It’s always been about that, hasn’t it? Making small, sustainable changes, one or two at a time, that add up over time to solve the health puzzle. You know I am firm believer in the idea that if you focus on your health and happiness (and not losing weight), your body will respond in surprising ways.
So when the folks at MeYou Health asked me to participate in their #SmallActions Blogger Challenge, which ran from August 7 though 14, I was cautiously curious. I don’t like “challenges” almost as much as I don’t like “goals.”
So I checked it out ahead of time and signed up for the Daily Challenge (“Do one small healthy action every day and discover how rewarding it is to focus on your well-being.”). I was pleasantly surprised to see that these actions were easy to understand and do, usually right then and there, and only took a few minutes.
So I said “yes” with the caveat that I’d be in Vermont on a motorcycle with Tim for part of that time.
So here’s how it works: after you sign up, you get a daily email that outlines a small action. It tells you how to do it, step-by-step and then tells you why it matters.
Once complete, you click “done” and you get points. You can get additional points for posting on how you completed the challenge, for “smiling” at or commenting on participant’s posts, and for sharing the challenge on Facebook and Twitter. The more points you get, the faster you move up through various levels. Oh, and you also get badges. And there may even be some other stuff of which I am unaware!
On a side note, I have to admit that I really don’t care for any of that…I am not motivated by points and badges. In fact, I recently learned that there’s a name for this: “gamification” (using game-like functions – badges, awards, points – to encourage people to do certain things). Click the link to read what Katy Widwrick has to say about it.
But that’s not why I did the challenge and it’s not why I continue to participate even though the #SmallActions Blogger Challenge is over. I continue because I like the awareness and mindfulness that these small actions bring to my life.
For example, August 9th’s small action was this: “Wait for an imaginary bus by turning your head and holding for a count of 5. Then turn your head to the other side and do the same thing.”
I did it as soon as I finished reading about it. And then later that day, while in the midst of a long-ish ride on the motorcycle, I did it several times and it felt really good!
August 12th’s small action was similarly appreciated after a long ride: “While sitting in a chair, turn to your right and hold onto the back of the chair with your right hand and the arm of the chair with your left. With your hands in place, twist your torso, shoulders, and neck as far as you can toward the back of the chair. Hold the pose for a few seconds. Then do the same thing on the other side.”
“Find out about your food’s freshness.” This action took me to a website that listed the safe time limits for commonly refrigerated items, including raw meat and poultry, lunch meats, soups and stews, and different types of cooked leftovers.
“Bring order to your bookshelf.” I loved this decluttering action (and it could be used for closets, kitchen cabinets or any place that tends to stagnate with stuff). The directions were to set a timer for 10 minutes, pick any shelf on your bookcase and starting on the right side, pull any books that you didn’t like or that you probably won’t read again. Set them aside for donation.
“Do a knock-out move.” Stand with your legs about hip-width apart and bend your knees slightly. Hold your hands up in fists near your face. Punch the air in front of you at shoulder height, alternating arms. Contract your abdominal muscles to support your back, and make sure you don’t lock your elbows as you punch. Do this for 30 seconds and take a quick breather, then go back for another 30-second round.
As someone who kickboxes, this was a walk in the park, but that’s not the point. Not all the actions are challenging, nor are some of them new to me, but they do bring awareness and awareness is the key.
Do you participate in the Daily Challenge or something like it? If so, what motivates you? Were you even aware that “gamification” existed?