Whole Life Challenge: Week 7

Some tough love for the Whole Life Challenge
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With less than a week left of the Whole Life Challenge, I decided to switch things up a bit for this post. Rather than giving you a detailed progress report on my triumphs in self-discipline and dairy-related transgressions, I’m offering an unofficial, completely unsolicited review of the Whole Life Challenge experience with specific attention to the things I would change.

Whole Life Challenge

Overall, this has been a positive experience for me. The WLC has helped me rein in my booze and sugar consumption and pay more attention to my mobility. But there’s always room for improvement. The next round of challengers will start their wellness journey on May 2, 2015. In the meantime, I’m hoping the folks at the Whole Life Challenge HQ consider these well-intentioned critiques.

Create an App

Or at least a more mobile-friendly site. Just logging in from a phone is a feat in fingertip tapping precision. Recording your score is doable in the current format, but viewing the comment feed is super frustrating because it requires the user to scroll within a scroll.

Since participants are guaranteed to interact with the website at least once a day, it absolutely makes sense for the Whole Life Challenge to invest a portion of our $39 to $49 fees in some updated technology.

Incentives

And about those fees … wouldn’t it be cool if registered teams could award a portion of their members’ fees to the challenge winner? Yes, health is its own reward … but money talks. As participants hit week five and the enthusiasm begins to fade, it would be helpful to have some tangible incentives to keep everyone engaged for the long haul.

And if cash isn’t doable, what about engaging corporate partners? I know I’d be more likely to forgo the cheese plate if doing so brought me closer to a lululemon gift card or Reebok-sponsored shopping spree.

Rethink the Lifestyle Challenges

Some of them worked. My teammates seemed to respond to the meditation and sleep challenges the best. Rest, mindfulness and relaxation are often the first things to go when we become crunched for time, so it was easier to prioritize these things with a couple of points on the line.

But (and some may strongly disagree) the “gratitude” and “encouragement” challenges were particularly lame. Yes, thankfulness and comradery are incredibly important components of a fulfilled life, but the execution within the WLC felt forced and insincere — kind of like “mandatory volunteerism.” Did anyone really feel special receiving an “attaboy” knowing that it was part of their teammate’s daily requirement? I would have rather done something to show gratitude in an offline setting. Maybe the challenge should encourage players to send a thank-you card or email to someone who’s been supportive over the years? Or buy a mentor lunch or a cup of coffee. My point is that the daily lists (including my own) started to feel random, tired and not particularly meaningful.

I also would have loved to see challenges that were more practical, like sharing a challenge-friendly recipe or health tip each day. Some of this happened organically on the comments feed, so why not build on that energy?

Make It Shorter

This point also may be a little controversial, but I think this challenge is just too long.

For me, the WLC started to drag around week five. I stopped checking the leader board or caring about bonus tokens. I started to resent having to log in on a daily basis even though, for the most part, I was still doing a decent job adhering to the nutritional and exercise guidelines.

In my experience, 30 days is a solid chunk of time for any lifestyle experiment, cleanse or challenge. It’s enough time to experience withdrawals and conquer them. It’s also enough time to kick-start new habits and end on a high note.

And that concludes my unofficial review of the Whole Life Challenge. What would you change?

Next Week:

In my FINAL post on the Whole Life Challenge, I’ll wrap things up and compare my pre-challenge metrics to where I am today.