In a nutshell, the Whole Life Challenge is a 6-week online game that focuses on building awareness and establishing accountability of your daily habits.
Daily habits you’ll be keeping track of:
- how much sleep you get
- how much water you drink
- whether you are able to get in 20 minutes of purposeful movement (10 minutes of exercise; 10 minutes of mobility)
- what you choose to eat
How it works
Log on each day to the WLC website and enter a score to indicate whether you met your targets or not. Include a reflection about how your day went.
I first started doing the Whole Life Challenge in 2012. Having completed several challenges so far – and now being an ambassador for the challenge and a captain for one of the official teams – I can vouch for what an incredible life-changing experience it can be. While it is not a weight loss challenge, many people lose weight while participating mainly because it forces us to take a closer look at our habits on a daily basis. More important than weight loss, though, is the adoption of overall healthy habits such as sleeping more/better, drinking more water, being mindful of your movement. Being held accountable each day for the choices we make definitely makes you more conscious of how you spend your time and how you fuel your body.
When I first signed up for the WLC, I thought it was going to be something that I would try once. However, here I am, 7 years and 18+ challenges later still doing the challenge. Not only am I participant, but I am also an Ambassador for the challenge and have been running their Official team for several years now. What does an official team do? Well, as a member of my team you get to take advantage of my years of practice on the challenge, my preparation tips, and the knowledge that I’ve gained, which can be particularly helpful if you ever start to feel unmotivated or experience a stall in your efforts towards your goals. The truth is, the challenge is easier and more fun when you’re on a team, so join mine!
So what exactly is the Whole Life Challenge? Well, sometimes it’s easier to clarify what the Whole Life Challenge isn’t before getting into what it is …
What the WLC isn’t:
- It isn’t a fad diet. Although paying attention to nutrition plays a significant role in the WLC, the purpose isn’t to completely restrict you from eating whatever it is you want to eat.
- It isn’t a weight loss program. Although there are guidelines on what you should eat and there is a daily exercise quotient to fulfill, the challenge actually isn’t about weight loss. There are no guarantees or promises that you’ll lose 20 lbs in 8 weeks. Again, it is not a weight loss program.
- It isn’t just for fitness fanatics. You don’t already have to be involved in any form of fitness regime to join the Whole Life Challenge. Since there are 3 levels of play to choose from, you can choose how you want to play depending on what your goals are. Whether you want to lose a few pounds, add muscle, or just do something different, the challenge can be tailored for you.
- It isn’t going to sell you quick fixes, powders, pills, or false promises. The WLC provides parameters for you to follow in order to work towards living a healthy lifestyle. In the end, you are in control of your choices – you just have to hold yourself accountable for them.
What the WLC is: Participating in the Whole Life Challenge makes you accountable for your choices, shows you how you can adapt to your circumstances, and gives you a sense of accomplishment.
- Accountability — For 8 weeks you are given a set of guidelines to follow. At the end of each day during those 8 weeks you have to log in a score. It does not matter whether you are perfect or not, but to get any level of credit for that day, you must log on. Knowing that you need to log on to record your score on a daily basis makes you more aware of the choices you are making throughout the day. It forces you to take a moment and ask yourself – Is that slice of pizza (or whatever food that’s not compliant) really worth sacrificing a point? If the answer is yes, then go ahead, enjoy your slice. Just remember to deduct a point at the end of the day. When you get into a routine, it is easy to make decisions without thinking. You go to a nearby cafe for lunch and just order your usual sandwich without really taking a moment to look at other, possibly healthier, options. The WLC gives you the opportunity to take that step back and think about the choices you make. It reminds you that you are responsible for your actions – and that all actions have consequences. It holds you accountable.
- Adaptability — Can you imagine going for 8 weeks without any sugar, any grains, any foods that have chemicals or preservatives, any dairy? Can you imagine exercising and stretching every single day for 8 weeks? The first response many people probably have is no! I know that was definitely my first thought. However, I know that as soon as I decided to do the WLC, I was determined to do my best. I started changing my habits slowly and I started to realize that everything that seemed impossible before really were possible. All I had to do was change my mindset and allow myself to be flexible. All of a sudden, taking at least 10 minutes to exercise each day wasn’t a big deal. I started going to bed and waking up just a bit earlier to ensure I had the time. I adapted my schedule and habits and soon my new actions were part of my regular routine. The WLC give you the opportunity to take control of your life and your choices. It reminds you that you do not have to be inflexible — and that you have the freedom to change. It helps you become adaptable.
- Accomplishment — There are really no words to describe the sense of accomplishment you feel after completing the 8-week challenge. All those doubts that you feel at the beginning – I can’t do it. I’m not going to get a perfect score. I won’t be able to give up milk in my coffee … – start to disappear. That sense of accomplishment is not something you need to wait 8 weeks to feel. Not at all. In fact, getting through the 1st day with a perfect score is something to celebrate. The daily achievement becomes addictive. You start to feel compelled to make good decisions. Even though the challenge is not about being ‘perfect’ every single day, it is about taking some time to think about what you can accomplish each day. Some days are incredibly busy and you really don’t have enough energy to exercise. That’s ok. The focus is not on each day but rather your whole life. You’ve got to keep the bigger picture in mind and focus on changing what you can. Making changes to a comfortable routine is not easy. A lot of times it is the fear of the unknown that holds us back from even trying. The WLC gives you the opportunity to face that fear. It reminds you that just because you’ve been doing the same thing for X number of years doesn’t mean that you can’t change. It allows you celebrate your accomplishments.
If you’re ready to take a chance and see if you’ve got what it takes to do the Whole Life Challenge, join my team via this link.