Through my years of pursuing personal growth, I’ve encountered numerous ways to set goals, to start new habits, and to be a better version of yourself. And I’ve learned a new approach to self-improvement: the 66-day challenge.
What I like about it is that it’s simple — one step at a time. And, you have a set time frame to work in. You can do the challenge with others or alone. You can have a support and/or accountability team. This is a challenge of your own making, and that tickles my sense of independence and desire for accomplishment on my terms.
The 66-day challenge is a great tool — weapon, maybe — for your success.
You have your dream, a goal to strive for. You go after it to be the best you can be at it. That takes time and practice. You count it out 66 days at a time, like metered steps to move you along. Even getting better at the first step of your growth and progress toward your goal makes you better.
What I mean by that is that if you want to be the best calligrapher in the world, you may decide to make your first 66-day challenge be learning how to draw a line. Along the way, you decide you want to learn how to make ink, so that becomes your next 66-day challenge. Then you want to learn how to change the width of your lines, so there is your next 66-day challenge, an idea that came to you during your second 66-day challenge. On you grow.
This is more than “learning” how to do something. It’s perfecting what you know. It’s creating a habit of working on your craft. It’s getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.
You could decide to get into the best health shape of your life; what would you start your challenge with? Would you start with food, movement, strength, weight, or maybe flexibility? Any of those would be great, and your inner voice will guide you as to which is your first challenge.
Or maybe your dream is to be the best sitar player. How about the best writer? Maybe you want to be the best gardener. What first step would you make your 66-day challenge? There are so many dreams! There are so many 66-day challenge options!
The 66-day challenge is taking action toward your dream, deciding what step to take to get you closer to your dream. And then you work that step, getting better and better at it every day for 66 days. You practice, you push yourself outside your comfort zone, you repeat.
You may fail some days, but the next day you pick right up again and keep going. The idea is to always seek to do it better this time than the last. If you fall off course, pick yourself back up, brush yourself off, look at the mistake and figure out what you need to learn from it, and go again. You learn from your mistakes and failures as much as from your successes. You grow from your mistakes and failures, and from your triumphs.
During the course of your 66-day challenge, your inner-knowing will tell you what your next challenge is going to be. That knowing comes out of the progress you make toward your goal. You can’t know ahead of time what the next important step is for you to take until you are in a challenge. You may think you know what you want to do next, but that’s based on where you are now, not where you’ll be then. Trust the inner-knowing to guide you.
It’s more fun doing a challenge with someone else. You have a built-in accountability partner that way. You have someone to give you support and encouragement, someone who knows what you are going through. That person can bounce ideas around with you about what you’re learning, how to approach the challenge better or differently, and even help you brush yourself off when you fail. Plus, you learn things that help you by being an accountability partner for them.
One secret is to not let the lack of a partner keep you from stepping into a 66-day challenge. You could have an accountability partner who is either doing their own challenge or someone who isn’t but has your best interest at heart.
What’s important is to have dreams, take action to reach them, and always apply your best effort to everything you do. Challenge yourself to success.