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Have you ever noticed how often you complain about stuff?
Every minute? Hourly? Daily? Or weekly?
And do you know how complaining can negatively affect your life, even though it may seem like something small and insignificant?
That’s why I’d like to challenge you to try the no complaint challenge.
With this challenge, you try going a set number of days without complaining.
The fact is, most of us complain pretty often.
It’s common for us to complain about the heavy traffic while running late for work or while heading straight home after a hectic day at the office.
It’s common to curse at a bad driver who breaches the traffic rules.
It’s fairly normal to complain about bad weather, bad government, bad economy, bad friends, and every other bad thing there can possibly be.
Although many of us have the habit of constantly complaining and none of us have actually died from complaining, the truth remains that no one ever got any good result from complaining either.
Instead, they get stuck in one place, wallowing in a vicious cycle and making no headway.
Complaining renders you powerless and makes you dwell on the negative side of life.
It makes you take less responsibility for your life.
When you complain, you only speak without acting.
In other words, you become more or less a toothless bulldog that barks without biting.
So why not try going a day or longer without complaining?
Take on a no complaint challenge and see how your life improves.
If you actively try to reduce the amount of complaining you do, you’ll learn how to navigate towards a direction of life where you will start seeing reasons to be more grateful and less grumpy.
You’ll learn how to walk that path where you will start seeing more of the positives and less of the negatives in any given situation.
For those of you reading this, I would like to challenge you to undertake the no complaint challenge for yourself.
You will be amazed by how much your mindset will be transformed if you follow through till the end.
Being Accountable With A No Complaint Challenge
Why Do We Complain?
Ever wondered why we complain?
Well, we are naturally wired to crave comfort and avoid discomfort or uneasiness.
That’s why we act within our powers to get out of any not-so-comfortable situation.
So, whenever we find ourselves in that zone of discomfort and we feel that we have little or no capacity to improve things, we get so irritated that we resort to dishing out complaints.
Another reason many of us complain is because it is simply in our habit to do so, whether the situation calls for it or not.
But then, no matter your reason for being a habitual grumbler, you can change if you really work towards it and challenge yourself to improve.
How Complaining Affects Others
It’s almost natural for the average human to complain.
But little do we know how such behavior leaves certain negative marks on those around us, either directly or indirectly.
If you are wondering how complaining affects others, then take a look at what Dr. Robin Kowalski has to say about it:
“When people complain, others tend to join in or get irritated… When you join in, it becomes one-upmanship. If one person complains about something blowing down in their yard, the other person finds something to outdo their complaint.”
That is how infectious it can be!
Another problem with complaining is that it causes us to shy away from taking responsibility for our actions.
That’s why most habitual complainers tend to blame their misfortunes on others.
They only seek to criticize and point out other people’s mistakes, never finding fault in their own action or inaction.
Hence, they appear super-judgmental.
Take for example, someone who complains about other people complaining, forgetting that they themselves are no different from those they criticize.
With such an attitude, regular complainers accumulate a negative aura around themselves, which makes them stay in constant enmity with everyone else.
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The question now is, how do we stop this whole complaining thing and break this negative cycle?
The No Complaint Challenge
My suggestion is to start with the no complaint challenge.
Introduced by Will Bowen in his book “A Complaint Free World: How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life You Always Wanted.”, this concept is all about challenging yourself to remove all forms of complaining from your life for a certain period of time.
This could perhaps be a week, 3 weeks, one month, or more.
In a bid to make the challenge process a bit more practical, Bowen suggests that a no complaint bracelet must be worn by the participant undertaking the challenge.
The idea is that while undertaking the no complaining challenge, you have to switch the bracelet from one wrist to the other every time you find yourself complaining about something.
The goal then is to keep the bracelet on the same wrist for the pre-arranged duration of the challenge.
If you catch yourself complaining about something, no matter how small, you have to switch the bracelet to the other wrist, and you start again from day 1.
In other words, the main goal of the no complaint challenge is for the partaker to go perhaps 7, 21, or 30 days without switching their bracelet.
Once the bracelet has been worn on the same wrist for the appointed number of days, the challenge is completed.
It is up to you whether you want to undertake a 7 day no complaint challenge, a 21 day no complaint challenge or a 30 day no complaint challenge.
Some people even start with as short as a 1 day challenge.
Apart from putting on a bracelet, another way to go about this task is to create a complaint free zone for yourself at home.
That should be an area where you are strictly prohibited from complaining.
This method will make it a lot easier for you to complain less as you can quickly walk into your complaint free zone whenever you feel the urge to whine.
Truth is, many people who tried this challenge failed several times.
It’s one hell of a task for the average person to go a full day without complaining. After all, we are naturally wired to air our frustrations through random complaints.
It might take you over 8 weeks or even 8 months to finally complete a 21 day no complaint challenge.
It doesn’t matter how long it takes, you just have to try to maintain the consistency no matter how tempting it might be to give up at some point.
The exclusive idea here is that if you can intentionally stay free from complaining within the said period of time, then it will be easier for you to continue to walk that path.
