I did it! I made it through seven days going by the rules and themes of Hell Week by Erik Bertrand Larssen.
If you’ve been following along at home, you might be wondering if I did, indeed, achieve the goal of becoming my best self. Short answer: Yes! If you haven’t already, you might want to read my first post about beginning Hell Week and the second post checking in on my progress.
I guess I should elaborate at least a little on how I became my best self. Each day, I got a little closer by addressing a particular area of life that contributes to how I feel, think, and function overall.
Hell Week’s daily themes
In my check-in post, I talked about spending Monday on harnessing the force of habit—kicking my negative routines and replacing them with more helpful ones. The rest of the themes I explored during Hell Week included:
- Tuesday: Getting into the right mental state for optimal performance, no matter what task you’re doing
- Wednesday: Taking back control of your time and daily schedule
- Thursday: Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to face your fears and achieve long-term goals
- Friday: Giving yourself time for rest and space for reflection
- Saturday: Controlling your inner dialogue to create more positive feelings
- Sunday: Putting your life into perspective
I think it’s worthwhile to spend some time on each of these things, whether you do them all in one intense week or one at a time as you can.
Even before Tuesday of Hell Week, I had been making more of an effort to “single task,” which sounds counterintuitive to moms who feel like multitasking is the only way to get everything done. But I’ve learned from trial and error that when I put myself into the right mode for what I’m working on, and eliminate the mental cost of switching gears, I can be extremely productive.
Be here now
I’ve also been focusing more on living “in the now,” which involves being more observant and aware of my surroundings and senses. Not only does being present help me achieve the right mental state, I can also be more in control of how I spend my time (Wednesday’s theme) and put my life into a bigger context (Sunday’s theme). Maybe I get extra Hell Week credit for an early start?
Challenge your self-assumptions
In the book, Larssen challenges you to pull an all-nighter on Thursday (if you can without risking your own or others’ safety) as an exercise in pushing yourself to do more than you think you can. Personally, I think giving birth to two children and making it through all those sleepless (or sleep-interrupted) nights in the early years more than qualifies me as exceeding my own mental or physical limits.
But I like the notion of getting myself to do things I’ve never done before, or doubted I ever could. Example: Last year, I had my first garage sale. It took so much more effort and planning than I ever imagined. After the sale ended, I collapsed in a sweaty, exhausted heap, knowing full well I would not be having a second garage sale. But that’s OK. I made some extra cash, learned that I could do it, and had the experience. That’s worth it to me.
How I got there
By the end of Hell Week, I became my best self because each day, I got a little closer to a better me than the day before. A bit wiser, richer in experience, more aware of the world’s beauty, and grateful for all of life’s gifts. As long as I keep following that path, I’ll be my best self for this day. And today is all we have, right? Hell yes!