MY 30 DAYS OF NO COMPLAINING

What I learned from my 30 Days of No Complaining Challenge

THE CHALLENGE

You may have read my post a few weeks ago about accepting the Challenge to go 30 days without complaining. I really needed a kick in the pants in this area so I committed to the process and now it's almost finished - only a couple more days to go!

RE-DEFINING TERMS

What I noticed was that I justified a lot of my negative thinking by saying that I wasn't "complaining" but rather I was making an "observation". Regardless of the term I chose to use, it was still coming from a place of negativity and I needed to do some serious work on my thought processes.

I found that dealing with drama from other people had tended to make me start spiraling down into critical thinking. I got so tired of it all and it had taken a prime place in my thoughts and in my conversation - to the point where it was starting to depress me and it coloured my world. The Challenge was my way of looking for a proactive way to tackle this.

 stop complaining - tell me something you love, something that makes you smile

PUTTING IT INTO PRACTICE

I had come to realize that complaining was stealing my joy and changing nothing. Once I decided I wanted to stop complaining so much I needed to turn my mind towards rephrasing what I was thinking into a more positive approach. It made me become more of a problem solver rather than a problem discusser, and surprisingly brought with it some expected rewards.

HOW IT PANNED OUT

Overall I think I've become more positive. It's taught me that my attitude and reactions to situations make a big difference as to how much a particular problem upsets me. I found I wasn't dragging my husband down when I came home from work because I could look at the daily drama from a different viewpoint and discuss ways to handle it, rather than just rehashing the whole thing.

I also realized that I didn't have all that many things in my life that were worth complaining about. Although I had initially thought I'd need to make big changes, it was really just a matter of making a few adjustments and reminding myself when I slipped up. My life is pretty good in the grand scheme of things, so 90% of the time I didn't even think about the challenge - and my husband was always happy to remind me when I was starting to slip on the other 10% of the time!


WAS IT WORTH IT?

Definitely! It has been a really useful exercise and there was an added benefit that I never expected - it brought me a solution to my work drama! Once I turned my attitude around I realized that if I didn't like the situation then it was up to me to make the changes - I couldn't expect my work colleague to change when she didn't have the capacity to, I needed to figure out a way to cope.

So, I put together a plan, presented it and had an answer for every contingency. The plan was accepted and I get to transition into it over the next month or so and start the new order of things officially in the new year. I was really proud of the fact that I found a solution to a problem that has been impacting my life for the last two years. There's no guarantee that it will be successful, but it's a huge step in the right direction.


WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Have I tempted you to try the 30 Days of No Complaining Challenge? I noticed in the comments on my first post that several people had tried it for a day or so, but I found a month really gave me time to settle into the process. I plan to continue reminding myself about this and to approach problems with the idea of finding a solution rather than just whinging about it.

What I learned from my 30 Days of No Complaining Challenge

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30 comments

  1. Hi, Leanne - Congratulations on maintaining this challenge and fully putting it into practice. I am impressed with the insights that you reached. Thank you for sharing this.

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    1. Thanks for the encouraging words Donna - I'd like to think that I have the whole thing wrapped up and tied with a bow, but I still have a fair way to go - but this has been a great starting point.

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  2. So glad you took up this challenge and saw it through! It's amazing how our perspective shifts when we stop complaining. A gratitude journal also helps with this habit tremendously.

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    1. I tried a gratitude journal for a while Shailaja but I kept forgetting to write in it or repeated the same stuff. For me it's been a case of listening to what comes out of my mouth and what's going on in my brain and shutting up the negative stuff before it takes hold.

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  3. Leanne, good for you for trying this....not sure I could go 30 days or even 3. However I do try to be better about it and don't fret over the small stuff....

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    1. I think it was easier to do it over a longer period of time Renee because it allowed me to have setbacks without feeling like I'd failed. I'm going to keep reminding myself to see if I can maintain the momentum.

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  4. Well done on this great achievement - which is what it is. It's a lot harder than it sounds to take ownership of your own responses.

    I have been working on this type of thing for THREE YEARS and still find myself slipping back into complaining. It is hard but seeing the perspective switch to ourselves is very empowering.

    Well done again

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    1. Thanks AJ - and you're right, it is a long term learning curve to teach ourselves to look for the positive and not slide down the easy path of being negative or whinging. I feel like it has made me more proactive and that's been a great (and unexpected) benefit of the process.

