February 1, 2018

When I read Shine’s New Year's Day text message announcing the #FeelGoodChallenge2018, I remember closing it immediately. Doing something that makes me feel good every day for 30 days straight? I internally scoffed at the idea, thinking I wouldn’t have enough time to participate in yet another New Year’s challenge. But then, I got a Twitter and Instagram alert of my sister’s Day 1 #FeelGoodChallenge2018 post. After I saw her and other people in the challenge taking time for things they enjoyed, I figured, why not join in? It can’t be that hard.

I took on the challenge as a way to really try and put myself first—something that seems pretty easy, but, admittedly, I have failed at before. I tend to always put myself last on my list. But thanks to the challenge, I started building in big and little things that gave me joy—starting my fitness program, enjoying a cup of coffee, learning to say “no” to people, savoring a game of Words With Friends. I wanted to focus on at least one thing a day that truly made me feel good about myself—and in the past 30 days, I learned how to do that. The challenge helped me get mindful and deliberate about prioritizing myself. But it wasn’t easy.

The challenge helped me get mindful and deliberate about prioritizing myself. But it wasn’t easy.

This past month taught me that some of the most challenging challenges aren’t physical—I wasn’t running a race or competing in some big event. I was simply asked to do something to make myself feel good every single day. And sometimes, it proved surprisingly tough. But I end the challenge feeling more fulfilled and committed to making time for myself.

Here’s what I learned along the way:

We Have to Work to Find the Good Every. Single. Day.

I learned quickly that the challenge was easier said than done. Day 1 was a piece of cake—I had just come from an amazing brunch that one of my girlfriends organized. It’s my New Year’s Day tradition—easy enough. But on Day 2, I started really thinking through the challenge and realized it was kind of hard to do one nice thing for myself every single day. It wouldn’t always just happen naturally—I’d have to actually take the challenge seriously and commit to make it happen.

The challenge asked people to share their feel-good moments on social media, and reading posts from other people using #FeelGoodChallenge2018 helped throughout the 30 days. The other people in the challenge inspired me to see the little wins in my day-to-day. I didn’t necessarily post my feel-good moment every day; some challenges were a little personal to me and I didn’t feel the need to tell the entire world. But it still helped to know I wasn’t alone in the challenge.

Asking my friends and family to hold me accountable helped, too. I found that my family—particularly my sister—really encouraged me. Friends seemed to really like when I posted about the challenge, and they offered their support as well.

Feel-Good Moments Don’t Have To Be Big

There were days when my feel-good moments centered around working out, getting in a glam session, or spending time with friends. However, I also had much smaller feel-good moments, like when I went through the gallery on my phone and picked out my best vacation moments. That was perhaps one of my top moments.

Or, the feel-good moment that centered around spending three hours at a committee planning meeting with sorority sisters and basking in their terrific company, enamored by how these wonderful ladies made me feel.

The smallest moment of all was perhaps simply saying to someone for the first time, “No, sorry I can’t do that. I need more time for me.” That was epic, and definitely worth repeating.

Prioritize What Makes You Feel Good

My biggest takeaway from the past 30 days: Even if you can't commit to a 30-day challenge, make feel-good things a priority. Throughout the challenge, I kept worrying in the back of my mind about Day 31—would I still keep prioritizing myself? But then I would nudge myself just to focus on one day at a time.

The more I share the challenge with friends, the more I want to continue it on February 1. Will I? Yes, and I might build more feel-good moments into my routine to make it a habit.

As I come to a close on the #FeelGoodChallenge2018, I’m incredibly thankful to Shine for challenging its readers. I’ve learned that a small commitment to yourself can yield big miracles and wonders.

Need some helping finding the good in your day-to-day? We got you. Shine's free iOS app has a 7-day challenge all about learning to see the good stuff. Check out a preview below, and download the Shine app to get started.

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