There can be a lot of discussion about fitness programs, diets, and products when it comes to deciding how to tackle your personal journey toward health, fitness, and well-being. There is no single answer for everyone. Yet, most approaches ask you to conform to a particular set of rules, routines, and time frames. Why, you might ask, is the Whole Life Challenge any different from any of these?
The Whole Life Challenge has rules, but the rules are designed to give you a chance to follow your own instincts. You have not only the freedom, but the responsibility, to choose what is right for you. You know what will be a stretch. You know what will be too easy. And you know what is likely to break you.
We know the path to long-lasting well-being is a lifelong journey. There is no rush to get it “right.” The more time you take to listen to yourself and then push yourself, the more likely you are to discover a fulfilling and sustainable lifestyle that can grow with you as you grow.
This is not meant to be easy. As a matter of fact, it can be hard in ways you never suspected. You will be expected to challenge yourself. But you will also be allowed to forgive yourself. This is your life and only you have to live it. Once you’ve carved out your own path, you can take it all the way to the end.
Here are six ways the Challenge allows you to create a new and different way to change your life:
1. You’re Not Doing It Alone
The reason the Whole Life Challenge is set up to be done in teams is because we know this kind of thing can be difficult on your own. There’s a big, nasty machine in your head that feeds on the status quo — it likes things just the way they are.
By taking on these kinds of changes with people you know and trust, you create support and feedback that gets you past the really convincing arguments against change that often rule the day. It has been said, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” When you can learn to rely on the people you live your life with, you will discover abilities you never knew you had.
2. You Get to Start From Right Where You Are
There is no reason why your program has to look like everyone else’s. Something that might be extremely easy for one person might be terribly difficult for you.
The Challenge gives you permission to decide for yourself where you are now and what a reasonable stretch for you would be. You have this permission across the board — with nutrition, exercise, mobilization, sleep, water, well-being practices, and reflection. The requirements for points are that you play, not that you do it any particular way.
3. 5% Improvements Are the Goal
It’s not unusual for someone to begin a new fitness program or routine with an ambitious, pie-in-the-sky goal that they don’t understand and can’t even figure out a first step for. The Challenge asks you to look at the 7 Daily Habits and decide what a simple, 5% improvement might be today. When you’re successful with a small improvement, you can make another 5% jump. If you consider doing that every day, you could be at 100% in three weeks.
4. “Mistakes” Are Allowed and Encouraged
There is nothing better than walking away from the Whole Life Challenge with a solid understanding of what works for you and what doesn’t. When you follow a series of instructions, you might get to an endpoint but have no idea where to go from there.
Think of the Challenge a period of time when you practice creating your own rules for living. Here, you have the freedom to play, explore, and discover. Making an error in judgement is simply information for your rule book. It lets you know firsthand what not to do again.
5. You Are Tracking Choices — Not Just Specifics
Questions often come up about portions, ingredients, and “compound” nutrition violations (e.g. pizza with bread and cheese or a cocktail with alcohol and sugar). While in the context of the game those rules are important, what’s more important is your responsibility for your choices.
It ultimately doesn’t matter what’s in the cocktail. You chose to have one. Not a bad choice, but focusing on ingredients can be a focus on justifications. A choice is a “yes” or a “no,” plain and simple. How many cookies in a portion? You know. How many would you give a kid? That many. This game is a practice in becoming responsible for choices as much as it about becoming aware of specifics.
6. It’s About Your Whole Life, Not Just Diet and Exercise
While boot camps and diets work to a particular end, they are moments in time. They have a distinct start and end point and they treat your health and fitness as though it was separate from every other aspect of your life.
In the Whole Life Challenge, you will not only take on your nutrition and exercise habits, but you will be asked to moderate them in ways that allow you to engage in the rest of your life in meaningful and productive ways — connecting with yourself, with the people around you, with your environment, and with the world right in front of your eyes. It all matters. Health is nothing without an experience of well-being. Without the right context, health and fitness can frustrate you as much as they can excite you.
Your Life Is the Real Challenge
The difference with the Whole Life Challenge is that it is created by you, for you. The rules of the game are only the very basics. They are a template to lay your life over. You’ll find out what’s already there that fits, and you’ll also discover the pieces that fill in the gaps that make the most sense to you. This process can be challenging and even sometimes frustrating, but ultimately, it is the surest way to create a life that you want to live for the length of it.