With time, you will get used to complaining less about things and you will notice that you will be happier overall.
Tips On How To Stop Complaining
If you’re up for trying the no complaint challenge, you’ll quickly notice that it’s a lot harder than it sounds to not complain.
Complaining is so ingrained in our daily lives that it’s almost become a habit.
A psychologist once argued, if you want to deal with a particular habit, the best way to go about it is to form another habit.
With that said, here are some tips on how to stop complaining so you can successfully complete the no complaint challenge:
#1. Find a Solution to the Problem
Some people spend more time complaining about a particular problem than they do in finding the solution.
The first “No complaint challenge” you should probably undertake is to pay more attention to finding a solution to any given problem.
Trust me, when your focus is channeled towards a solution, you’ll have very little time to complain about the issue.
#2. Focus On Your Success And Practice Gratitude
Many of us grumble because we pay far more attention to our downfalls than our successes.
There is no better way to deal with a complaining attitude than to focus on your success stories and show gratitude for them.
Research shows that counting a couple of blessings each day will elevate your mood and keep you in the right frame of mind.
By concentrating on your success and appreciating it, you will have no reason to complain.
After all, no one complains about being prosperous.
#3. Praise Other People
If you are in the habit of constantly complaining, the best trick that can help you forget all your sorrows is to look out for what people are doing right and praise them for it.
Give less attention to what they did wrong.
Not only will you be happier when you form the habit of praising others, but also, people will be more comfortable around you, and it won’t be long before the air and energy around you become super-positive.
#4. Learn To Let Go At Times
Many might disagree, but it doesn’t change the fact that there are certain situations we have little or no power to control!
Normally, in such difficult times, most of us feel helpless and uncomfortable.
That’s why we might start complaining.
Sadly, complaining will never solve the problem.
So, instead of dishing out complaints, why not let go of those things that you ultimately can’t control and focus on the things you have the power to change?
#5. Channel Your Dissatisfaction To Physical Activities
Wondering how to stop complaining?
Here’s another simple trick. Whenever you feel so gloomy, just let it off through exercise. Get a little bit physical.
Exercises like running, punching, yoga, etc. have proven to be quite effective in easing tension and frustration during difficult times.
Instead of complaining, you can easily take a long walk, run, or practice yoga.
You can also ease your frustration on those punching bags, or better still hit the gym.
You won’t only feel happier after engaging in such exercises, but you will also feel stronger both mentally and physically.
What To Do Instead Of Complaining
Even when you’re trying your best to not complain, chances are you will sometimes still let a complaint or two slip before realizing it.
But there are also some positive things you can focus on instead of complaining.
It just requires a mindset shift and for you to become more aware of your thoughts.
Instead of submerging yourself in complaints, here are a few things to do which will help curtail the bad habit of complaining:
#1. Where You Should Speak, Think Instead
You really need to appreciate the power of positive thinking.
It is quite helpful in reducing the frequency and urgency of complaining.
Whenever you are triggered to utter those words, think them through first.
After all, a thought remains a thought until it is spoken.
So, whatever you think in your mind is not yet a complaint.
And you are not expected to switch your no complaint bracelet simply because you thought of something in a negative light.
Thinking your grievances, reservations, and criticisms through is the easiest trick that will help you complete your 7, 21 or 30-day no complaint challenge.
- Is what I’m about to say a complaint?
- How positive are these words?
- Can I think of the situation in a more positive light?
- If I say this, is it enough to make me switch my bracelet?
The idea is, when you are intentionally thinking those complaints through, you will have more and more reasons not to complain.
#2. Instead Of Worrying, Pray
Another thing you can do instead of complaining is to pray.
Well, it is arguable that prayers don’t work for everyone.
After all, not everybody believes in any being that answers prayers.
However, experts suggest that those who pray enjoy better peace of mind.
Through prayer, people are able to free their minds from the things they can’t control.
With this mindset, their emotional health is far more balanced than that of those who worry over things they can’t change.
#3. Instead Of Stressing, Relax
You can also learn to relax and loosen up a bit during those tough times instead of complaining.
Most negative thoughts and feelings pop up when you are both physically and mentally overburdened.
That’s why you have to create time for yourself once in a while.
Spend that time on whatever calms your nerves.
Journaling or meditating can also be useful for you to help you understand your own thoughts and get to the core reason of why you might feel the urge to complain.
Whether you are in for 7, 21, or 30 days for your no complaining challenge, you won’t make much progress if you are not intentional about the whole process.
Sure, completing this challenge is not an easy ride and is only useful if you’re being honest and strict with yourself.
But your biggest motivation should be the benefit of living a complaint-free life.
What is the opposite of complaining?
If a complaint-free life can help you feel more satisfied and happy in life, don’t you think this whole challenge is worth the effort?
Lish is a personal development enthusiast who wants to help people of all ages uplevel their lives. She is of the opinion that we are only limited by our beliefs and that once we overcome our limiting beliefs, we can truly live a life without regrets. She is the author behind Mind Her Way where she shares her thoughts on personal growth and relationships.