In 2006, the pastor of a Kansas City church told people in his congregation he wanted them to test their limits. “The one thing we can agree on,” said Rev. Will Bowen, “is there’s too much complaining.” And so he asked the group to give up complaining, criticizing, gossiping or using sarcasm for 21 days. People who joined in were issued purple bracelets as a reminder of their pledge. If they caught themselves complaining, they were supposed to take off the bracelet, switch it to the opposite wrist and start counting the days from scratch. Rev. Bowen said it took him three and a half months to put together 21 complaint-free days, and many said it took them a full year.

Why don’t you try?

Buy a bracelet fromPastor Bowen’s website, or find one that you can easily put on and take off.

The goal of this practice is to become aware of when you complain, gossip or use sarcasm, because that is the very first step to improvement.

People who do not see their choices do not believe they have choices. They tend to respond automatically, blindly influenced by their circumstances and conditioning. Mindfulness, by helping us notice our impulses before we act, gives us the opportunity to decide whether to act and how to act.” ─ Gil Fronsdal

Watch videos of Rev. Will Bowen explaining how to encourage a complaint-free life:

More videos by Rev. Will Bowen are here.