THE 30 DAY NO COMPLAINING CHALLENGE

Accepting the 30 Day No Complaining Challenge - and why I chose to try it (photo Photo by Guna on Unsplash)

THE CHALLENGE

You may have noticed the idea of going for a period of time without complaining bandied around on the internet over the last couple of years. I've seen it several times and thought - hmmmm great idea but not really my idea of something I need to tackle. Some of the challenges are for 24 hours and others are for a longer period of time - up to 30 days of no complaints. As the old saying goes, "water wears rock" and the constant dripping of these challenges has ultimately worn its way into my world.

THE FINAL STRAW

The final motivation came from a Fabulous Fifties Facebook group of women who are always spurring each other on in one area or another. I've managed to resist most of the "lets get better together" posts, but when the invitation to try 30 Days of No Complaining came up, it seemed to nudge something inside me.

I've been feeling quite flat lately - mainly from issues with a work colleague who tends to drag me down. I know I come home most evenings and unload on my poor husband - and I've also been fairly cranky at some of my coffee catch-ups with friends too (it's hard to put a smile on your face when you've been worn down all week). I've tried several different approaches to solving the work situation and none of them have worked particularly well, so the next step is to try to change me and how I'm perceiving things.

SOME OBSERVATIONS

I started the Challenge on Monday October 15th and have now been on it for one week. In the process I've learned a few things about myself - firstly I noticed that I try to justify negative thoughts or comments by not seeing them as a true complaint. I've always thought of complaining as whinging, but now I'm seeing that being negative or critical is much the same as complaining - I'd just given it a different label. 

I've also come to realize that a lot of my conversations have been coloured by the drama from my work colleague. I talk to get it out of my system, but that doesn't really help and, if anything, it tends to validate my annoyances and negativity rather than helping me let go of them. It also draws others into the drama and nobody needs that.

If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.

MAKING A CHOICE

Now that I recognize what I'm doing, I am finding I can choose different ways to view any given situation. I don't need to over-analyse it or talk about it negatively. I can acknowledge in my head that it's still happening and still not what I'd choose, but I don't need to vocalize that and instead I can find ways to say something positive in place of the usual griping. 

This applies to all sorts of things: the work colleague (how pleasant it is when she's not there), getting stuck in a cluster of red traffic lights on the way to or from work - (this can be a time to breathe and relax - rather than rant and rave), getting rained on at the petrol station when I'm trying to fill up my car (this can be quite "refreshing"), it's about choosing how I let any particular circumstance affect me.

I also notice it works with exercising on our Elliptical Machine - I'm still diligently using it 3 times a week - but this week I didn't complain about it. I did what needed to be done, commended myself for doing it, and then ticked it off the list and got on with my day. Whinging about it changes nothing but remind me that it's not my favourite pastime, whereas, patting myself on the back for completing my time on it gives me much more satisfaction in the long run.

THREE WEEKS TO GO

I'm looking forward to seeing if I can maintain the positive thoughts over the next three weeks - especially with the work challenges. Things at work have been a bit easier recently, so if they escalate again, I'm hoping that changing my approach might help me handle the situation more proactively. 

I don't see myself as a big complainer, but I do see that there are areas I can improve on and by doing so, it will have a flow-on effect at home and with my other interactions. I'll do a post at the end of the Challenge to let you know how I go and if it's made an ongoing improvement - or if I've fallen by the wayside - stay tuned!

Accepting the 30 Day No Complaining Challenge - and why I chose to try it  (photo Photo by Guna on Unsplash)

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44 comments

  1. I haven't heard of this challenge before but it definitely sounds like something I'd do! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I'm hoping it will give me a more positive mindset if I pick myself up on all the times I slide into negativity :)

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  2. What a great idea! I've found that venting about certain people or situations in my work life don't really help either so I just avoid getting to those topics at all. Although I think a complete "no complaining" challenge would be really difficult for me.

