What I Learned from a 24-Hour Complaining Fast

The truth is we all probably complain a lot more than we realize. While venting can be therapeutic, it also has some negative lingering effects from a complaint. Honestly, I never thought much about the amount of complaining I do, until my friend Alex, founder of Pace Success, told me about her 48 hour complaining fast at a Jack Canfield seminar.

The goal was not only to raise awareness of much you complain, but to also understand how complaining can keep you stuck in negative thinking.

It sounded interesting. So when she challenged me to do a 24 hour fast and write about it, I thought, why not? Much like my last blog, what did I have to lose? 

The rules were simple: Don’t complain. And if I broke my fast, I would have to wait until the next day to begin again (each day began at 8am). My official attempt at the fast started Monday, September 9th and I did not successfully complete it until Tuesday September 17th. It was tough!

I could be embarrassed about the fact that it took me over a week. I could also point out that I picked one of the busiest work weeks to do this. But instead of the excuses and complaints (see!) I am going to focus on what I learned throughout the process. 

In the interest of full disclosure and because I’m a glutton for self-embarrassment, here is a preview of what happened on the days I failed my fast:

  • Work complaints 
  • General complaints such as “I’m so tired.”, “Why can’t fries have no calories.”, “It’s too hot.”, “The car in front of me is going 10 miles under the speed limit!”  
  • Tripping over the cat (this may seem silly but it happens daily)

I employed my husband and my accountability partners for help to keep me going. I started leaving notes on my desk and on my laptop as reminders. I even joked about going all Freudian and putting a jar of candy next to me. I get a candy every time I stopped myself from complaining. Luckily, it never had to go that far.  

Then the day came, Tuesday, Sept 17. Not only did I finally accomplish the 24 hour fast, I went as far as pushing myself to continue and made it to 36 hours straight.

What this challenge really taught me was how complaining or not complaining has a great impact on your mindset.

The topics I complained about before had become a habit. Did I need to vocalize and complain whenever the weather wasn’t perfect? The answer is no. When I noticed how frivolous these types of complaints were and how they did nothing to serve me during the day, I was able to stop them. Instead of complaining about how hot or cold the day was, I instead was able to focus on the positive – “It’s sunny out today!” This challenge was eye opening and taught me a lot about how I was choosing to approach situations and even start out my day.

I want to challenge anyone who reads this to try it for themselves and see what you learn about yourself.  

Add A Comment