Online Wellness Challenge: Day 20

Willingness

1. Today is an exploration of your willingness to change in deeper and more authentic ways.  Obviously you are more willing to change than many people in the world because you signed up for this 30-day challenge to improve your overall health and wellbeing.  And yet, you are likely making excuses about doing still this or not doing that. What’s that really about for you? Can you set your story aside and show up 100% present for yourself today with no excuses?  Realize that today’s 100% may differ from the full effort you could give 10 years ago or even last week, so don’t be hard on yourself.   Just be willing to show up and be your absolute best self all day. If you stray, just come back. If you are finding it difficult to muster your willingness, work instead on becoming willing to be willing.   Take 10 minutes to write about what’s in your way of being more willing, and then list at least one solution.  Aren’t you tired of the same old patterns?  This is your chance to shift your reality through baby steps or giant leaps, regardless of your stride, just do it.

2. Try this breathing practice for managing stress. Sit comfortably with your spine upright, or lie on your back.  Set a timer for 10 minutes.  Start breathing slow, deep, full breaths into your belly as you relax your mind and body.  After three rounds, make the exhale twice as long as the inhale by counting the exhale and making the inhale half that length.  After 5 more rounds, think about a situation that causes you stress and keep your breath moving.  Notice if your breath became more shallow, and if so, gently lengthen it back out.  Keep thinking about the situation and breathing deeply until you hear the timer.  This process is an exercise in willingness to walk consciously through stress with your breath.  Our natural tendency when in the face of stress is to take short, quick, shallow breaths, which lead our bodies deeper into the sympathetic nervous system’s fight, flight, or freeze response.  Keeping the breath full and slow, we are able to stay more neutral and less panicked about whatever is concerning us.  Not only is this approach better for our bodies, we are better problem solvers when our minds stay calm in the face of stress.  You can focus on your breath in any situation, and chances are you’ll be much better off as a result.

3. One of the enemies of willingness is procrastination.  The I’ll do it later syndrome enables us to put off things forever since later never comes.  It’s time to look at the task or recommendation whether related to this challenge or not that you’ve been procrastinating.  Cultivate your willingness to get started and make a timeline for its completion.  Unfinished, lingering tasks weigh on our subconscious minds, creating energy leaks, which result in having less focus and momentum available to us for other things in life.  Reclaim your energy by completing at least one nagging task today.

4. Exercise today at 80% intensity for at least 20 minutes of your hour-long session today.  Be willing to take your workout to the next level, while staying within a range of appropriateness and safety that supports your individual needs.

5. Eat for optimal health and not for sensory pleasure, distraction, convenience, social obligation or any other reason today.  Trust your instincts and notice how it feels to prioritize wellness over all other temptations today. Come on, it’s only one day, you can do it!

6. One way to reduce temptations is to fast from the media for 24 hours. Don’t watch tv, movies, or the news, avoid listening to the radio, reading the paper, glancing at magazines, or even surfing the web (even on your smart phone!).  It is so helpful to unplug from the inundating advertising for a while.  Are you willing?  If you have to check email or phone for work, keep it to an absolute minimum and don’t be tempted to do more than that.

7. Print this page and check in with me 24 hours from now (so you have no excuse to go online again for challenge purposes) and let me know how your day of willingness went.

Return to Wellness Challenge Headquarters