From Ethos to Eating Habits: Speech’s 30-Day Challenge


Antonio Feliciano y Pleyto In late January, Ms. Barker assigned a project to her Speech class tasking students to complete a “30-day challenge” and deliver a speech to the class, explaining the reason they chose that particular idea for the project, challenges they encountered, final thoughts and reflections, and research about an aspect of their experience. The purpose of the project is for students in the class to learn about each other and to practice their writing and presentation skills. The challenge began on January 25th and will end on February 25th. “I’d say I’ve bitten off a little more than I can chew. I’ve got to take drastic measures to make sure I don’t cheat,” says Theo Weldon of his challenge to not use his phone past 10:30 pm. “I’ve got to leave it in a different room, usually with my brother or one of my parents has to make sure I don’t go for it.” Limiting electronics use seems to be a common theme. Alex Laverty chose to cut YouTube for 30 days because he believed he “was wasting too much time browsing mindlessly.” He explains, “I thought that by eliminating this distraction, I could concentrate more on what was truly important to me. The challenge has been going quite well, but the improvements I’ve sought haven’t come along. I’ve found other sources of distraction and I didn’t see much improvement in the first week or two, but recently I’ve been getting a bit better about concentrating and managing my time.” Another popular choice is improving one’s diet. “I have to eat a piece of fruit and a fistfull of vegetables with every meal and drink milk twice a day,” says Ronil Awalegaonkar. “I decided that I was doing tons of physical activity with squash, but lacked a structured nutritional diet.” Ronil shared some of the difficulties in following his goal. “Sometimes it’s hard to remember that I have to eat fruits and vegetables with every meal. After eating dinner, while I was doing homework at 11:30 PM, I thought of my challenge and went to the kitchen to chow down a bowl of blueberries… So it’s definitely a struggle sometimes.” However, Ronil “looks forward to what the results will yield in the end.” An example of a more unique challenge is Tejas Vadali’s goal to pray twice a day. He explained, “When the school year starts, I often find myself distanced from my faith because I don’t have the time for prayer. However, by undertaking such a challenge, I think I will be able to reestablish my relationship with my faith, even when I do have work, so that I can build it into my schedule in a way that I haven’t been able to in the past. I hope to see long-term benefits even after the 30 days are up.” Research suggests that it usually takes longer than 30 days for habits to form. A study done by Phillippa Lally, a researcher at University College London, found that it took, on average, a little more than two months for a new habit to develop. The study also showed that the amount of time to reach “asymptotic automaticity” varied widely, from 18 days to 154 days, depending on the circumstances. The benefit of a 30-day challenge, however, is that it provides some momentum, and often, if it is a diet or fitness challenge, for example, one might be able to see some results within those first 30 days.]]>