2016, the year of challenges!

Hello and happy new year everyone! I hope you all are doing awesome and that 2016 is treating you right. Myself, well, I don’t know. I’m struggling with all the usual stuff (difficulties getting along with the bigger kid, the little one still doesn’t want to sleep at night, pretty sure most of the time I suck at everything, you know, the usual.) But I am still insistent that I am working on improving myself and my life this year. I did not do New Year’s resolutions this year (I can’t remember the last time I actually did do any, actually) but I did tackle some challenges, and I want to tell you about them today!

I told Carlos I was doing some challenges this year and I described them to him and he said something like “everything is a challenge right now!” And I guess he’s right. For me, the “challenge” format is interesting and (hopefully) helpful in actually getting some stuff done. With my Bullet Journal and the freedom to make lists and keep track of things, this is working out fairly well so far.

I am doing 8 challenges this year so far, and I don’t feel like I’ve gone completely off the rails on any of them yet. I think the way these work at this point is that they are fun and interesting, don’t take a ton of time so they don’t mess up the schedule, and you feel super accomplished afterwards, enough to make you want to keep doing them tomorrow. My challenges I’m participating in this year go like this:

Yoga: The 30 Day Yoga Challenge with Adriene. This is a series of videos on YouTube that you follow along. They’re free, and they are very popular. I have been wanting to do more yoga for a while but I didn’t know where to start. I have a couple of videos and apps that I do occasionally, but this one really speaks to me at the moment as it’s all set up to do a bit every day. (Don’t worry, Sissy. I love the video you got me and I will go back to it eventually!) I also really love Adriene, the girl who does the videos. She is funny and silly a bit and I look forward to doing my yoga every day. I feel great after doing a workout and I don’t feel like I rushed it. So far I have missed 2 days (remember, my life is utter chaos and I can’t always carve out the time!) but I’m not worried about falling off the tracks because I do still enjoy it so much!

Change Saving: This one is a bit of a hybrid. I read about this idea that you put a dollar in the jar on day one and 2 on day two and so on and in the end you have a very large amount of money, or maybe you do it by weeks or something, but I didn’t like the idea of having such a large amount to put in at the end of the year. Let’s be honest with ourselves, I’m not going to be able to stick with it all year. The I read that if you do it with pennies (1 on day one, 2 on day two, etc.) at the end you’ll have like $667 dollars or something and it’s much more attainable. We have pennies laying all over the house and I thought what the heck? But did I leave it there? Oh no no no! I listened when the Carlos said we should change it up and so we’ve doing a thoroughly confusing plan where we incorporate all the kinds of change and move up just a bit every day. There was 1 penny day one, 1 nickel day 2, 1 dime day three, and a quarter day 4. Day five would be 2 pennies, day six 2 nickels and so on. I spent an inordinate amount of time creating a beautiful checklist in my Bullet Journal and on New Year’s Eve we’ll owe the jar 92 nickels. That’s right, $4.60. Two days before that it’s 91 quarters or $22.75. I have no idea how much the total will be (I just haven’t bothered to do the math) and I don’t know if we’ll stick to it, but for now it really is a lovely chart and we’ve missed 2 days so far so tonight I’ll have to put in 2 pennies, 2 nickels and 2 quarters. We’ll see how it goes.

Come Clean Home Cleaning Challenge: I am notoriously a bad housekeeper. I feel like congratulating myself each time I actually manage to do some sort of chore more than one day in a row. I do the best I can and I’ve been doing a better job of at least keeping up on dishes since I got the Bullet Journal started, but “deep cleaning” is sort of a bad word in my world. This challenge takes a ton of tasks I never do (including some I just never think of!) and breaks them all down into nice bitesized chunks. Monday’s task was clear and clean kitchen counters (check!) and Tuesday’s was clean small appliances (check!) Yesterday was purge and clean fridge and freezer (um, no.) I did not get that done last night. Maybe tonight? I don’t know. So, we appear to be going off the rails a bit here, but there is a day each week set aside to catch up on unfinished tasks, so I may be able to carry this one through. I’m gonna try anyways!

30 Day Preparedness Challenge: I admit it. The Carlos and I are sort of preppers. Not like crazy insane build a bunker style (although there are times…..)but we do want to be more prepared for disasters. This challenge is pretty much a series of articles about things you should have ready in case of various emergencies. Day one was 8 items you need in your car (a blanket, water, gas in your tank, stuff like that) and day 3 was 4 things you need when the lights go out. I am compiling a list of the suggestions and I am (very, very) slowly gathering these things together as I go. Mostly a thinking exercise and a push to gather the things I already have and think about things I want.

Organize Your Soul Self Care Challenge: This one is really hard. It’s a series of journal prompts that are sort of for breaking you down and making you look at your life and why you feel the way you do about things, with the intent of teaching you how to incorporate more self-care into your daily routine. It’s a bit brutal to be honest and I’m hoping it starts feeling a little less hard soon. I’m not saying it’s not good, I just find it uncomfortable at the moment (which probably means I’m doing some good self-studying!) An example of one of the prompts is “The Stories We Tell Ourselves.” It makes you think about things people have said to you in the past that have become part of how you think about yourself and why, and it pushes you to recognize that you don’t have to let that kind of thing define you. Good stuff but not easy.

Listers Gotta List: I list of lists to make. Yup, because I need more lists to make. I haven’t actually done any of these yet (it threw me off having New Year’s Day on a Friday and no time to do any of these things for the weekend. I’m slowly catching up as we move through the week.) There are some interesting lists to do and it’s all about being more mindful (which I realize is sort of the point of all of these!) Some of the lists to do include “What I loved about 2015” and “Things I have always wanted to do.” I think these will be fun and I hope they’ll be thought-provoking, too.

The reading challenges: There are 2 of these, and they come from different websites. These feel a bit like cheating to be honest as they’re simply lists of books to read. They’re not specific as to which book to read, but a list of types of books to read, like a book set in your home state or a book written by a comedian. I say it feels a bit like cheating because I’m going to read anyway, I just get to check stuff off as I go! On the other hand, I do sometimes have a hard time deciding what to read next so I think these will be fun to get me out of my reading rut sometimes!

And that’s it. Just a bunch of things to do and think and read and clean this year. So far it’s pretty fun and I intend to update you all on how these are going (though not in so much detail!) throughout the year to try to help me stay on track! If you’re interested in more details on any of these, or you know of some fun challenges I could look at to add, let me know!

I want to thank you all again for visiting my blog and supporting me through all my crap. You are all amazing and I don’t know what I’d do without you! I hope 2016 is amazing for all of us, and I intend to do everything I can to make it so! Happy New Year and I’ll see you next week!

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