The 21-Day Complaint-Free Challenge

The 21-Day Complaint-Free Challenge

Recently read an article entitled ‘I Went 21 Days Without Complaining & It Changed My Life‘ by Tim Ferriss.  He talks about a challenge he took up to go 21 days without complaining (or gossiping or criticizing).  It started with a guy who wrote about a book about it and had these bracelets to aid in the process.  If you complain, you switch the bracelet to the other side and the goal is to go 21 days (since that’s the general amount of time to make or break a habit).

I Complaintdon’t consider myself a very negative person but thought I’d give it a shot.  What was interesting was that I began to recognize how often I make small critical comments that really do nothing but promote cynicism.  Having to do the physical act of switching the bracelet was creating a negative association with complaining and criticism, and in turn helping me recognize how often I was doing it.  I started a week or so ago and haven’t made it more than a day without complaining.  I started using an app called ‘Bracelet‘ to help me keep track as well as log what I’ve complained about.  It’s sort of funny to go back and read what I felt so compelled to make negative comments about.  I’ve included a picture of my most recent complaints.

There is room for constructive criticism.  It doesn’t count as a complaint if there is some sort of new action to be done.


“Ugh, this traffic freaking sucks!”


“This traffic is terrible.  Tomorrow, I will use my Waze app to find an alternative route that will hopefully less congested”

That in itself turns you more into a problem solver instead of making comments that add no value to the situation.

On top of all of it, when I think of the people I look up to, I don’t think of them as people who complain about their circumstances or situations.  I want to be one of those people.  I have an extra bracelet if someone wants it; I bought them off eBay and the previous owner was a smoker. Most of the smoke smell is gone now but Sara is pretty sensitive to it so she’s using her own bracelet.

Wish me luck 🙂

By Thom H Gibson

I help middle school STEM teachers create meaningful & memorable experiences for their students. Teacher, podcaster, YouTuber. Two-time teacher of the year

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