This past month, members of our staff and alumni decided to start off the year with a #21DayCleanChallenge. In this 21 day challenge, participants gave up an unhealthy habit and instead replaced it with a healthy one.
Each person recorded their daily struggles on social media, and shared how the challenge has changed their perspective or the way they live. They also listened to their personal motivation song, which we added to our very own #CleanChallenge playlist.
With this challenge, our goal was to encourage others to take an honest look at their habits and how they could improve them. By recognizing their toxic or self-destructive habits, participants were more encouraged to look at their lifestyles beyond just the challenge.
We also wanted to encourage those who were following the challenge on social media to take a look at themselves. It’s easier to be vulnerable with yourself if you see someone else being raw and honest about their habits.
A huge motivating factor for our challenge was recognizing the struggles and triumphs of those whose “clean challenge” is staying clean and sober every day. We wanted to uplift those in the recovery community and give them more opportunities to cleanse themselves of toxic behaviors. For those not in recovery, it gave them the chance to take a glimpse into the daily lives and struggles of those who are.
The Clean Challenge Results
Many of our participants gave up unhealthy foods, sweets, soda, sugar, and even social media. There were a variety of positive habits picked up, which included exercising, reading, meditation, and journaling or blogging. Although there were some slip ups and cheat days, many of those who committed themselves to the challenge followed through.
Vicki Q., a member of our staff, gave up unhealthy eating habits after undergoing bariatric surgery. Vicki blogged her experience and shared inspirational quotes and memes during the challenge in order to encourage others struggling with body image issues.
“What I learned from this experience is that I’m a lot more capable than I ever thought I was,” she said at the conclusion of the challenge.
Another participant, Kirsten H., gave up social media to spend more time focusing on her eating habits and studying Scripture. This sabbatical from social media encouraged her to reach out to family and friends in different ways. It also inspired her to spend more time searching herself and Scripture whenever she was tempted to use social media.
Although Kirsten wasn’t able to read her Bible every day as planned, she felt good about what she was able to accomplish. “I felt good doing what I knew I was supposed to do, and it was kind of nice to get a break from the whole social media trend,” she said in her recap.
Abigail D. decided to give up unhealthy eating habits like bingeing and restricting and replaced them with portioned eating. Although there were some days where she went over her calorie budget, she felt amazing after surrendering to the rigors of the challenge and sticking to her diet. She feels as though everything has been impacted by her eating habits, from her energy to her patience to her hair.
“I actually started taking walks and that wasn’t even part of the challenge, but I just felt so good that I wanted to get my body moving,” she shares during her recap. Over the course of 21 days, her entire perspective on food changed.
“When you really want to better yourself… you will take care of yourself in all aspects,” she says as she finishes her recap. “This was a great experience and I’m really happy to have shared it with you all along the way.”
What We Can Take Away
Overall, the #21DayChallenge brought a lot of positivity to those who participated. Even those who weren’t able to live up to the expectations they set for themselves learned more about themselves.
Temporary challenges like these can help those feeling stuck in a rut find a way to dare themselves to do more. For those in recovery, it’s a wonderful way to reinforce and implement the behavioral tools taught during treatment. For those who aren’t, challenges like these serve as snapshots into the daily lifestyles of people who are.
This challenge encouraged patience, self-love, and determination in everyone, especially those who slipped up. For those struggling to live their lives clean and sober, it can serve as a reminder that we can overcome the small lapses on our way to fulfilling a bigger goal.
Check out some of the recap videos and updates to hear directly from our participants!