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  5. Well done Leanne! I may make my New year's resolution to complain 10% only based on your account. I think a 10- to even 20% of no complaining is OK so we don't all end up a lot of PolyAnnas where everything is wonderful. I failed last year on my resolution by February in not complaining about the weather. This year if I give myself a cushion and widen my complaining to everything I may succeed!

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    1. You're right about allowing ourselves a little bit of leeway Haralee - because sometimes something is just downright sucky and we should be allowed to say so! I guess the secret is to not dwell on it and to move on before it takes on more importance than it deserves.

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  6. I think this is marvelous! And good for you for completing the challenge! I took a similar challenge a few years ago, thought it was only for two weeks. And it changed my life! And taught me: It's all small stuff!

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    1. You're so on the mark with that comment Diane - it really is small stuff isn't it? And the bigger stuff needs to be dealt with - not just whinged about. I've come to realize that I'm responsible for how stuff affects me and it's up to me to stop moaning and to actually do something to improve the situation.

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  7. I'm not a complainer--blessed with my father's disposition; he was a sunny-side-up person too. But I have a good friend who is a major venter of all things that bother her. would it be rude to share your blog post with her?

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    1. My sister-in-law calls herself a glass 3/4 full kind of girl and you must have a similar disposition. I'd love to be naturally upbeat all the time - I manage it mostly but I also was falling into the trap of whinging about the less "nice" stuff and your friend probably has the same problem - you'll have to casually mention the challenge during your next coffee date!

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  8. Yikes - I am a complainer, although I try not to let it creep into my blog too much (except complaining about winter). I am not ready for this challenge, although I am so "up to here" with certain family drama, which reared its ugly head again yesterday - I may be rethinking not trying to reduce the amount of my complaints. My husband would certainly be happier. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

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    1. It's so easy to slide into complaining when you are surrounded by drama and negative Nellies - I let myself get sucked down a rabbit hole at work, and I'm so glad I decided to try this Challenge because it helped me look at it with fresh eyes and to take responsibility for changing things instead of just whinging about it! And my husband is very pleased about the challenge and getting to remin me - he's hoping I continue.

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  9. That's brilliant that your 30 day challenge went so well! I'm so happy to hear you ended up finding a solution you were looking for at work too :) x

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    1. Thanks so much - it kind of ended up being a win/win for me - an unexpected outcome from taking responsibility for my thoughts and words!

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  10. I probably complain more than I should. Maybe I should try it a little less.

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    1. That's where I was at Wrae - I haven't become perfect but I've certainly developed the ability to hear myself when I'm starting and to turn it around.

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  11. Great job Leanne - I think I could do with this challenge. Lately I've been 'observing' as you put it more than I should be. Having a challenge certainly makes you focus on what you are doing doesn't it? I'm so happy that you found a solution to your job situation as well. Thanks for sharing at #overthemoon.

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    1. The trouble with most of my 'observations' were that they usually focused on the not so great stuff. Even if it wasn't a "proper" complaint it still didn't rate as being very positive. I'm just pleased that my attitude has improved and it brought about a postive work outcome too.

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  12. I'm impressed Leanne. I actually tried just 24 hours and slipped up, so that I started over several times before I made it through 24 hours without a single complaint. I love that you mentioned calling complaining by another name "observing." I've done that too. Have a lovely complaint-free weekend!

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    1. I think it's harded to do in a 24 hour period Christie - you feel like such a failure when you slip up - when you do it over a longer period it allows a bit of leeway for those moments when you realize your "observation" was rather critical :)

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  13. I liked your first post on this subject and have eagerly awaited this one. I admire that you stuck at for a month, and I guess the longer you do it the more natural it will become a part of you. I don't call myself a complainer, but reading your post, I probably am more than I recognize. You have made me more conscious of these thought patterns. Thanks for bringing our attention to 'complaining.'
    Kathleen
    Blogger's Pit Stop

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    1. I didn't see myself as a complainer either Kathleen, but when things got a bit not-so-flash at work I could hear myself whinging about it too much. It's been a good way to address the situation before I became a grumpy old lady :)

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  14. I don't know if I complain a lot, but it's on my radar now so will see how I go over the next few weeks!

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  15. This is a great challenge both because it is awesome but also because it is pretty big! I love the awareness that it brings.

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