What Is the Whole Life Challenge?
The Whole Life Challenge is an eight-week online, community-building, habit-changing game that challenges you to create a happier, healthier life by making small changes to your daily habits.
Playing along with your friends, and family, you’ll score points every day, focusing on seven key areas of health and well-being: nutrition, exercise, mobilization, sleep, hydration, lifestyle practices, and reflection.
Why Do the Challenge?
Because you picture something different for yourself. You might picture yourself more active. You might picture a slimmer, healthier, fitter version of your current self. Or you might simply picture yourself being able to enjoy a few moments of peace and not feel stressed.
While some of the tools we use are food and exercise, the Challenge is really about providing you with a different perspective. We utilize structure, community, and accountability in order to help you inject yourself with confidence, happiness, mindfulness, and well-being. Concretely, that means you measure where you are today and have a vision for where you’re headed. You develop competence with the WLC’s 7 Daily Habits, and in the process, you accept yourself fully, exactly as you are, each step of the way.
Who Typically Does the Challenge?
There is no one type of person who typically does the Challenge. It’s beneficial for people of all fitness and age levels. We’ve had teenagers and octogenarians, triathletes and couch potatoes, weekend warriors and soccer moms, corporate executives, sales reps, doctors, lawyers, accountants, and writers. You name it, they’ve played. So the only “typical” person who does the Challenge is literally anyone you can think of.
Because it is not strictly about nutrition, the Challenge offers opportunities for everyone to improve their overall well-being in some way. Maybe you feel stressed in your life? Maybe you wish you could touch your toes? Whether you consider yourself a beginner or an expert, if you’re someone in pursuit of excellence, mastery, or simply being the best version of you you can be, then the Challenge is great fit.
Why Should I Invite Others to Do It With Me?
The Challenge is all about creating an environment of support that can last long after the actual Challenge ends. Be honest, if your coworkers didn’t want to take breaks while snacking on M&M’s and eat pizza at lunch hour, you might not be making those choices either. And even if you’d love to be playing football, it’s hard to put a team together when the rest of your family would rather be drinking beer, eating chips and watching football. We get it – what the people around you are doing is seriously hard to overcome.
But imagine what it would be like if all of you shared a similar vision and were moving toward it together. If you weren’t the only one showing up with the veggie plate at the party. If instead of dinner parties, you all went on hiking outings. If you could call each other when you needed help, meet up with each other before work for a workout, and call each other out when you contemplate not showing up.
And just because the Challenge is only eight weeks long, doesn’t mean that supportive behavior has to come to an end, too. Ideally, the habits and behaviors learned during the Challenge stick with both you and your community, friends, and family for a lifetime.
That’s why you should invite people to do the Challenge with you. Because you will be more successful, and you will permanently and positively change the lives of those around you – and they’re going to be grateful for that.
How Does It Work?
It begins by determining your starting point. You will figure this out by doing some basic assessments. There are lots of ways to do this, but in the Whole Life Challenge we have four:
- Take a preliminary body measurement (girths, body fat, or weight).
- Do a preliminary workout of your choice.
- Take a picture of yourself (a “before” picture).
- Complete the Whole Life Self Assessment, a series of questions to help you subjectively get a handle on where you are today.
We’ll provide you with a few workout ideas – ones we’ve seen work well in the past, but your preliminary workout can be anything, as long as it’s measurable. And it’s all best accomplished in a community setting, so if you’re doing the Challenge with friends, coworkers, or family, get together as a group and really kick things off!
From there, you will record your score daily for eight weeks in each of the WLC 7 Daily Habits (nutrition, exercise, mobilize, sleep, hydrate, lifestyle, and reflect). You and your teammates will support each other using your team’s private communication feed and can engage with the world-wide audience in the WLC Facebook Group, interacting and providing social reinforcement in a close-knit digital environment.
Good habits will earn you more points and teams from around the world will engage in friendly competition. Daily scoring will help hold you accountable, motivate you to improve your behavior as the Challenge progresses, and provide a benchmark for your success.
I’ve Done Other Challenges – Why Should I Do This One?
If you’re looking for something “hard,” something you need to get in shape or train for before you sign up, or something that is going to lead to huge, rapid changes because it forces you to “go hard or go home,” then you’ve come to the wrong place.
Most other challenges operate this way – asking you to make significant, uncomfortable, and rapid changes over four to ten weeks – to see how big of a change you can make (think “The Biggest Loser”). Unfortunately, while this seems exciting, motivating, and seemingly life-changing, challenges like this offer temporary results at best. As soon as most people complete these programs, they go right back to the behaviors that got them where they were in the first place.
The problem is these challenges don’t replicate reality. They put people in “survival mode” and challenge them to try to “make it.” It’s been repeatedly shown that for a limited amount of time people can make it (think Marine Corps boot camp, shows like “Survivor,” or any local eight-week boot camp program). We are all programmed to temporarily adjust our lives to survive these extreme conditions. We can do it. So, in a sense, these sorts of challenges “work.”
