhealthy habit, the weight of others' opinions, your fear of setting boundaries, the pain of a breakup, or the hurt a friend caused you. Whatever it is, write it down. Make it real. Acknowledge your desire to let it go. Then come back tomorrow and we'll talk about how!
Day 49: How to Let It Go
In order to allow room for joy and happiness in our life, we have to let go of things that are filling our heart and head with pain, bitterness, and resentment. Easier said than done, I know. Just remember that allowing forgiveness is part of your own healing journey. Do it for yourself, not for anyone else. Forgive someone not because he or she deserves forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.
To read about the process of letting go, ways to offer forgiveness, and statements of forgiveness, head to our blog "How to Let It Go: Releasing hurt to welcome forgiveness".
Day 50: Enjoy a Mental Wellness Night
Hello, Friday! It's time to chill! Spend at least one day this weekend taking care of your mental wellness. For me, that means totally relaxing on Friday nights after an exhausting week at work. I usually fall asleep on the couch while trying to watch a movie with my sons and my husband, and I don't feel even a little bit bad about it. Do something (many things!) that nurtures and replenishes you, anything that helps you cope with life. Here's my plan for tonight...
Day 51: Today's "To Do" List
Drink water and remember you are a badass! End of story.
If you need a reminder about how much water to drink, head back to Day 5 in our challenge.
Day 52: Keep Going
"So far you've survived 100% of your worst days. You're doing great." --Norm Kelly
So that you don't forget about all you've survived, make a list. Seriously. Make a list of everything you feel you have endured and made it through successfully. We all have tough times. List yours so you can see what you're capable of overcoming. Keep the list and read it every time you start to doubt your ability to overcome all life throws at you.
You're doing great. Keep going!
Day 53: Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying
A story about perseverance against all odds, The Shawshank Redemption is one of my all-time favorite movies. It took Andy Dufresne 17 years to tunnel his way to freedom after being sentenced to life in prison for a murder he did not commit. Andy’s journey to establish his truth and find freedom and justice is a powerful story about the strength of the human spirit and the power of hope. Read our blog for more about escaping your own metaphorical imprisonment.
Day 54: Knowledge Speaks, But Wisdom Listens
The opposite of addiction is connection. One powerful way to build connection is to listen. Don’t share your own experience or give advice. Just listen. Listen with an intent to understand and empathize, not to problem solve.
If we feel that others do not truly know us or understand us, we can feel hopelessly disconnected from humanity. And this type of disconnection can lead to isolation and depression, and it can foster substance misuse and addiction.
Listening builds trust and respect, empathy and compassion. We all want to feel heard and understood. So today's wellness challenge task is to truly listen to someone, make someone feel understood.
Jimi Hendrix, 1967 -- Image © Gered Mankowitz
Day 55: Stop Apologizing for These
Legitimate reasons to apologize do exist, for sure. But how did we get to the point where we seem to apologize for existing, for taking up space, for having an opinion, for not pleasing everyone around us? Let's work on replacing these unnecessary apologies with self-confidence. Today, I won't apologize for...
Making mistakes. I am human and no one is perfect. If your mistake lead to someone getting hurt, then you should apologize. But disagreeing with someone is not a mistake, having your own opinion is not a mistake, arriving 10 minutes late is not a mistake, having a messy kitchen is not a mistake. Just stop and consider what, exactly, you are apologizing for.
Having boundaries. It's healthy to uphold personal boundaries based on my core values.
Not settling. Work toward a life that allows you to flourish. Be authentic about what you want and how you will work to achieve it.
Filling my cup first. You've heard it many different ways: you can't pour from an empty cup, put your oxygen mask on before helping someone else, self-care isn't selfish. However you say it, just remember that taking care of others doesn't mean you can't take care of yourself, too. Keep yourself at the top of your "to do" list so that you're able to get to the rest of the list.
Being emotional. Emotions are normal; you're not a robot. But if you find that your emotional reactions are "extra" lately, do a self-inventory. Complete the wellness wheel worksheet to see where your life balance might be off-kilter.