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    1. It's actually quite hard to find the line between what is a complaint and what is a comment about a not-great situation. I'm trying to err on the side of positivity and not get sucked into negative conversations and situations - it's tricky!

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  3. What a great challenge. I try and be a bright sider, but I've felt myself slipping lately over some family issues back in Sydney. A timely reminder for me.

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    1. I'm struggling with it in the work context Jo - and it's been a good reminder to keep trying to distance myself from the stuff I've been complaining about.

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  4. Leanne, this is such a great challenge to incorporate into all our lives. I find I get frustrated doing the daily grind and the end of the day is when I'm at my worst. I'm going to take a step back and just grit my teeth and get it done - like you mentioned about the elliptical trainer.

    SSG xxx

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    1. I bring it home with me SSG and I hate that aspect - home should be a haven, not a dumping ground. It's a violation in a way and I resent that so much - which is why I'm trying to not talk about the negative stuff so much.

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  5. I haven't heard of this challenge before but I'd love to do it as a family project.

    Ingrid
    http://www.fabulousandfunlife.blogspot.com.au

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    1. I've seen it as a 24 hour challenge Ingrid - but that seemed pretty easy to me (especially if it was on a good day) Going for a month is much more challenging and I'm getting reminders from my husband regularly! As a family you could reinforce each other's attempts :)

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  6. Hi Leanne! Wow! Good for you for taking this on. I've done it for a while but honestly don't think I've made it to even 30 days. I even got the wristband to help remind me...and it did...but it is still more difficult than it sounds. But as you say, the advantages are ENORMOUS! I look forward to hearing how you are transformed by this. ~Kathy

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    1. I saw that there was a wristband Kathy but apparently there's a wait to get it on order and I needed to get moving with my change of mindset. I don't think I'll be transformed, but if it makes me more aware of when I'm slipping into negativity then it will be worth every minute of the month!

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  7. when I decided to remove the waste of time complaining from my world, I became much more aware how others complaining impacted me, so that was a real incentive to stop. Now I'm trying to get the rest of the family on board. I try to stick by the motto: if you can't or won't do anything about the issue, its not really an issue so stop going on about it.

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    1. Your motto is so true Jenni - if I can't or won't change it, then whinging about it really doesn't do anything except make it worse. I get so sick of going over the same problem so not dwelling/talking etc helps move me past it.

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  8. Wishing you well for the next three weeks, it sounds like you are enjoying the challenge and getting pretty good at changing your attitude around. Well done!

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    1. I have my backwards moments Deb but at least I can see them for what they are now (and my husband enjoys pointing them out!) It's interesting seeing how easy it is to slip if I'm not being intentional about not complaining.

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  9. I'm doing a calendar of monthly challenges. These small things that I do for at least 30 days are life-changing.

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    1. I love your idea of doing a challenge (even a really small one) daily for each month Pennie - it's definitely given me food for thought.

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  10. I love how this is making you look for more positive ways to frame things, like enjoying how positive the office is without your colleague.

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    1. It's a constant turning of my thoughts from one way of looking at a situation to trying to find something okay about it. I'm not sure I can do it every time but if I succeed most of the time then I'm improving.

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  11. Good for you! When you have a Debbie Downer at work it is very difficult to not be sucked in but you are right on target for the best outcome by changing your attitude and if that means not complaining so be it. I admire your fortitude and am cheering you on!!

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    1. Thanks Haralee - every time she appears I can feel myself getting sucked down - now I'm aiming to smile and nod and move on with less engagement. If that doesn't work then maybe it's time to look at what else is on offer out there.

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  12. I took this same challenge several years ago and it changed my life. Oh, I am in no way perfect, but I hope I complain less. Mom always told me, "You can't change them. All you can change is you." I hated it when she said that. But she was right!

