30 Day No-Complaint Challenge

To watch my video on this challenge, check it out below!

I originally tried a 21-day no complaint challenge back in 2016. It was really fun. Every time I complained about something, I restarted the challenge. I failed 2 times very early, only getting a few days in each time. After the 2nd attempt, I found myself hyper aware of everything I said and I was able to finish the 21 days.

I became aware of this challenge through Tim Ferriss, which was originally developed by Will Bowen (https://www.willbowen.com/complaintfree/). As part of the challenge, you wear a wristband, and every time you complain about something you swap the band to the other arm and start again. Very simple but a lot harder than you think.

If you’re interested in this idea, I would really recommend watching Will’s video on the topic below. He goes into depth about what it means to complain and how it affects people. The video is also really fun to watch.

This year I’ll be completing the challenge again but for 30 days. I’ll be documenting my daily progress below.

Attempt 1 – Day 1 – 6 January 2020

It was going well… up until 11am when I was telling a work colleague how our drive from Adelaide to Canberra went yesterday. It would have been fine if I stated “it was a very long and slow drive”. However, I phrased it as “The drive took sooooo long”. It was only after a few hours and reflecting on that conversation that the way I phrased it classifies as a complaint in my books. I didn’t complain about anything for the rest of the day due to thinking about this. Well, guess I’m back to day 1 tomorrow!

Attempt 2 – Day 1 – 7 January 2020

Wow, didn’t even get to 8am before complaining. To be fair, it’s quite hot in Canberra over summer – but it’s something that I should probably keep to myself on a daily basis.

On to attempt 3 tomorrow… I wonder how long this is going to take?

Attempt 3 – Day 1 – 8 January 2020

6am. It’s going well. Managed to get through the entire today! Onwards to the next 29 days!

Day 2

I think it has happened. I’ve come to the point that I think about every word carefully as it comes out of my mouth, to ensure that I don’t complain about something. It’s a strange feeling. I also focus on what everyone else is saying more closely – and by no surprise to me people are basically complaining about something multiple times per day. I’ll see how the rest of the days go, but last time I tried this, it was pretty easy to maintain.

Day 3

Today has gone well. I was very close to complaining about something earlier during work, but thinking about it, it was more a statement of facts rather than complaining about something specific. Need to be more careful as I’d rather not restart from day 1 😛

Day 4

There we have it. I complained about something pretty minor. Even after watching Will’s video (mentioned above) again. I was home all day with my partner on the weekend, so there were lots of small things to talk about and do. It’s much easier when I go to work because I can jump into work or listen to the group’s conversation and it gives me a chance to think about what I say more closely. Oh well, it kills me to start at day 1 again, but lets go!

Attempt 4 – Day 1 – 12 January 2020

Off to a good start. 6:30am and haven’t needed to speak a word yet. Today went well. Keen to see how far I get this attempt.

Day 2

This attempt is going well. A few times I found myself going to start to state something, then I caught myself a few words in and notice that if I said it, I would have complained. So I restructured my thoughts and what I said into something that wasn’t complaining. It’s difficult, and it feels hard to express myself because sometimes that comes in the form of complaining. But I feel as though it’s for the better, there’s no point to go on about an issue that I have no control over. Better to acknowledge it, accept it as reality, and move on.

Day 3

Attempt 4 is going well. It’s usually just at the back of my mind whenever I’m talking to someone, which makes it easy to choose my words carefully.

Day 4

There are lots of things I could have complained about today, but I’m glad I didn’t. It’s crazy, I spoke to a lot of people today who came back from their christmas break, first day back at work, and more times than not the first thing they mentioned was a complaint about something – not long enough, bad weather, don’t want to be at work, wishing it was Friday, the list goes on. Once you start this challenge, you really notice how much people complain about things in their daily lives.

Day 5

Didn’t complain. Nothing to really report as it’s going well.

Day 6

I was listening to David Schwarz’ The Magic of Thinking Big, and he was stating the difference between an enthusiastic person in a situation versus a non-enthusiastic person, and how the attitudes of each can influence people. He then stated how it feels after being with someone who complains a lot, and how that negative attitude and feeling of being around people who complain all the time can influence your own attitude over time. It was an interesting point, and I definitely agree with him.

Day 7

This is getting easier now.

Day 8

Nothing to report.

Day 9

There was a funny moment at work, one of my colleagues came up from getting a coffee and said something along the lines of “oh my god, the guy in front of me ordered 7 coffees”. I thought about what he said, and in my head I was thinking, that’s pretty annoying – it would have taken a while to get his coffee made.

Instead of saying that, I said “Ah yeah, he was probably just buying coffees for his friends, that’s pretty nice”.

And from across the section, someone laughed and said that I can never say anything negative. It was quite funny, they know I’m doing this no complaint challenge and I just thought how much better it was to say that rather than what I was originally thinking. By not supporting their complaint, the whole situation was diffused and even ended up with people laughing instead.

Day 10

Nothing to report.

Day 11

It’s quite common that I stop myself before speaking and rephrase what I say. I think this is a really good benefit of going through this challenge.

Day 12-16

Nothing to really report here. As I’ve mentioned before, I can usually stop myself from saying something, rethink how I want to say it, and then say something in a way that isn’t complaining. The more I do this, the better it feels, and the more I notice that complaining about something minor to someone who wasn’t influenced by it or has any control over it doesn’t make any sense.

Day 17

Being at work is actually really easy for me not to complain – I seem to by focused during work on complaining – perhaps because I hear most other people around the office complaining and my mind focuses on it.

Day 18-24

I’ve been going quite well with this challenge. It’s not in my mind as much as it has been during the first 15 days, but I still definitely notice other people complaining and think before I say anything.

It has been quite a challenge though, it’s been pretty hot in Canberra (many days of 40C) throughout january and february, so I’ve been trying really hard not to complain about the heat. Before this challenge, I’d probably mention a few days that ‘oh my god, it’s so hot’ or ‘it’s too hot’. But during this challenge, I’ve changed my wording to ‘it’s pretty warm out there’ or something along those lines.

Apart from that, I’ve been going well, I may discuss certain topics with someone and I would have a discussion with them, pointing out facts in a way that isn’t complaining. I just have to be careful how I phrase some things.

Day 24-30

A lot of what I’ve previously written has been pretty much a constant theme throughout this challenge. So there hasn’t been much to report.

This was a tricky challenge, but I feel as though it is more suited so smaller weekly challenges or even a 3-day challenge. That way it remains at the front of your mind and you will notice if you complain. Saying that, I don’t think I complained throughout the 30 days of attempt 4.

There were times, as I’ve mentioned before, that I’ve just changed the way I’ve talked about things. For example, if it was really hot outside and I felt as though I needed to say something, then I’d change it to ‘it’s pretty warm right now’.

Going through this challenge, I’ve realised time and time again that there really is no reason to complain about anything. The best thing you can do is acknowledge the problem, perhaps share your thoughts about the situation, and work towards a solution. If there isn’t a solution, work on understanding that there’s nothing you can do about it and move on.

There were times I really just wanted to go on and on about something, for no particular reason other than just expressing myself. I believe that it’s fine to express yourself and your thoughts, but if you do it more than once, it becomes a complaint and it pushes your negative thoughts onto those around you.

This is definitely a challenge that everyone should try even for one day. It really opens your mind to your own thoughts and the actions and words of other people.

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