But if you take a longer lens look at the definition of “work,” what does it really mean? Does it mean surviving the extreme for twelve weeks and then going back to the way your life was before? What if it meant you made small habit changes over eight-weeks and they were still present and having an impact a year, two years, or even ten years later? How about for the rest of your life?
Most masters of any discipline will tell you that while it may look like they have nothing left to learn, they are still not “there” yet. They are constantly learning, tweaking, practicing, growing, and understanding right up until the moment they die. This is the real premise of the Whole Life Challenge.
The Challenge is an overlay for your life – a template that helps you focus on the things you have the ability to control: time, schedule, awareness, and taking action. It meets you exactly where you are – no matter how busy, bored, successful, stressed out, peaceful, big, small, fit, fat, young, or old you might be – and has you look at what you’re doing (or not doing) that could lead to better, healthier, long-term results. That may mean accepting things the way they are right now because it’s absolutely the best you can do or it may mean making changes to your daily schedule to accommodate healthier habits. Either way, these small, yet significant shifts make a major long-term difference.
And when are you done? While the WLC itself takes only eight weeks, this is a lifelong journey. Like those masters, you’re never really “done.” You make small tweaks in your daily habits that allow you to sustain at least some of them once the Challenge ends. And the next time the Challenge rolls around, you might tackle a few more.
In a nutshell, the WLC is different because:
- It’s not just about food. The Whole Life Challenge’s focus is your whole life.
- It’s not about achieving short-term big, hairy, audacious goals. The WLC’s target is developing consistent habits that are small, sustainable, and lead to long-term results.
- Perfection is not required. The idea you have to do something perfectly actually gets in the way of making healthy progress. Our focus is on progress, not perfection.
- No required “hard core” workouts. No “I barely survived” boot camp training. No starvation diet.
- No need to prepare. The WLC meets you and your life exactly where they are.
- It’s not limited to one type of player (i.e. advanced vs. beginners, skinny vs. fat, fit vs. out of shape.) The WLC is a template for your life, regardless of your life’s specific details. Its application is universal, as are its benefits.
- It’s not over when it’s over. The habits you practice during the Challenge are best measured in their effectiveness a year, two, or even ten from now.
- The WLC has no referees or judges. You are the judge. You get to decide. When you look back on what you did on any given day and can honestly say what you ate, how you exercised, and how you stretched should count, then it does.
- We offer no prizes or rewards. The prize is your life and the lives of your closest friends and family, changed forever.
- Our focus is not weight loss or how you look in the mirror. That said, weight loss (and fitting into your skinny jeans again) is a common side effect. The WLC has you become acutely aware of your daily habits, and by keeping your attention on the things you have the ability to control, results happen.
What if I Don’t Want to Give Up Cheese? Or Bread? Or Beer?
You don’t actually have to give up anything at all. But we do ask you to be present to your choices. You can eat cheese every day, even twice a day. But you’ll have to ask yourself, “Is this worth losing a point?” By going through the Challenge you will become more intentional with your food choices. We find this results in overall better food choices.
You also have the option of choosing from three levels of play. We don’t ask for perfection, just improvement from where you currently are. So with that in mind, you can play:
- Kick Start—A great place to start if you’re new to the health and fitness game and need to make the most important tweaks to get yourself started in the right direction. Cuts out what your mom might call “junk.” This level will definitely be a challenge that culminates in amazing results.
- Lifestyle—A good choice if you are looking for a long-term lifestyle nutrition program. Maintaining it to a “T” post-Challenge might be difficult, but it represents something much more adaptable to a long-term program than the Performance Level.
- Performance—The strictest level of the WLC. If you already have good eating habits that you just want to fine tune, have athletic or performance related goals, or have a pressing health issue or inflammatory condition that you’d like to address, choose this level.
How Will You Help Me Succeed at the Challenge?
When you register for the Whole Life Challenge you are joining an online global community of people committed to living happier, healthier lives, to creating daily habits that reflect who they are and what they love, and to shaping their community and their world for the better.
Along with daily access to the site as the place to connect and play the game with your friends and family, you’ll get resources for your success:
- Video and blog content tailored to your experience
- Suggestions for workouts, recipes, lifestyle hacks, and more
- Daily tracking of your personal progress
- Support from within your group – and from players around the world
- A unique experience you won’t find elsewhere and a connection to like-minded people
What if I Need Additional Help?
We’ve got you covered. We love answering questions. In fact, we’ve got a whole Help Center dedicated to doing just that. Probably the best place to get your questions answered quickly is in our WLC Facebook Group as the veterans there love helping out newcomers to the Challenge.
I’m Ready! How Do I Get Started With the Challenge?
You can register for the Whole Life Challenge by clicking the button below. When you do, you’ll fill out some simple details and you’ll pay for registration. This charge gives you some skin in the game, a small commitment toward making this work.
After you’re registered, you’ll receive the support materials listed above as well as a bunch of additional advice, tips, and strategies for getting yourself motivated and set-up for a successful Challenge.
To begin your registration for the next Whole Life Challenge, just click the button below.