The 100 Day Challenge

The other day I made a goal to exercise every day for 100 days. I posted my goal on social media and challenged my friends to create a 100-day goal as well. Now I’m challenging all of you.

What is the 100 Day Challenge? 

Just what is says. It’s doing something to create a new habit — or break an old one — every day for 100 days.

Why 100 days? 

There’s a common idea that building a new habit takes 21 days. This is incorrect. This number came from a misconception of the work done by Maxwell Maltz. Maxwell Maltz was a doctor in the 1950s who noticed that it took a patient 21 days to become used to not having a limb or how their face looked after a nose job. Somehow, popular opinion translated this into being able to form a new habit after 21 days.

In reality, it can take anywhere from two to eight months to make a task become routine, with the average being 66 days. I chose 100 days because it’s over the average expected time and I just liked the number. It seems doable without being too overwhelming. I’m not creating a goal for a year, just 100 days.

Why exercise? 

This is a personal answer, and your reasons, as well as your goals, will vary. For me, it is deeper than just wanting to look good or weigh less. I want to increase my stamina and energy. I want an even better functioning immune system than my already mostly-healthy lifestyle provides. I want more strength and flexibility and healthier joints as I get older. I also want to have less depression and stress. I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably keep saying it: Exercise increases endorphins and reduces stress.

What other goals can you set? 

Anything! Literally, anything. Make a goal to get up or go to bed earlier, drink one less soda, smoke one less cigarette, journal, paint, play with your kids, read, walk, call your mom… there is no right answer here! Find something that you feel will improve your life in some way. And by improve, I mean something that will bring you joy, health, or growth. It doesn’t have to be huge.

Have a strong “Why.”

Why do I want to be stronger and more flexible? That’s personal. But my “Why” is powerful enough to keep me going when it’s hard. I know there will be days that I don’t feel like exercising because I’m tired or busy. You will need a strong “Why” too. Sit down and really think about it, and dig deep. Write down your reasons for creating a 100-day goal. Those reasons should be so intense that the thought of not meeting your goal will make you cry. Now post them somewhere you can see them when you feel like giving up.

Find a partner to join you. 

Accountability partners are the best way to stay motivated! Text or call each other every day and ask about each other’s goals. Reach out to them when you’re feeling down, and expect them to do the same thing. If you don’t have someone who wants to join you on your journey, find someone who can at least be your cheerleader and who will remind you about your why. Even better, get a group together and do it as a community.

Track it. 

Photo by Alena Orrison

The best way to obtain a goal is to measure it. I found a simple printable 100 day tracker from Smiling Colors. You can do something similar, use an app, write on your calendar, make a pretty page in your bullet journal, or write tally marks on the wall. Okay, I’m kidding about that last one, unless that is what will work for you! The bottom line is to find some way to track your journey. It will provide you with a countdown and a visual representation of your target.

So, who’s up for creating a new habit in 100 days?

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