Today Starts The 30 Day Kindness Challenge!
And weeeeee’re off! The starter’s gun has fired and we’re off and running on a thirty day marathon that will lead to some very cool encouragement in our lives and marriages.
Just as a quick review, here’s the race set before us (the 30 Day Kindness Challenge). For the next 30 days:
- We are not going to be saying anything negative about our spouse – either to them or about them to someone else. Not to a friend, mother, colleague – zip!
- Each day, we are going to find one thing positive that we can affirm and be grateful for about our spouse, and we are going to tell our spouse that thing and tell one other person (tell the friend, mom or coworker!)
- Each day, we are going to be doing at least one small act of kindness for our spouse.
I hope you’re excited about this, because I sure am. I’ve seen the life change that comes from doing this – I’ll be sharing a few of those stories in the coming days!
I’ll also be sharing stories from this challenge – from my friends, colleagues and staff who are doing this with me, and from you! So share your stories on Facebook or write in on my blog. We will be very honest about the “real deal” so I’m going to be sharing not only the encouraging stuff, but my mess-ups!
So you ready to go? Here are three tips for a successful 30 Day Kindness Challenge:
Success Tip #1: Run the race with a partner – or a gaggle!
Grab a friend or four to do this with you. It will be SO much easier if you have friends running this 30 day race alongside.
Ladies: a few days after I recently mentioned this Challenge at a large church women’s event, the event organizer told me the women in her church were talking about this everywhere — so I KNOW you’ll be able to find some girlfriends to join you!
Guys: even though I know you aren’t usually as quick to gather a coffee klatch together (!), get a buddy to join you in this. If your wife is doing the Challenge with you, great – get another couple to join you! But even if your wife isn’t doing this, try to enlist another guy who you can bounce things off of, encourage and support. And feel free to post questions and comments on Facebook to get input from others on the course!
Success Tip #2: Notice what your spouse sees as negative!
For this to work, you’ll need to pay very, VERY close attention to what your spouse or significant other sees as ‘saying something negative about them.’ You may view something as teasing (“You’re never been able to figure out how to handle that colleague of yours!”) that he or she views as torture (My spouse thinks I’m an idiot).
And it is their perception that matters here. After all, most of us don’t say something we think is overtly negative: We know “you’re fat” ain’t gonna go over so well. So we don’t say it. But we do sometimes roll our eyes and say “It drives me nuts when you drive below the speed limit.” Or “I can’t believe he made us late. He was snailing along in the right lane again. As if that will make him a safer driver…”
Now to be clear: The 30 Day Kindness Challenge doesn’t mean we can’t address problems that need to be address! But for the next 30 days we are going to focus on being kind. We will discover in a very, very immediate way that it is not WHAT you say, but HOW you say it, that changes everything. (“Honey, I’m so grateful you work so hard to be a safe driver for our family. Thank you for that. At some point, I’d love to talk to you about whether we can start leaving a few minutes earlier, since I get anxious when we’re at risk of being late.”)
Success Tip #3: Try a gift journal for your mate – but write in your own personal journal, too!
This challenge ends Valentine’s Day, and for those of you who are interested: buy a gift journal and write your answers to #2 in it every single day. Record your grateful thoughts about your spouse or significant other. And then give it to them on the big day as a very, very special Valentine’s Day present.
But also… if you have your own personal journal… keep track of what happens this month. Write down what you said and how they responded. Notice and make a note of the things they begin to say. Record the words you used that really made an encouraging difference… and those that, well, required a few penitent prayers!
The more you do this, the more you’ll be teaching yourself what works. And the more you apply what works, the more you will see the 30 Day Kindness Challenge leading you to exactly where you want to be!
With you on the journey….