The first challenge, which I started January 1, is jumping into a cold pool everyday with two of my sons. We do some Wim Hof-style breathing before we dive in, then count 3-2-1 and jump into the air! It has shown us that we can do hard things every day, and has been a meaningful bonding experience for us.
I’m still forming the other challenges (vote for what I should do in this quick survey) … but here are some others I have in mind, 40 days each:
- Zen sewing (sew a rakusu)
- Write a book in 40 days (in public)
- Record a podcast a day for 40 days
- Meditation retreat in silence
- Learn a language (probably Chamoru)
- Launch something every day for 40 days
- Sleep outside
- Martial arts
- Ego eradicator (hold a difficult pose)
- Eat only lentils & kale
- No Internet except creation & calls
- Public speaking
- Navy SEAL-style physical training
I’m going to pick 8 of these to do after my cold swimming challenge — again, you can help me pick with this quick survey.
I’ll keep a log of how these go, and post about it periodically here on Zen Habits!
The Challenges of Hard Challenges
Of course, we have to acknowledge that these don’t come without a cost. All of the following challenges can be overcome — and I’ll be sharing how to do that — but there are difficulties that we should be aware of:
- We’ll come up with reasons not to do it
- Resistance is real, and can be hard to work with!
- The ego will get in the way — not wanting to look bad in public, for example, or not wanting to not know how to do something
- We can get tired and want to give up after awhile
- We can white knuckle it and force our way through it, but not enjoy it
- Completing it can be about the ego as well, wanting to look good is a real danger
- On the other hand, the feeling of not being good enough can also be triggered
- When we get hit in the face by discomfort, we’ll get a strong urge to collapse
- We’ll find a lot of other activity to do instead
- Perfectionism can often come up and get in the way
- Our minds will complain a lot about it!
- We can also get to overwork, exhaustion, overdoing it
These are some of the main challenges. And they are real. And they are wonderful teachers.
Originally published on zenhabits.net