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building with bricks

Building New Habits: Challenge Yourself!

In November, I took part in a few 31-day challenges. Things went well for me. However, unlike previous attempts of the sort, I tried to take the right steps to keep myself accountable to the things I wanted to do and make sure I get them done. You can take these steps for your new year challenges and habits too. My challenges for the month included daily meditation, daily blogging, and a 31-day plank challenge. Since fitness related things are what people often find the most challenging, I’ll be focusing on the plank aspect for this post.

Define your goal: Start small.

I’ve written before on Asthma.Net about goal-setting and defining what it is you want to do and making a plan for it. For a challenge such as this, you can follow those same steps, although your goal should be small enough to accomplish in a month or be a time-bound activity that you will repeat for X number of days.
In the plank scenario, this was “I want to plank every day for a month.”

And, start small. Whether it’s a physical challenge that you need to build up stamina for—even more important when you have asthma—or just something you want to do daily, work your way up to where you want to be! Otherwise, you may find yourself overwhelmed and burned out on making a change or doing something that is important to you.


I downloaded an app to help me with my planking journey for the month, but an app doesn’t really hold you accountable for stuff, as much as I do like digital checkmarks and things. So, I also enlisted my friend Dia as an accountability partner. It sort of went “Hey, I’m doing this plank challenge, do you want to plank with me?”

And she was like “Yeah, cool.”

(Clearly, not the exact conversation, but that was the general vibe.)

We don’t even check in with each other every day about it, but we are mildly competitive and I don’t want her to be like “Hey how’s the planking going?” on the phone one day, and then have to be like “Oh yeah, well, you know, The Next Food Network Star Kid was on last night so the plank didn’t happen.”
Because that’s a pathetic excuse, and who wants to admit that? Nobody, that’s who.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • tui2
    3 years ago

    I’m I missing the rest of the story? How did the plank challenge go? Was it the one that increases to a 3 minute plank? What challenges did you face? How did you overcome them?

  • Kerri MacKay moderator author
    3 years ago

    Hey there!
    Thanks for following up! (This is one issue I have, failing to follow up on stories I tell because I am too busy making new ones?)

    I finished the plank challenge at 3:15, up from 0:55. I documented the whole thing on my blog (final post here: but honestly once I got into the routine (and because I had people bugging me!) just setting out and doing it was the hardest thing. I didn’t travel at all in October which I’m sure helped, but I did find myself planking on the floor of my aunt’s living room on a few occasions late at night!

    I guess one of my challenges was getting my flu shot during the plank challenge haha, but I planked early that day, and was out playing wheelchair basketball and tennis the next, and I figure the activity actually helped (you can read more about that here: I think because each of the goals I was working on only took a few minutes a day, it was easier to accomplish them.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. Especially once I passed that 2 minute mark it was brutal (which mean 1+ minute of agony at the end). I often planked in my dining room after everybody else was in bed and often just like, laid on the floor for a minute after haha.

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