Practicing the Art of Change

Every month in Conscious Growth Club (which will open for new members April 27 to May 1), we host a group 30-day challenge. Members can choose which challenges they want to do, and we share updates as we go through each challenge together.

Some challenges are to improve our habits or to test new habits. Other challenges are more exploration-based. Some are just for the experience.

Each challenge allows for plenty of customization, so members can adapt any challenge to fit their situations. In May 2019, we did a daily exercise challenge, and members decided whether to walk, run, bike, do yoga, weight train, etc. In January we did a self-expression challenge, and members chose how and what they wanted to express each day; some did daily blogging, for instance.

Here are the themes of last 12 challenges we did, from May 2019 to April 2020:

  1. Exercise
  2. Overcoming procrastination
  3. Building momentum
  4. Mindfulness and gratitude
  5. Explore a curiosity
  6. Optimize your sleep habits
  7. Shift your vibration
  8. Declutter your space
  9. Express yourself
  10. Be a good friend
  11. Fuel your body / strengthen your immune system
  12. Structure your time

For each type of challenge, we provide some specific examples. Here are some examples we provided for the October 2019 “Optimize your sleep habits” challenge:

  • Get out of bed by a specific time each day
  • Get into bed by a specific time each day
  • Go 100% stimulant-free (no caffeine, chocolate, etc)
  • Keep your phone out of the bedroom for the whole month
  • Take a 20-min nap each day
  • Use a sleep mask for 30 days
  • Turn off WiFi at night
  • Sleep in a room with no active electronic devices
  • Get into bed by a certain time and read till sleepy
  • Avoid using anything with a display screen (TV, computer, phone) after a certain time each day
  • Test a 28-hour sleep-wake cycle
  • Keep a dream journal and log your dreams upon waking
  • Practice lucid dreaming each night
  • Sleep naked
  • Sleep without a pillow or with a different pillow
  • Fall asleep cuddling someone

I especially like the exploration-based challenges. For the September 2019 “Explore a curiosity” challenge, I decided to learn more about one city per day by loading it up into Google maps and diving into the street view feature. I picked different cities all over the world and imagined what it would be like to walk down the streets of each city. This made the world feel smaller somehow, and it made me want to travel more.

These challenges are… well, challenging. They help to build self-discipline and determination. Each one requires a small habit change for 30 days, so there’s a training effect when we do them. They strengthen our adaptability and flexibility as we practice incorporating small, positive changes into our lives.

We don’t map out 12 months of challenges for each CGC year in advance. I feel that would be too rigid. Instead we prefer to select each challenge on a month-by-month basis. We look at what’s arising in the community and develop a sense of where the momentum is and where the group energy wants to flow next. This has been working well. Many members find that the monthly challenges are nicely aligned with their personal goals.

Growing as a human being requires change, and change is difficult. These monthly challenges help us practice the art of change. At the start of each month, there’s a new invitation to change or improve some aspect of our lives for the next 30 days.

Members don’t do every single challenge. They selectively choose the ones that feel aligned to them. I don’t do every challenge either, but I do like engaging in many of them, especially for the training effect. I also like doing the challenges as a group, which can make some of them more energizing and fun.

The best challenges help me discover different modes of living that I like better than my defaults. They introduce me to new possibilities for my life and my character. And they’re also great for learning tips and ideas from other members who share their insights along the way.

Do you have a reliable method for practicing the art of change? How do you keep inviting freshness and newness into your life? How do you prevent your character from becoming rigid, crusty, and stale? How do you introduce positive habits to the structure of your life?