One of the foundational principles of Kenzai is that people need structure and goals. Life is awash with opportunities, distractions, and competing priorities. If you don't have a plan and some scaffolding around that plan, you're doomed to short-term, unsustainable results. This is why we like to work in the context of programs with start and end dates, with clear rules and tasks to work through. These little cues help your brain find the signal through the noise.
One thing I've noticed over the years is that people really lose the signal in the back half of the year. We see a lot of fitness activity around August and September as people get back from vacations and into their normal routine. But from there, things start to decay, all the way through December when exercise and diet go into a nosedive, with people resorting to New Year's Resolutions to pick up the pieces.
I've been workshopping a new kind of long term, low level structural system to help people (namely, ME!) to be more consistent across bigger swathes of time. To tackle this problem of the back-half of the year backsliding, I've come up with an all new challenge, available to Kenzai members AND the public. It's called the Perfect Day Challenge, and I think you're going to love how it improves your quality of life, helping you finish the year with mind and body firing on all cylinders. Best of all, this challenge works in the background and is compatible with all kinds of training and activities you'll be doing already.
This 3 minute video goes over how to take on the challenge. Or if you prefer to read about it, keep scrolling!
BEFORE YOU GO ON: DOWNLOAD YOUR 100 PERFECT DAY CHALLENGE PAGES HERE!
The goal is simple. Before the end of December 31st, 2022, rack up 100 “perfect days.” What’s a perfect day? It’s a day where you meet all your goals for exercise, nutrition, and personal growth. For example, a day where you do your workout, don’t eat processed food, and make time for a hobby is a perfect day. By getting all that done, you’ve nurtured your body and mind, reduced stress, and become a healthier, fitter human. This challenge will help you remember to do these tasks and keep you on track through the busy back half of the year.
How to play:
The challenge launches on Wednesday, August 3rd, but can be started anytime after that. Why August 3rd? That’s exactly 150 days before New Year’s Eve. This means, of those 150 days, you only need to get 100 right to successfully complete the challenge. Just 2 out of 3! We don’t expect you to get 100 perfect days in a row — this system allows you to take a weekend off or enjoy a holiday. Get to 100 at your own pace.
We’ve divided these 150 days into three blocks of 50 days. Each block has its own sheet where you can keep track of how you’re doing.
At the start of the block, your job is to choose the 3 things you want to work on in the exercise, nutrition, and personal growth categories. You should choose 1 task per category that is short, simple, and has a pass/fail element to it. Here are some ideas you’re welcome to use. Or feel free to come up with your own.
Exercise task ideas:
• Walk 30 minutes
• Do a workout or cardio session
• Break a sweat
• Get heart rate over 120 BPM
• Complete your fitness-tracker activity-goal
Nutrition task ideas:
• No liquid calories that day
• No processed food that day
• Have one no-carb meal
• No sweets or desserts
• Eat only foods prepared at home
Personal growth task ideas:
These are much more individualized, and focused on intellectual areas of your life you want to improve. Be sure not to make them too ambitious. The goal is to make success not just possible, but probable.
• Practice [ ______ ] for 10 minutes (piano, drawing, juggling, etc…)
• Complete one page of writing or journaling
• Learn and memorize one word in a foreign language
• Meditate for 10 minutes
• Read one chapter of a non-fiction book
Think carefully about the three tasks you want to work on. They shouldn’t be too vague (i.e. “eat healthy”) because you won’t have a clear pass/fail each day. They also shouldn’t be too specific (i.e. “go to a museum”) because you won’t have the chance to get that done on a normal day. The tasks should fit into your life, and be easy to complete without spending too much time on them.
Once you’ve chosen one task for each category, write them in the boxes at the top of the page in the empty boxes. They look like this.
From there, each day you’ll be able to note whether you got the tasks done. You can circle or check the appropriate icon, highlight it, use stickers, or whatever you like. Make it fun. Only when all three tasks get done is it considered a perfect day!
You’ll also see there’s a small space under the icons where you can make brief notes. This is useful for capturing what went wrong when you didn’t have a perfect day.
Consistently noting these hiccups will help you find weak points in your schedule. You might notice, for example, that you tend to miss your exercise every Tuesday. What could you do to make Tuesday's a win? This is the beauty of noting misses as well as hits.
Here’s how a few days of the challenge might look. This person is using different colored highlighters to note when tasks are getting done.
In our example, the participant got seven perfect days during this timeframe. Nice work! How can you keep track of how many you have on your path to 100 before New Year’s Eve?
This is where the “gameboard” comes in. Attached to the PDF download is a counting page that takes you on the journey of wellness, with all its twists, turns, ups, and downs. Every time you get a perfect day, you progress one step on the path. Our example participant would have made it to spot 7 on the board, marking each perfect day as it was accomplished.
Be sure to print out your three 50-day blocks as well as the gameboard, and post them in a highly visible place that will remind you to complete your healthy mind-body tasks. Feel free to color the pages, decorate, and mark progress in whatever way you like! Be creative and make it yours.
Moving to a new block:
Every 50 days you’ll complete a block of days and go to a new sheet. These transitions are also when you can switch your daily goals. For example, if in your first 50 day block your goal was to walk 30 minutes, and you’ve gotten fitter and stronger, you could challenge yourself to walk 45 minutes instead. Or if you feel like you’ve learned enough words in your language study, you could switch over to piano practice for your personal growth goal.
It’s good to stick with a task for a full 50 days before switching. Jumping between a lot of tasks on the fly will dilute the effectiveness of consistently getting a simple task done.
Good luck with the challenge, finish 2022 strong and savor the victory of having 100 perfect days under your belt while other people are just scribbling down their New Year’s resolutions! You can do this!
Don't forget to download the challenge materials here.
Patrick Reynolds // Kenzai Founder