I started blogging in 2006. I stumbled my way through setting up a blog and trying to develop content for a long time. (I am still very technologically clumsy and seek support often.) I took free classes in web design, hired developers and coaches, and tried numerous platforms. I developed a relatively consistent blog habit over time.
Things evolved to an entirely new level at the beginning of the most recent Whole Life Challenge — when I chose to make my blog my Well-Being Practice for the entire six weeks.
How I Turned My Intention Into an Action
Going from a “relatively consistent” habit to an actual daily practice of reflecting was not easy. It required that I wrestle with fitting it in every day, rather than only when I could find the time. That level of consistency means discipline. It required that I could not wait for my writer’s muse to visit. I just had to write, knowing that some days the perfect could not be the enemy of the good.
Most importantly, it required that my writing become a priority, something I had never really committed to before.
I had previously participated in several Challenges and spent most of my energy on making sure I got my exercise points. Having established a workout plan before, and completed that with a fair amount of success, I wanted to focus on my well-being this time around, and my writing (via my blog) would be my tool.
I decided on the strategy of following the daily reflections offered in Mark Nepo’s Book of Awakening. I had purchased The Book of Awakening several years earlier and intended to use it to guide a daily reflection practice — but I never established that practice. The book sat on the shelf.
That intention turned in to action during this Challenge. I woke up. I started to realize that I had something to say. I began to look forward to blogging about the day’s passage. I became newly grateful for the time to write and my connection to writing.
So, what are the two biggest things I learned from blogging every day on the Whole Life Challenge?
1. Reflection Feels Good
A fitness coach I worked with once told me to find an exercise that “feels good.” He told me to do that because an exercise that “feels good” is one you will actually do over the long haul. Having previously gone to the school of “No pain, no gain,” the thought that exercise might/should “feel good” was refreshing.
Note: “Feeling good” in this context does not mean you’re doing something easy. “Feeling good” means finding an edge and pushing it to reach a new and better place physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually.
Daily reflection is challenging as I balance my schedule to take time to reflect, embrace, and release the noise in my mind, and feel through the emotions that arise when I look inward. Daily reflection “feels good” as I find my voice, connect with others, and create and share.
2. We Have Reflection Muscles
One of my writing mentors suggested I start blogging daily to become a stronger writer and develop a writer platform. That, coupled with the invitation to reflect provided by the Whole Life Challenge, was exactly what I needed to give it a try.
After six weeks of daily blogging, my reflection muscles are in better shape. My goal with each daily post is to write a minimum of 300 words. That means writing 2,100 words a week and 12,600 words over the course of the Challenge.
These days, my general attitude about reflection has improved. I am able to be still and breathe more consistently across all areas of my life. My thoughts flow more fluidly and clearly both at and away from my computer. My writing skills are stronger, too. This is evidence to me that my reflections muscles are getting stronger.
Conclusion: I Am Still Blogging Every Day
I have learned over several Challenges that some habits I keep when I am not doing a Challenge, and some habits I don’t. I maintain my hydration habit. I gave up diet drinks on my first Challenge and have not looked back. I prioritize sleep. And I am back on my yoga mat.
But, most pertinent to this post, I am still writing daily reflections on my blog. Living the 7 Daily Habits even when we don’t have to, when no one is watching, is a true gift of the Whole Life Challenge.