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  • Writer's pictureSam Salerno

The Seven Day Challenge

I've got this thing for challenges.

5/10/15/30 day challenges, month long challenges, quarter-year challenges, six month challenges...

You know...challenges.

And they don't have to always be in a timeframe. You can have completion challenges, results challenges, quota challenges, and on and on and on.

The list is pretty dang exhaustive, and, if you're creative, you'll be able to rassle up some new challenges that no one's ever heard before.

But what is it with challenges that makes them so appealing? And what am I talking about when I say "The 7 Day Challenge"? Well read on, dear challenge seeker, to find out what I'm doing and see how YOU can take huge baby steps towards being awesome(er)!

So, why are challenges appealing? Here's my guess:

challenges get us psyched for results that we can look forward to after a certain amount of time and energy.

Walk through any grocery store and you'll see that we've got some sort of obsession with numbers. "30 Days to Rock-Hard Abs and a Toned Butt", "10 Day Juice Cleanse", "100 Days to Retirement", "One Year to Becoming a Bestselling Author", "5 Days to Luscious Beard Growth" (I've never seen this one, actually, but I"m sure it's out there).

Numbers help us to see that we can achieve results in a pre-determined amount of time/days/attempts/etc. if we just stick with it. Not only that, but there's usually always a really attractive person on the front-end of the challenge saying, "Look at me! I did this challenge and now I've got blah blah blah! You should try it out!" I'm sure all the magazines would gather dust on the racks if they told you to work out really hard or eat clean every day to maybe hopefully eventually get that summer bod you've always wanted. Or even worse – if they put a picture of a guy or gal who's been doing the challenge for two years and they still can't fit into that bathing suit they bought for the summer before last.

So challenges are a way of getting us to move by showing us what can happen if we apply ourselves. Simple as that.

The Argument for Shorter Time Frames.

Most of the time, when I think of a challenge, I think in terms of months. 30 days just seems like such a clean, easy number; and the calendar itself resets every 30/31 days, so it's even more attractive to keep count that way.

BUT, as I'm sure you've also experienced, it's super easy to start a 30 day challenge and be all fired up...only to get a few days in and putter to a stop. 30 days is great and all, but it's actually a pretty long time. And if you miss a day, it's easy to think, "Well, that was only one day...I've got 29 other days that I'll be sure to keep up on!"

Well, in the words of the Great General Ackbar:

How do we escape the trap?

Shrink the time frame.

Sure, a 30 day challenge sounds sexier – and, if you can keep up, could yield you better results – but what's wrong with two, fifteen day challenges? or four, seven day challenges? At the end of the day, a challenge is worthless if you don't do it.

Also, shrinking the time frame makes you push yourself a little harder during the challenge because you've got a shorter time to complete it. That extra push will stretch you and help you grow faster. For example: say you want to get better at meeting new people. Instead of saying, "I'm going to go out to lunch with 5 new people from the office this month," (and getting discouraged when you realize you put it off until the last two days), you can say, "I'm going to go out to lunch with two people this week." Two isn't a daunting number, and, if you were to do that every week in a month, then you'd meet more people than you would have if you only planned on going out five times in 30 days! If, at the end of the week, you weren't able to complete the challenge, then you can change it for the next week – increasing or decreasing the challenge to best fit you.

See what I'm saying here?

To get better results and avoid discouragement, shorten the time-frame and address any difficulties and issues before going into the next challenge.

And let's be real: if you can't commit to doing a shorter challenge, then how in the world do you expect to commit to a longer challenge?

So What's My 7 Day Challenge?

If you've been following my blog, you'll notice I had a great start out of the gate publishing a post nearly every day...but then I faltered and got busy and, to the horror and disappointment of my sweet mother (hi, mom!), stopped writing as often.

I want to fix that.

I spend quite a bit of time writing these, so thinking about doing a thirty day writing challenge seemed a bit daunting. A seven day challenge, however, is way more doable. (Notice how the amount of writing each day hasn't changed, but my attitude towards getting seven days of results is way more positive than getting thirty days of results?)

So I'm going to say it for accountability's sake:

I will write every day for the next seven days. And to stay extra motivated: I'll give my sister a $50 bill that she will get to keep should I fail to produce seven posts at the end of this challenge.

There. I said it. And $50 is no chump change. Losing it really isn't an option for this guy right now.

Pick Your Challenge!

Now it's your turn.

I want you to commit to your very own seven day challenge.

Make it a big deal! Stretch yourself!

What is something that you've really wanted to do or try or challenge yourself to, but just never got around to it? What could you do everyday for the next seven days?

Here are some ideas for you if your stuck:

  • Go to bed at a certain time every night

  • Meditate for 15 minutes every morning

  • Study for 30 minutes every day

  • Eat breakfast every day (I'm surprised how many people miss this)

  • Do a one-sentence journal entry every day

  • Take a really good picture every day (and print them at the end of the week!)

  • Ask for and use the names of all the servers/baristas/cashiers you encounter this week

  • Read a chapter a day

  • Cut out processed foods for a week

  • Exercise for 30 minutes every day

  • Go on a walk without your music

  • Meet a new person every day

  • Listen to a different genre of music each day

  • Leave sticky note compliments to friends/family/coworkers every day

The list goes on and on and on and on and on...

Just pick one and stick with it! And for accountability, consider handing someone you trust $50 and saying they get to keep it if you fail the challenge! That extra motivation goes a LONG WAY.

I Can Help Too!

Need an accountability partner for you challenge?

I'm happy to help!

If you haven't done so already, go ahead and use the big blue SUBSCRIBE button down below and I'll shoot you an email asking you about your challenge and how I can help keep you accountable. PLUS, subscribing to my mailing list will get you your very own hand-written letter of thanks and gratitude from me! I've mailed letters all over the world, and I'd love to send you one as well!

If you're already a subscriber, then CLICK HERE to go to the contact page and use the form to let me know your challenge and how I can help!

Here's to stretching ourselves to be the best that we can be!


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