Last year I participated in a challenge called Last 90 Days, created by Rachel Hollis. The idea behind this challenge is to live life in the last 90 days of the year as intentionally as we tend to live in the first 90 days. This means that you start your year further along than you would have if you hadn’t chosen to just coast through the last couple of months of 2019. I love this concept, but a lot of what Rachel’s Last 90 Days challenge consists of is rooted in diet culture. If you are familiar with my work, you know I am not about that anymore. So, I decided to create my own challenge based on this concept of ending the year strong, but without all the harmful diet messaging. It is called End With a BANG! BANG stands for Body Love, Appreciation, Nothing, Goals. In pledging to take the End With a BANG challenge, you chose to practice each of these principles for the remainder of this year. Here is what each of them means:
Body Love. First, I want to point out that you do not have to love your body to show your body some love. There are a lot of ways you can show your body love. You could take a bubble bath or do a face mask. You can engage in joyful movement, in whatever form is meaningful to you. Make sure you have enough food to eat or make sure you are adequately hydrated. Body Love can also be rest, relaxation, or making sure you get enough sleep. Maybe it means getting dressed up, so you feel good in your body, or even just looking in the mirror and saying something positive about your body. There are so many things you can do to love on your body. You don’t have to pick just one. You can do as many as you want on whatever day you want. The idea is to start to listen to what your body is saying it needs that day. The challenge here is to make sure you do at least one thing every day to show your body love (even if you don’t love your body) once a day for the next 90 days.
Appreciate. This is similar to the idea of practicing gratitude. Essentially, all you need to do is set aside some time every day to appreciate the people, things, opportunities, etc that are available to you. You can write this in a journal, make a blog post about it, meditate on it, or even just talk with your partner or friends about it. Put your appreciation out into the universe. Practicing gratitude will help rewire your brain to think more positively. Keep in mind, you can’t “positive thinking” your way out of mental illness. However, I found when I have included this practice alongside working with my therapist, it does help mitigate the severity of my symptoms. Forcing your self to find the blessings in life, no matter how small, can be a starting point for building hope. That is why I have chosen to include this as a daily BANG practice.
Nothing. This principle sounds easy but is much harder to implement. Do Nothing. That is right! In the hustle and bustle the holidays and the last few months of the year, it is easy to get caught up in it all. Stop. Slow Down. Take the time to do nothing. If the idea of meditation sounds too woo-woo to you, just think of this as rest. Caroline Dooner is who inspires this principle, with her two years of rest (you read that right). I understand how difficult making time to do nothing can be, especially this time of year, so I am going to give you some grace on this one. If you are new to the idea of doing nothing, just start with one day a week. If you feel comfortable, I encourage you to aim for once a day. Don’t feel pressured. This is not a competition or a race. I just know that when I practice nothing I am more clear-headed, focused, and at peace. That is what I want for you in the next 90 days.
Goals. This is probably my favorite principle of End With a Bang. I am a BIG dreamer if you couldn’t already tell. The whole point of all of this is to set you up to get a head start in the new year. To do that, we need to first revisit our 2019 goals. If you didn’t set goals (or resolutions) for 2019, consider the goals you are hoping to set for 2020. For me, there are some goals I accomplished: moving to Dallas, starting therapy, and rejecting diets. There are also some goals I have not met, and will not meet by the end of the year, such as my savings goal (see torrid haul). Then there are goals that are in progress and will continue to be in progress throughout 2020. These are the goals I want you to be focusing on. Choose one of these goals, whatever they may be for you, that you can realistically start to make progress on in the next few months. Then make time every day to work towards this goal. For me, this will be self-care/compassion. This is something I really struggle with and that I think this season I can really improve on. This will obviously be different for everyone, but my hope is to build a community around End with a BANG that will support you in all your efforts. Lastly, there is a reason this is the last concept. Though goals are super important, self-care, rest, and gratitude should always come first. This will help you in not burning out or losing sight of why we are doing this in the first place.
So how do you take the pledge? First, join the End With a BANG Facebook page here. Once the challenge begins on October 1st, I will start posting weekly motivational blog posts each Monday about different topics that inspired me to make this challenge to help you stay on the BANG principles. There will also be weekly discussion prompts geared toward each of the BANG principles. This group is meant to be a community, so you are encouraged to make your own posts as well, whether you are struggling or celebrating. This is my first time doing anything like this, so I know there may be a learning curve. I appreciate your patience and grace with this process. I hope you are willing to guinea pig this with me so that we can build this community around bettering ourselves and encouraging others. Let’s end 2019 with a BANG!
P.S. I’d like to make a very special shout out to my friend, Holly! She made the awesome design at the top of this post, and that you will see throughout EWAB. You can check out her blog here. She also just recently started an Etsy for her art, so if you like her style, go check her out!