The 21 DAY CHALLENGE - The ONE thing you can start this year to change your life!

This year I decided to take on a challenge.  It was not much different than the last several in that, I started the year disappointed in my progress.  Was I really becoming better?  Was all my efforts leading me to something?  Was all the books I was reading and seminars I was attending doing anything more than making me feel inadequate?  I was tired of thinking the same things all the time and tired of feeling like my goals were this huge mountain I had to climb. 

If I focus on people who are doing better than me, I can not be proud of my own achievements.  I found it hard to be grateful for the achievements I was making, when I see someone doing what I dream of doing.  "They are no different than me" I thought.  I still think this is true, but I had to stop concerning myself with others.  Life is a journey and the goal is no more important than the person I become in the journey to get there.

With this new mindset, I set sail, so to speak.  I set a new course philosophy.  This course, I call the The 21 Day Challenge.  Nothing I am doing is revolutionary, but it's a whole heck of a lot easier on me stress-wise.  You see, every year I set goals, LOTS of goals.  I want to do this, see this, have this, buy this and achieve this.  The problem was, I was getting some, but not all.  Then I'd develop some habits, but when I failed at others I became discouraged.

This feeling of failure, lead to a complete lack of motivation.  I would tell myself "If I can't work out today, then I won't eat right either."  We all do this, I know.  Instead of stressing myself out with a bunch of goals, I created a new plan.  This plan was to set 21 day goals.  Why 21 days you might be asking?

Well, I chose 21 days because scientifically, it takes about 21 days to create a new habit.  That does not mean it is set in stone, but at this point your mind and body are used to the habit, and starts to crave it a bit.  One day at a time you build up your strength like a tree digging it's roots down farther day by day.  The habit will not interfere with starting a new goal at this point.  With those 21 days down, you start a new habit the day after and add this new habit in with the last one you started.

Now, you DO NOT want to start with something difficult, as much as you are desperate to lose weight or start your new work-out schedule.  Working out is a HUGE commitment if it means getting up earlier, sleeping longer, drinking more water, eating better.   NO, NO, NO!  Do not start with this.  I promise you, it will mess you up.  What you want to start with is something, somewhat ridiculous and seemingly insignificant. 


Here are some ideas for GREAT habits for your first 21 days:

  • Eating an apple every day

  • Making your bed every morning

  • Putting your clothes for tomorrow out the night before

  • Reading 10 minutes a day


There are plenty of other easy first habit ideas you can go for, but I think you get the point.  The idea is to pick something that you know you should be doing anyway and is so easy, you have no excuse not to do it whether your sick, tired, or feeling your best.  This habit is not going to change your life, it is going to be a confidence booster.  The ease of the habit will raise your self-esteem and make you feel like you're ready to take on another challenge, by the time the first 21 days is up.

The second 21 days should be something like first 21 with the exception that you continue the first one and add another easy habit.  At the end of the second 21 days you are ready to take on something a little more difficult.  This will be just 6 weeks in to your 1 year transformation.  


A good habit for the third period is something like these:

  • Walk for as long or as far as you feel comfortable with each day

  • One less cup of coffee per day or a smaller cup

  • Eat a salad with dinner every day, but eat the salad first

  • Spend no more than 10 minutes a day working out (easy stuff: push-ups, leg lifts, squats using a chair, etc.)


After that, you've done it.  You've mastered the process.  Now you have time to do this 18 times a year.  It does not have to start January 1st.  Start it now.  Today, when you read this.  You will be a better person 1 year from now if you do.  No Excuses!  This is the start of a brand new you.  If you like, you may document along with me.  Join me in the process and we'll get through it together.  You'll look back and realize that you barely recognize the old you.

Lastly, I know some of you might be wondering why I call it The 21 Day Challenge instead of the 18 Habits Challenge or something else.  The answer is rather simple actually, the idea of having to just make it 21 days makes this whole thing more appealing (for me at least).   I don't think about the next goal in the roster, I just think about doing that ONE thing each day for 21 days.  

Personally, I don't want to focus on the 16 habits being made, because that is a bit more daunting.  I sort of think of it like a spider, you build the strength of your resolve, by daily building on to your core fundamentals.  I keep focused on that day's tasks and continue building.  Over time you'll have a big web, incredibly strong and able to discard any negative influences that latch on to it.

What do you think? Are you ready to take on the challenge?


Martin J, Glennon

A Lesson in Humility

Over the years I have come across many stories that changed my perspective on life and what is possible for me.  Every few months the stories jump back in to my mind and remind me who I am and how incredible humans are.  This story below is one of those:

In 1916 a boy named Glenn and his brother Floyd were lighting a fire in a heating stove at the one room schoolhouse they attended.  There was no one else there at the time and Floyd as the older brother took on the responsibility to light the stove on this cold day.  If you've ever seen coal after a couple hours, you'll notice it looks mostly burned out, but when you touch it, it will still feel hot to the touch. 

The coal in this stove had laid dormant over night and to Floyd's knowledge, they were not burning anymore.  Expecting to have to light the stove up again, Floyd grabbed the container marked Karosine and splashed it on to the coals, so he could light it after.  Unfortunately, what they didn't know is that the container actually held gasoline instead and the coals immediately exploded in to a fiery mess.

The gasoline splashed on Glenn's legs and Floyd was covered as well.  Unable to help his older brother Floyd, Glenn, age 7, ran out of the building heading toward town as the fire viciously ravaged his little legs.  Found by a neighbor, Glenn passed out shortly after with his bones of his shins and feet visible to the naked eye.  Once awake at the hospital, Glenn asked about Floyd and it was explained to him that by the time they reached his brother, there was nothing that could be done. 

As if that was not enough, little Glenn and his parents were told by doctors that he would never walk again. Glenn at the tender age of 7 made a resolution.  That he WOULD walk again.  He would not be a burden on anyone, no matter how much it hurt him.  Over the next couple years, people would see Glenn holding on to a fence and walking around the yard.  He would visibly be in immense amounts of pain.

There was no stopping Glenn.  With no toes on his left foot and what little muscle he had left in his calf's and feet, he kept marching on.  At some point, Glenn decided it was time to make himself useful and he chose to make a go at mail delivery.  What job would have him forcing those muscles to work more than a mailman(boy)?  He had to make deliveries on time and soon discovered the only time his legs didn't hurt was when he was running instead of walking.

Townsfolk would be seeing little Glenn all over the place.  Running here, running there.  Making deliveries and running errands.  He'd run the mile home from school for lunch instead of eating in the lunchroom like every other kid.  With this forced skill, Glenn soon learned he was faster than most kids.  His breathing was easier because he did it more than they did.  He was rarely out of breath and never took breaks.

After several years, it became apparent that Glenn Cunningham was VERY good at running.  In fact, he ran so fast that he eventually made the American Olympic team with ease.  In 1934, he was competing in the Olympics for the first time.  It was at that time the world learned how truly fast he was when he beat the world record for the fastest mile ever run at 4 minutes and 6 seconds.  Doing so, with a 40 yard lead over the second place contender, which is virtually unheard of(nearly half a football field).  Fellow runners Nelson and Quercetani remarked to the press "His scarred legs churned wildly.  He opened up an alarming gap over Bonthron".  Bonthron was the man in second place.

In 1938, Glenn beat his own record again, at four minutes and four seconds, retiring shortly after.  Glenn remarked with pride, that anyone to beat his records would have to be "The greatest runner ever".  This is when Glenn began his new career as a doctor and continued to show that circumstances do not define you, you define them.  

What are you capable of?  Time to light the fire.


Martin J Glennon

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