Day 56: Choose Joy
We can’t always choose our circumstances, our emotions, or our reactions. But we can learn to shape our mindset and control our responses. We can choose small moments of joy.
Choice is an action, not an accident. Choice is intentional. Choose to look for the positive, the uplifting, the peace, and the beauty. You might be overwhelmed by the family responsibilities you face, you might feel anxious about the state of our country, you might feel unfilled in your job; but there is goodness somewhere. You must intentionally choose to look for it and to recognize it. Celebrate it. Revel in it. Choose to find joy in kindness, gratitude, simplicity, and the pause. It might not be everyone or all day or all week. But I bet you can find one small thing, moment, or feeling that brings joy. Latch on.
Day 57: Water What Matters
Water what matters. Let the rest go.
Day 58: Grateful for Losing
Sometimes losing something or someone is better than keeping or gaining. I am grateful for losing my misconceptions about addiction, my dislike of camping, and my grudge toward my sister. What about you? Identify three things you are grateful for losing. Read your words; soak them up. Recognize that not all loss is bad.
Day 59: Daily Self-Care
Self-care can be quite simple. Maybe it's coffee before anyone else wakes up, or taking the dog for a daily walk, or jamming to your favorite retro music while in the shower. For me, it's hot tea and some peace and quiet. Whatever it is for you, commit to making time for it every single day.
Day 60: Your Best is Enough
Acknowledge three ways in which you are giving your best. And then acknowledge that your best is enough!
Day 61: Double Your Water
Review Challenge Task Day 5, "Add More Water to Your Life." Try to double the amount of water you've been drinking!
Day 62: Rest, Relax, Repeat
Your worth is not determined by your productivity.
Day 63: Be Patient
Day 64: Treat Yo Self
A donut, a nap, or a run. Do whatever you need to treat yourself! For me, it's time with my family this weekend and a total disconnect from work. And maybe a donut!
Day 65: Be Present
Be present. living in the past can lead to depression. Living in the future can lead to anxiety. Practice mindfulness to focus on today. Check out our blog on living with mindfulness, one day at a time.
Day 66: Inhale, Exhale
Inhale confidence. Hold it in! Revel in that breath and its transformative power. Let it fill your lungs, your heart, your soul. Let this confidence push out the lingering doubt. Think about it as you consciously exhale and push it out of your chest, your heart, your life.
Day 67: Let It Go
Simplified living became my goal about a year ago. It's a process and I continue to learn from these three great accounts. I highly recommend you explore these accounts and see which sticks for you and inspires you to let go and find freedom!
The Minimal Mom. I subscribe to her account on YouTube, but you'll also find her on Instagram.
BecomingMinimalists.com is a fantastic website and check out @Joshua_Becker on Instagram.
The LA Minimalist has an outstanding Instagram account, but you won't find her on any other social platform. Definitely go find her on Instagram @theLAminimalist and start with her Stories and Reels.
Day 68: Set a Simplify Plan
Simplifying your life can relate to all eight dimensions of your total wellness. So simplifying your life is a significant task that can feel overwhelming if you don't have a plan. Consider the following five areas of your life to begin your process of simplifying. Choose one area that you know needs your attention and just start!
Declutter your physical spaces.
Heal unhealthy mental habits.
Disengage with toxic people.
Take control of your money.
Take control of your time.
Day 69: Declutter and Simplify Your Clothes
There are some great videos on YouTube with tips and strategies for decluttering your clothes and making a plan for more intentional purchasing. Do a little searching yourself, but I really like The Minimal Mom (even if you're not a mom).
Day 70: Weed Your Books & Shelves
Everything gets dusty: books, shelves, our views. Weed the clutter and pass on what no longer serves you.
Day 71: Take out the Trash
Grab your purse, your wallet, a junk drawer, you attitude...whatever needs a good cleaning. Turn on your favorite trashy, guilty pleasure and do a little spring cleaning!
Day 72: Walk it Off
Written by Laura B. Demers, © 2021 Reclamation Sisters