My 21 days without complaining challenge really was paved with discoveries and realizations from the very beginning. During the first few days, I went through what I call the “bracelet dance”. From the left wrist to the right wrist, and so forth… All day long. I was very happy that I picked a stretchy bracelet (very practical)!
Then I became aware that if I wanted to stop having to start from day 1 every day, it was of the utmost importance that I start becoming aware of the situations that pushed me to complain and see if I could avoid them. This way, I clearly identified that the morning was my most dangerous moment of the day (followed closely by bed time) with three daughters, breakfast, packing lunches, three different schools and the clock that keeps on ticking…Danger was straight ahead!
Every morning, I found myself complaining, whining, feeling rushed, oppressed, trying to monitor my kids: “Get ready, eat your breakfast, how can you not know where your shoes are? Hurry, hurry, hurry!”
It really wasn’t a good way to start my day. In an ideal setting, I wanted mornings to be calm, a nice family moment to be at peace with my daughters before parting ways for school and work.
So I asked myself what I could do to avoid putting myself in these situations. It seemed to be the more efficient strategy to really stop complaining. If I eliminated the reason to complain, then the challenge would be easier! No more having to keep it to myself! With this in mind, I slowly implemented some changes:
# I asked my daughters to get their own school lunch ready the night before (not all schools have a cafeteria)
# I created a routine with them: they pick their outfits the night before (as for the shoes, we are still working on that!)
# I started to get my coffee machine ready the night before.
# I finally managed to get up earlier (which had seemed impossible).
This challenge quickly made me realize how important it is to be clear about what works for me and what doesn’t. So I gave myself the mission to avoid the situations I know will make me complain.
# If I’m still sitting at my desk at 6pm when it’s my turn to make dinner, I know that soon my kids will be asking to eat and that will stress me out – I can either stop working and make dinner or stay at work and assume my own choice later without complaining.
# If I have an important appointment, I leave 10 minutes earlier instead of trying to get “one more thing done” that will inevitably make me late.
To this day, this idea of avoiding situations that generate frustration or stress has become my priority and, each time I can see trouble heading my way in that sense, I get back on track as soon as possible. No more waiting to reach the deep end.
As a matter of fact, this challenge quickly demonstrated that the idea is not to take in everything with a smile, or to force ourselves to see life through rose-colored glasses. It is actually the opposite; it is a project to help us develop a new way of life. To live moments with more pleasure and, if it’s really not going well, assuming our part of responsibility and see what can be done to reorganize things or do them differently.
Those who attempt the challenge by adopting the “take it all in with a smile” approach cannot last for more than a few hours or a few days. And, in the end, they have not obtained the expected result of a happier, more serene and fuller life.
Love and Respect,
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“Christine Lewicki is committed to help people quit complaining and become entrepreneurs of their lives. You can download your FREE ”I Quit Complaining Starter Kit” on her blog www.iquitcomplaining.com