The Reckoning

15 May

Hello, beautiful people.

Today is the day I announce The Gauntlet winner. Isn’t that exciting? Well, maybe not. If you didn’t compete, I guess this can just be a post to read about people who have bigger balls than you.

Zing! That was harsh. I take it back mostly.

If you’re new around here, let’s catch up real quick: I do 365 challenges, I have a series called Lollipop Tuesdays where I blog about having tried something new that I totally suck at, and sometimes I have contests. The Gauntlet was a contest where I combined these things and challenged everyone to pick something they suck at and do it every day for 30 Days, no cheating. When they were done, they were to write to me about it so I could judge their awesomeness. The most awesome wins a $100 Visa Gift Card.

Behold, Judgment Day has come.

I should come right out at the start and say that most of you sucked at this. Which is okay. It’s hard to make time to do the same thing every day for 30 days. Work happens. Kids happen. Oversleeping happens. Lots of things are there to get in the way before your brain even has the chance to try to talk you out of it.

It’s amazing, the variety of things we suck at. Some of us suck at being more proactive about job hunting, others at taking time to be creative, and still some at keeping in touch with certain people. There were promises to be more social, oaths to wake up early every day, and the ever-popular commitments to exercise.

But most of you failed. Kind of pathetically so. I received confessions of all kinds – texts, calls, in-person confrontations… people treating me like their priest, walking me through the things that tend to hold them back, the thought process that led up to stopping… humans are strange creatures.

I should note here that establishing habit is attempting to break your will, discipline your mind, and change the way you’re wired in order to redefine comfortable. People sell all their things, go to India, shave their heads and join monasteries to do this. This is not an easy task.

That’s why I was impressed by every single submission I got from readers who completed the challenge. And while I appreciated every single one of them and could see how hard each person worked to overcome obstacles, I’m fortunate that one submission was a clear standout to make the job easier.

The winning submission logged each day of their Gauntlet participation in a journal detailing activities, dedicated their participation to a cause, and is hoping to use the winnings to donate even more. Isn’t that ridiculous?

Michelle Laurie initially joined The Gauntlet quietly. She didn’t tell anyone, she didn’t even email me – she just made up her mind to do something for at least an hour every day to help animals, educate herself, or call others to veganism. But when she realized that a $100 gift card could really help her cause so she raised the bar and spent the next 30 days watching documentaries, ordering campaign materials, compiling and distributing information packs, working at Vegan Society bake sales, and even sponsored a hen named Scrags.

Like I said: ridiculous. You can read all about it here.

So here’s to you, Ms. Michelle Laurie. You’re the clear winner of The Gauntlet and I’m inspired by the depth of your commitment to a cause and your ability to go all in. You’ll be hearing from me shortly.

But I’m not done. I mean, I’m done with Michelle but I’m not done talking about awesome people. Though I’m far too poor to be establishing award-receiving runners-up, I would really like Annette Padfield over in this corner of the Interwebz to take a nice big bow.

Though Annette technically failed because she missed one day of the thirty,  she managed an enormous feat of a different kind: she completed the contest anyway.

So many people say they’re going to do something, mess up, and take the energy that could be spent on trying again immediately on focusing on their suckiness.

We all suck. There’s no need to get all inside yourself about it. It’s okay. 

Annette treated herself to a needle felting machine and let it gather dust in the corner for a long time until she challenged herself to make something with it every day for 30 days. There was one day within that span that she produced absolutely nothing.  She could have given up, because that was a pretty big bummer and she’s tried to commit to things in the past and failed. Instead she just pretended that day didn’t happen when she woke up the next day, finished the challenge, and in the spirit of being a finisher, emailed me her update – confession and all.

So that’s pretty awesome. Also, I didn’t know a needle felting machine was a thing. It’s a thing. Take a bow, Annette. I’m too poor to give you a real reward, which is good because people who did their challenge without missing a day would probably resort to violence, but you’re awesome for making a way instead of making excuses. 

This concludes The Gauntlet. There will be no more tweets or posts or hounding about it, and there will no longer be an enormous picture of a gauntlet in my right sidebar. It’s been replaced instead by an updated layout, buttons to stalk me, and a rabid bunny you can click on for a random post. Enjoy.

Thanks to everyone who entered; I’m impressed by all of you. Some of you started year-long challenges, some of you inspired others to join, and some of you simply learned a little more about yourselves. All impressive things. If ever you’re feeling down on yourself for missing a day or not putting forth as much effort as you’d have like, just remember that just by continuing to try you’re getting closer to your goal than all the people who are still paralyzed by their most recent defeat.

And to all those paralyzed people, remember: any day is a good day to get back on the train. 


24 Responses to “The Reckoning”

  1. donofalltrades May 15, 2013 at 11:09 am #

    I made it 37 hours into the 30 days I wasn’t going to drink beer, but in my defense, baseball season started, hockey playoffs were on the horizon, and I have three kids, two of whom are under 5. Do I suck at not drinking beer for 30 days? Yes. Do I suck at not drinking beer for 3 days? Yes. Do I suck as a dad? Maybe. Do I hate myself? Only slightly sometimes. Do I plan to enter another Gauntlet challenge someday? Probably. Should I be working now and not asking and answering stupid questions to annoy Jackie? Yes. Ok, so congrats to the winner! Vegan? I don’t know what that is, but yay for that person and to anyone else who lost weight or gained something from this exercise in futility for me.