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    1. Your mum was a very wise woman Diane - and she was absolutely right. I've spent two years trying to help this person change and she doesn't want to - so I need this challenge to help me shift my focus - maybe it will change my life too :)

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  13. Hmm. I did this challenge for 7 days, having dared my readers to take it on. It's time I did it again, but 30 days? Yikes! Can I do this? https://shirleycorder.com/cutting-dies/

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    1. I think 30 days is actually easier Shirley because if you have a bad day you haven't killed it, you can just learn and look at the rest of the month to improve. I'm trying really hard, but some days are certainly easier than others!

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  14. As I was reading your blog, I was shaking my head in agreement with so many of the points you made. I have never done a challenge of any kind. I can see how it def would change ones mind set. We can only control our own thoughts and happiness. Love the Maya Angelou quote.

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    1. I think I'm trying to be more intentional with how I speak about a situation Ellen - complaining doesn't seem to achieve much - if anything it makes it worse, so this is my next step in tackling a few problematic areas of my life.

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  15. Congratulations on taking on this challenge, Leanne. I love your reflections and the insights that you have discovered so far. I look forward to reading more on how this 30-day challenge goes for you.

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    1. Thanks so much Donna - I think I see Midlife as my chance to lift my game a bit and focus some energy on being a better and wiser version of younger "me" - hopefully I'm getting there slowly!

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  16. Kudos Leanne - I love how your perception shifted and you could so intelligently find the reasons of your rants! I am so damn impressed and really would love to know how you fared till the end! More power to you!

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    1. Thanks so much Shalz - what I'm finding is that turning things around in my head and trying to look for a more positive approach is definitely making an improvement in how I read a situation.

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  17. Oh my goodness Leanne - what a brave woman you are! I know in my head this is the best way to live - I've even tried it for an hour or so...I love the intention of this post - it's made me take a serious look at my own complaining habit. I work with some amazing people who generally bring positivity to their work, but every now and then we "laughingly complain" about things, thinking we're still being positive. I now see a need for my own improvement.

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    1. I was pretty much mired in a swamp of drama at work Melody and really needed to find a way to stop bringing it home with me. I don't think I've been perfect but I've definitely improved.

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  18. How interesting. I can't wait to hear how it progresses throughout the challenge. Please update us.

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    1. Thanks Shari - I'll do a post at the end to do a wrap up of my progress.

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  19. I hear you on no complaining. I am trying to not whinge for one day. I've been unwell on top of getting over cancer so my mood has not been great & it focuses me more on my appearance and deficits so...I am going to try to recall the good things I have going for me instead. Thanks for linking up for LifeThisWeek 41/52. Next week: Travel Tales

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    1. Sometimes we have more negative stuff going on in our lives than we can handle Denyse and it is so easy to get dragged down by it - I'm finding that work is a real trial for me atm (and that doesn't come close to your health issues!) But a small change in how we choose to perceive things can make a big difference.

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  20. What an idea , I am very eager to see how it goes, best wishes.

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    1. Thanks - so far I'm doing okay (I think!)

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  21. Our small group at church tried this for two weeks. Taking such a challenge really helps you realize how much you would complain if you weren't refraining from it. I think everyone should try it for at least a week just to gain the awareness (and give one's family a break.)

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    1. I keep catching myself sliding towards complaining and having to stop and turn around Barbara - it's a good lesson in perception and it certainly improves a situation if you try to take your eyes off the negatives.

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  22. I have not heard of this challenge before, so thanks for the idea. Sounds like you are doing well, keep up the good work friend. At a job my husband was once training for, they were told to put a rubber-band on their wrist and if they found themselves being negative they were to give the band a good flick to remind themselves. However we do it, I like the idea of changing ourselves before we try changing others. It is no surprise that we will feature this great idea. All the best.
    Kathleen

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    1. My husband does family counselling Kathleen and he says the rubber band idea works really well for people trying to change their way of thinking. I think it's been really good for me to be more aware of how often I let the negatives creep in and to try to turn that around. Lovely that you're featuring my post on the Pit Stop - thanks so much x

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