#IGChallenges or The art of creating Habits

The 1st of November, Jelena Joksic launched a 30 day green smoothie and plank challenge on Instagram. I have to be honest, I didn’t read properly (for my defense it was in German) and thought it would be a 5-day thingy. It’s only after a couple days, that I realized: I was in this for 30 days!!! But it was too late cause I already started posting! 

The second day of the #greensmoothieandplankchallenge, since I was already on my mat, I figured I could add some meditation to the combo. I’ve been trying to have a regular meditation practice for so many years!!! I would always drift away from it, as soon as I’d change routine or environment. But this time it wasn’t going to happen because I had the best accountability coach: INSTAGRAM. 

Having to post the green smoothie every day (almost, i missed 2 days of IG stories so far BUT still had them!) involved that I did the planks and the meditation also, it became my motivation and priority.

Here are a few changes I noticed after only 1 week: 

  1. I can do much better with time management, meaning I get early to appointments instead of 5 min late (I’m sure it has to do with 6.) 
  2. I’m more centered and focused throughout the day
  3. I feel strong physically and mentally from the planks and the discipline/routine.
  4. Thanks to the green smoothie, I make healthier food choices throughout the day (I’m still having my dark chocolate and occasional croissant) but I notice less food cravings + the food prep makes me go to the shop almost daily for the greens which makes me buy other fresh food for other meals (BONUS)
  5. I don’t need to get entertained as much and I need more quiet times > especially before bed 
  6. And this is a huge one: I spend less time on IG/ my phone in general 

 

The details:

Green Smoothie 

Spinach, oat milk, 1 banana, almond or peanut butter. Sometimes: kale and overnight chia seeds 

Planks

1 min plank, 1 min forearm plank, 1 min dolphin (down dog on your forearms). Finishing with a nice childspose or even doing childspose for a few breaths in between the planks. 

Meditation

set a timer to 6 minutes, find a comfortable seated pose, lengthen the spine, relax the shoulders, jaw and forehead. Count to 21 on each exhalation and backwards to 1. If you loose the count, start over! If you don’t loose the count, you will be done before the timer goes off and in that case you can observe the breath for the couple minutes remaining. 

When I have more time, I add some journaling, reading, roll & release and stretches. 

All of it ideally before you get out of the door and even more ideal: before any device is switched on. If you really don’t have time in the AM, do it in the evening. I recommend though: waking up between 5am and 6 am and trying to go to bed ‘early’. If you are not an early bird, just try getting up 1 hour earlier than you already do. Or even 30 min. And if you are reading this thinking ‘waking up even earlier?!’) try 15 min or even 5 min. Step by step. No worries. 

I’m far from being an early bird myself but noticing the changes of adding only a few minutes of healthy routine before I start my day has been so rewarding and worth the few seconds of discomfort every time the alarm goes off! Plus getting up early will give you much more time to do all the things on your never-ending-to-do-list. 

 

A couple more tips:

If you are the type of person who watches TV or Youtube videos while you eat or before bed, try switching to podcasts instead, your eyes and nervous system will thank you especially if you are on the computer the whole day already. If you don’t know what to listen to, our first podcast is on its way 😛

Instagram was/is my accountability coach but you can use any method that works for you: a friend, partner, colleague (I actually tried to motivate my colleagues at the office but it didn’t quite work yet!).

Research shows that if you want to integrate a new habit, your environment is going to be key. Meaning: surrounding yourself with people who do what you aspire to, will help you tremendously. True for careers and any kind of behaviors also!

The amount of time it takes until that new habit blends naturally into your daily routine is a bit controversial. Some say it takes 21 days, some 30 or 40 but apparently it takes up to about 66 days. AND it’s going to be very different for everybody. It could even take up to 6 months or a year depending on the task and your aversion for it 😉

The key is to start with a couple minutes a day, whatever it is.

For example I do a 6 min (only) meditation because my aim is simply to get used to sitting down and to remember to do it every single day.

More on habits with this awesome podcast

It’s definitely daily hard work but it’s transforming us into our best versions!

 

So with that in mind, one of my aims is to extend the meditation challenge until

X-mas. That’s almost 60 days! Who is with me? 

 

What kind of habits do you wish to integrate or give up? 

 

Remember: together it’s easier!

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