The 21 Day Complaint Free Challenge

Oct 27, 2016 | Anxiety, Blog

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Sometimes it’s only when you try to complain less, that you realise how much you do it!

We complain about the weather, the traffic, long lines at airport check ins, slow WIFI, The Kardashians, the choice of soup available at Pret that day… The list goes on. And on.

But here’s the thing, every time you complain about something or express some negativity, you reinforce that negativity in your mind and you’ll be more likely to notice things to complain about in the future. You literally create new neural pathways when you do this; every complaining, negative thought you have makes it easier for you to have that thought again.

And we all want to feel more positive right? More positive thoughts = less anxiety and more happiness – for sure. (For more ideas on being more positive – check out this post)

I recently sent a Tweet that got a lot more likes and retweets than expected. It went like this:

twitter-logoClick to Tweet! The more we complain, the more we train our brains to look for things to complain about. Try not doing it for 1 day, a week, a month?

The things you say and focus on effect how you think and feel.

If you’re wired to notice things to complain about – you’ll notice problems everywhere and you’ll be more likely to be critical of yourself and others – not to mention the fact that complaining is contagious and spreads bad vibes to other people too!

I noticed this recently on holiday. One of my friends had spotted a small problem with the place that we were staying. I hadn’t noticed it until she pointed it out to me. After that, I couldn’t help but notice it all the time and it stirred up a load of negativity and irritation for the whole group! There was nothing that could be done about it – so it would have been better to just accept it and move on. But lot of the conversation revolved around this small complaint and it got in the way of us enjoying our holiday.

So this is why I am declaring the beginning of the Calmer You ’21 Day Complaint Free Challenge’! I first heard of this idea from Tim Ferris, who got it from Will Bowen.

They say that 21 days is enough to change a habit (there’s no evidence that this is actually true, but it’s a good number to start with!)

To complete this challenge you must spend 21 days – straight – without uttering a single complaint, criticism, bitchy comment or put down – to anyone. If you slip up – I’m sorry to say – you’ve got to got back to day 1 and start again.

The aim of the game is to rewire your brain for more positivity, acceptance and good feelings – plus you’ll be spreading good vibes to the people around you – rather than negativity. Double winning!

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Now, obviously, if you get given some cold food at a restaurant – it’s ok to send it back – and offering constructive suggestions is ok too. It’s also (of course) ok to ask for help or support if you’re struggling with something – but the kinds of complaints to avoid should be:

  • The weather

  • Annoying little things that your partner does

  • Your weight or appearance

  • Other people – including shop assistants, colleagues, clients or randos in the street

  • Bitching about or slagging off friends or celebrities

  • Having a cold

  • People who walk slowly in front of you as you walk down the street (I need to work on this one!)

  • Slow WIFI

  • Noisy eaters

Ok – who’s with me? Comment below and tell us whether you’ll be joining the challenge and tell us about the biggest thing you’ve complained about in the past.


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  1. Rebekah

    You’ve read my mind.. I was just thinking about how I’ve slipped back into being a real complainer. I’m definitely starting this challenge.

    • Chloe B

      Brilliant! Keep me posted as to how you get on cx

  2. Just Jennifer X

    I’m going for it! 21 days… Starts now! Yay. X

    • Chloe B

      Awesome! Go Jennifer! x

  3. Sofia Skliros

    I am up for it!!

    • Chloe B

      Nice one Sofia 🙂 x

  4. Stuart Burkhill

    I’m definitely up for this, game on 🙂

    • Chloe B

      Brilliant Stuart!

  5. Anon

    Not complaining about colleagues will be the TOUGHEST challenge

    • Chloe B

      Yes – tricky! Is there a way to state your point without complaining? Let us know how you get on! Good luck!!

    • Chloe B

      Yay! xx

  6. Mahi

    I am in
    My biggest complaint
    Noisy eater – my hubby


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