Saturday, March 8, 2014

40 Day Project

40 day project
(Feel free to use this Facebook Photo for your own
#40dayproject.)
Days before I lost my 3-month old Samsung Mega, the most reliable object that I have on Earth next to my laptop, I discovered about the #100happydays. I have seen this hashtag being used by my friends on Facebook and Instagram. I got curious so I Googled it. Apparently, it was a campaign to post on social media photos of anything that made the participants happy for 100 straight days. The campaign resulted to many good things as shared by the participants who joined. Some of the benefits include being in a better mood every day, starting receiving more compliments from other people, becoming more optimistic and even falling in love.

I thought it was great. Actually, two things popped into my head, when I saw it. First is The Happiness Project book by Gretchen Book, which I wasn’t able to finish reading. And second, the movie Julie & Julia. The movie is about the young New Yorker Julie Powell, played by Amy Adams, who aspired to cook for 365 days the 524 recipes of Julia Child, played by the awesome Meryl Streep. Julie documented her progress in her blog, which became popular.

These things amazed me. There was something in documenting someone’s progress in a specific measure of time that made me drawn to these materials. As a blogger, I have dreamed of starting a project similar to what Julie had – involves blogging and is time-bound. This is actually one of my motivations in buying The Happiness Project.

But who got time to read a book?



40 is a special number

I don’t have much time to read a book and I don’t have 100 days. But I still want to create my own project. This led me to cutting the days of my own initiative to 40.

40 is a special number. In the book Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren enumerated the many biblical reasons why so.

-Noah’s life was transformed by 40 days of rain.
-Moses was transformed by 40 days on Mount Sinai.
-The spies were transformed by 40 days in the Promised Land.
-David was transformed by Goliath’s 40-day challenge.
-Elijah was transformed when God gave him 40 days of strength from a single meal.
-The entire city of Nineveh was transformed when God gave the people 40 day to change.
-Jesus was empowered by 40 days in the wilderness.
-The disciples were transformed by 40 days with Jesus after his resurrection.

Pastor Rick said that God considers 40 days a spiritually significant time period. He also said that whenever God wanted to prepare someone for His purpose, He uses 40 days.

40 is the number of transformation.

I believe that if God can use 40 days to transform someone’s life, He can also use 40 days to turn around a failing business or even a dwindling relationship.

40 is a special number for God. Deciding the cut the down the number of days of my own project to 40 wasn’t a difficult one.


How I will go about my 40 Day Project

Instead of limiting myself to “being happy” for 40 days, I’d like to use my own 40 Day Project for specific initiatives such as rereading the Purpose Driven Life for 40 days, helping a small business and a non-profit organization using digital marketing for 40 days each, spending 40 days to improve my music and 40 days with my new smart phone. (Yes, I am planning to get a new one. So help me God.)

As I think about this, I am also thinking about the other people who might want to create their own 40 Day Project. I don’t want them to be limited with the goal of “being happy” only. Not that I find this goal wrong. But I know that it can be used for more specific purposes, which ultimately lead to happiness. I want the 40 Day Project to be flexible. Being the number of transformation, I know that it can make a change in the lives of many for various specific purposes -- may it be in business, relationship or personal.

Below are the concrete steps that I have in mind in going about my 40 Day Project. Please feel free to make use of these steps too.

1. Commit it to God. Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.”

2. Craft your faith goal statement using this format: I will ____________ by ____________ for 40 days. For example, I will spend more time with Lord by rereading the Purpose Drive Life for 40 days.

3. Use your smart phone as your project companion. Take photos of your progress and post them on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #40dayproject.

4. Use social media as your support group. Allow your friends to know about your 40 Day Project by posting it on social media. This way, you’ll be able to have your own support group who will push you to finish your initiative and you may be even to inspire them to start their own 40 Day Project too.

5. Blog about it. At the end of the project or as you go along, blog about your experience. There is so much revelation when I write. I am sure many things will be revealed to you too when you do.

I have taken a step forward and created the online communities for you. Please feel free to make use of these communities and then we’ll see what will happen next.

-Like our Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/40-Day-Project/535252673254102 so you can tag us if you are posting your photo on Facebook.

-Join our closed Facebook Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/234453040073059/ so you can chat with your fellow 40 Day-ers.

-Sign up at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1kN3mMqFGEQ4Q_6vmZ759ZY8u3WXuLmIfyv_b8rQMSgM/viewform so we can know more about you.

-You can even tag me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/iammarkdelgado if you want. Just don't forget the hashtag #40dayproject.


40 day project
(Feel free to use this photo as your Facebook Cover too.)

Lessons learned

I haven’t even started yet my 40 Day Project but I already found myself thinking about the lessons that I can learn towards the end of it. I realized two things. First, being committed makes us happy. Second, a project without a deadline will most likely fail. Allow me to elaborate.

First, being committed makes us happy. Committing to a goal for a specific period of time is what truly produces results. It is so much better than being a free soul forever with no commitment to something or someone. When I was younger, I have a very negative perception about commitments. I believed the saying “Promises are made to be broken.” too much. But this is a lie. Disgruntled people invented this line and must certainly not be passed on to the next generation. If we do, we are only creating a generation of people who cannot honor their commitments and promises. This way of thinking must cease once and for all. While it is true that, sometimes, we fail to keep our promises, this must not stop us from committing. We are only humans and we certainly are bound to fail. But we are also humans, at that, and we are given free will. We must use that free will to: first, choose not to condemn ourselves when we fall; second, ask God for strength to recover from our failures; and third, rise up from our mistakes and then try again.

Second, a project without a deadline will most likely fail. I have proven this so many times. If you have a good project plan that doesn’t have a deadline, people won’t have the sense of urgency to contribute to the goal. They will most likely slack off and put the project plan at the bottom of their priority lists. This got me thinking about life. Death, like deadlines, is dreaded. We dislike them both. We avoid them as much as possible. But what most people don’t realize is that without deadlines, projects are most likely to fail. And without death, people won’t be able to appreciate life. We are wired to fear “endings”. It is in our very DNA to live. When we have wounds, we heal. When we are hurt, we stay away from the source of pain.

In the Bible, the final enemy is death. This is the very enemy that Jesus conquered through his resurrection. As a Christian, though I am naturally wired to "fear" death as a human, I know that I need not continue fearing knowing that I have eternal life through Jesus. My prayer is that through this 40 Day Project, people will be able to realize the power of our commitments and the importance of life.

So if you're ready, let's begin.

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” -Psalm 90:12


Here's the 40 Day Project in a nutshell.

2 comments:

  1. Sir, this post caught my attention, I am about to publish my post on Life begins at 40: 40 awesome ideas to add to your bucket list. And this is my 40 years project. haha. I will be turning 40 8 months from now and this is gonna be my best year ever. Thanks for sharing! I already have one project in mind for this 40 day project of yours. and the 40th day should fall on my 40th birthday....thanks for the idea.

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    Replies
    1. Tara JLo! Gawin natin! Do you have Instagram? All you have to do is post daily photos for 40 straight days. with hashtag #40dayproject. This will be a good preparation before your 40th birthday! Life begins at 40. And yes, you have 40 days to allow God to transform you. :))

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