Sep 012010
Authors: Emily Johnson

Jen Johnson likes to run mini-experiments in her life.
Her experience with trying to do, or not do something led her to create a new opportunity at SLiCE: The 30-Day Challenge.
“College is the perfect time to try a lifestyle change,” said Johnson, assistant director of Student Leadership, Involvement & Community Engagement.
The 30-Day Challenge is open to all students, faculty and staff. Johnson provides a list of suggested challenges but participants can create their own.
Johnson’s first personal 30-day goal was to eliminate refined sugar from her diet. Next, she committed to 10 pushups a day. She eventually wants try only checking e-mail twice a day.
Experience has led her to believe that 30 days is a good chunk of time to try something out to see what it’s like.
Anupama Mehrotra signed up for a 30-day challenge and made a commitment to bike to school everyday.
“I live extremely close to campus and want to incorporate both the environmental impact of not utilizing my car for a month,” Mehrotra , a junior environmental health major, said.
The challenge will also help Mehrotra save money on gas expenses, she added.
She’s on day seven and “loving it.” Mehrotra also hopes that participating in the month-long challenge will enable her to better her life.
Her ultimate goal: break unhealthy habits and create new beneficial ones.
People participating in the challenge not only personally achieve a goal, but get to share their successes and hardships through a blog.
“It’s additional support,” Johnson said. “It can connect participants to others with similar challenges or it can be an accountability tool if needed.”
Johnson stressed that blogging is not required and there’s no pressure to see the goal to fruition.
“I just wanted to provide an opportunity for people to give something a try,” she said.
The idea of making or breaking a habit in 30 days is not unique to the CSU community.
Johnson’s future mother-in-law, Kim Swift, created her own challenge after hearing about what Johnson’s doing at SLiCE.

The Dubuque, Iowa, high school principal committed to refraining from her usual few glasses of wine at night. She succeeded.

“It was pretty easy,” Swift said in a reflection she shared with Johnson. “The biggest challenge was the habit, not the booze.”

Swift said she feels better all the time, lost a few pounds and she “almost never say things I wish I hadn’t.”

She’s hooked on the idea now and is planning more 30-day challenges like walking to school, not using credit cards or turning off the computer at home.

So far, there are more than 20 people signed up, and Johnson thinks that number will continue to grow.

Chandra Kehm, a senior chemical and biological engineering major has chosen to exercise for 30 days.

“I like to do things that will give me motivation, so making this commitment will tease my brain to think that I have to do it now and it’s not an option,” Kehm said.
She’s hoping it will become a habit and she’ll continue to exercise, whether going to the gym, running outside, playing a sport or walking her dog.

“I have been wanting to exercise more and more, but I just needed motivation to do it,” she said.

Staff writer Emily Johnson can be reached at

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