    • Jackie May 15, 2013 at 3:24 pm #

      Sucked at the challenge? Yes. Bad dad? I don’t see how that’s related, really. Vegan? Doesn’t eat or consume animal products or byproducts. Lists of questions? Love them.


  2. Samantha May 15, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    Congrats to Michelle and Annette! I’m proud of you guys.

    I think I have a problem with 30-day challenges (including NaNoWriMo, for instance). I get more than halfway through and then get exhausted of it and it peters off. I really did try, but I am glad that others were more successful at it. It’s only willpower after all. (ha, only).

    I like the addition of the creepy rabbit, oddly. 😀


    • Jackie May 15, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

      They’re hard! It’s reconditioning by immersion and no small feat. I enjoyed following and rooting for you. 🙂


    • mllaurie May 16, 2013 at 8:29 am #

      Thank you! 🙂 I do NaNoWriMo too, and finally last year managed to win it. It was good training for The Gauntlet.


    • knotrune May 16, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

      Thanks 🙂 I quite like the 30 day format, I can just about cope with that, it’s anything longer that I find hard to maintain. Nano rocks, I’ve been doing that for a few years now. I win, but then the story just sits there at 50 thousand words and never gets finished. It’s my main goal in the Year of Finishing Things to actually get a whole novel written right up to the end. Preferably one I already started! And if I don’t achieve it before November then I shall have to be a rebel and use Nano to finish one.


  3. Momma May 15, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

    well, I didn’t make it for the 30 days, as well you know, but I did try. I still haven’t given up and I not only lost 25 llbs but I am continuing to walk. I just got done walking today after work. I also went to visit my Mom and my Uncle, who I don’t see much of, so I guess I am improving on my desires to visit loved ones more. I have seen my grand children two weekends this month and I have to drive about 2 hours to see them so it’s not easy with my schedule to get two weekends in a month to see them. I plan on keeping my Saturdays open, when possible, to visit family members. I actually made my Uncle cry when I went to see him. How sad is that?!? congrats to the winner. You are awesome for completing the task.


    • Jackie May 15, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

      Hey; who cares about a blog challenge when you have long-lasting effects and positive changes that happen just from the attempt. Sounds like winning to me.


  4. pegoleg May 15, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

    Congratulations to all who took up the challenge, especially to the winner and runner up. I do needle felting, but I never heard of a machine. Your stuff is lovely, Annette.

    As for the rest of us… tiny-ball losers? Really, Jackie?


    • Jackie May 15, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

      I didn’t say you have tiny figurative balls, just that others have bigger. We can all have big and some enormous. Matter of perspective really.

      But in all sincerity I had that whole paragraph where I noted that it was hard and about Indian pilgrimages and monks and temples and things.


      • pegoleg May 15, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

        Oh yeah, I forgot about your feel-good walk-back of the tiny balls indictment.

        By the way, I really like your definition of what establishing habits means – succinct and right on.


    • knotrune May 16, 2013 at 6:13 pm #

      Thank you 🙂 it’s nice you like my felted efforts. Most of them I just compare unfavourably to the gorgeous stuff I pin on Pinterest and get disheartened, but I need to keep at it.


  5. bikerchick57 May 15, 2013 at 5:35 pm #

    Congrats to Michelle!


    • mllaurie May 16, 2013 at 8:27 am #

      Thank you! 🙂


    • Jackie May 22, 2013 at 11:49 pm #

      and congrats to you – loved your entry!


  6. Georgia's Bath Products May 16, 2013 at 4:07 am #

    Congrats to all that participated! We all learned a little something, no matter how long. I’m really tickled over the challenge. Although I couldn’t do some of the physical parts I had planned for, I came up with tons of new things for my little business that will be a benefit for quite some time. 🙂


    • Jackie May 22, 2013 at 11:47 pm #

      That’s fantastic – grats!


      • Georgia's Bath Products May 28, 2013 at 2:54 am #

        Thank you for the fantastic idea! You helped a lot of people improve aspects of their lives. That’s really pretty cool in my book. 🙂


  7. mllaurie May 16, 2013 at 8:27 am #

    Woo-hoo!!!! Fabulous! Thank you so much, Jackie! There’s an animal sanctuary that needs 6 hen houses, and I’m so thrilled I’ll be able to help them out. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without you and The Gauntlet. I’ve learned so much, and now that I’ve had a little rest, I’m ready to get back to work. Thanks again! *Hugs*


    • Jackie May 22, 2013 at 11:41 pm #

      Thanks for entering – You rocked it 😉


      • mllaurie May 23, 2013 at 2:10 am #

        Thanks, Jackie. 🙂


  8. knotrune May 16, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

    Wow, I got a mention! Thanks 🙂 I’m glad I persevered now. *takes an embarrassed bow* The winner was worthy and it’s good to know the prize goes to help some hens in need.

    Just to clarify, the machine had not been sitting gathering dust, it was new, but I was worried it might end up gathering dust if I didn’t make a big effort. And it has only been used once since… But I have plans, and this gave me such a boost 😀


    • Jackie May 22, 2013 at 11:37 pm #

      Dusty box, perhaps? Well, next time I should be forced to fact-check. The Jackie Blog regrets the error.


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