Do 21-Day Challenges Really Work?

A few weeks ago she wrote about balance and today guest writer Katie Everhart Wight is back to discuss habits — and if 21-day challenges can really lead to lasting changing. Katie lives in Kansas City with her mister and two furry friends. She earned her communication studies degree with a double emphasis in film and media studies and journalism and mass communication from the University of Missouri – Kansas City in 2009. She completed her masters in library and information sciences in 2015 from the University of Central Missouri. Katie also loves spending time with family, traveling, and being outdoors — and she’s discovering what leading a Fit Bottomed Girls lifestyle really means. She’s pretty sure it’s okay to love coffee and chocolate if you balance them out with long dog walks. And we tend to agree. 

Side view of fitness woman preparing for a city run. Young caucasian woman walking on pavement looking down.

Our brains often keep us from trying things we are more than capable of doing. Self-doubt is such a terrible enemy! One of my biggest struggles is exercising. I recently completed a masters program. I really didn’t have much free time, so if I had a 30-minute window I was much more likely to choose a TV show over exercise. Well, now I’m done so I have no excuse! That extra computer time and added afternoon “study” lattes have taken a toll.

Every day I’ve told myself I should begin exercising. I want to be strong! Strong women can do anything. Yet each day I put aside those thoughts and desires for another day. I find that getting started is often the hardest part. I’m working on finding balance and felt inspired to finally begin! Also, it gave me a good excuse to write — one of my greatest passions.

I’ve heard about 21 day challenges. Do you really notice a change after doing something for 21 days? Does it become habit? Sounds like the perfect time to find out! I teetered between walking my feisty dogs and using my dusty elliptical. While I would love to be walked by my dogs more often (and I’m sure they would love it, too) it’s still winter in Missouri and that adds to our already unpredictable weather. I needed something I could definitely do for 21 days without excuse. Cue the dusty elliptical!

A couple years ago I had this brilliant plan that I would absolutely, most certainly, definitely exercise more if I had a piece of equipment IN MY HOUSE! I’ve never been a gym person and apparently I’m too shy and fearful of my neighborhood to exercise outside (or just lazy, come on). I felt if I could do it at home I would magically want to. I knew I liked treadmills, but opted to purchase an elliptical, something I had never used before, because my husband has bad knees and I read they are easier on knees. Aw, how sweet of me. He would roll his eyes at this and say I should’ve bought a treadmill.

Anyway, it arrived and we put it together. I climbed aboard! Seriously, I’m 5-foot-2-inches and this thing is huge. It feels like a task just getting up there. My shoes hide in the corners of the dinosaur-sized pedals. My arms have to be Stretch Arm Strong to use the moving arm pieces — official part name. I think it’s supposed to feel like running, but it doesn’t because my legs are too far apart. I tried on and off to use this thing, but I wouldn’t get past 5 to 10 minutes before my legs were calling mercy. Day after day I walked past the room where it sits as it invited me in.

I finally shared my grumbles with my husband. Even at the walking speed, it’s much harder than actually walking. He suggested moving the pedals without hitting the start button, which starts the tension. I didn’t believe that it would make a difference and continued putting off my get-fit journey. Cue the 21-day challenge!

I’ve decided it’s time to give my health, and my elliptical, a real shot. So I’ve committed to using it every day for 21 days. My goal is to move (glide, sway, ellip?) for the duration of a short TV episode for at least week one and build up from there. This is also part of my plan to hit another goal: complete a 5K. FBG goals being reached all over the place!

Spoiler alert, I’m four days in and it’s going great. See you in a couple weeks! —Katie Everhart Wight

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4 Comments

  1. Awesome! I’ve been wondering the same thing. I have a program called the 21 day fix by beachbody and so far I’ve totally messed up. Looking forward to seeing how yours is going. I just bought a treadmill so maybe I can join you.