Do you make a resolution for the new year? I usually do, usually several. Honestly though, by mid-February, I drop any sort of vigilance to complete them. This year, I’ve decided to challenge myself in monthly segments, hoping to make these challenges into habits. Welcome to my Year of 30-Day Challenges!
2020 ULTIMATE GOAL: These piles of kindling (effort) will help keep my soulfire within burning bright.
Thanks to the internet, I had a great many ideas to choose from – it was hard to narrow down. I picked those that felt challenging, good for me and achievable. Will you join me and make your own challenges? If you do, I’d love to hear about it in the comments or use #soulfire30 so I can find you on social media. Happy 2020!
January: Walk two miles daily
One of ultimate goals is making 10,000 steps a day a habit by the end of 2020, not just a weekly happenstance like it is now. Just living life gets me halfway through my steps so by adding this focused goal, I hope to get there daily in January.
A bonus of starting this in January is that I will be establishing a mindset to fitness important to my day.
RESULTS: I should have been more specific with myself. Because if we take this challenge literally I succeeded BUT I intended this to be a set time of day when I walked two miles in one period and in that regard, I failed. I blame starting off the year with being sick for the first ten days.
February: Eat Mindfully
Being someone who works from home, I have the good habit to make myself healthy meals but the bad habit of eating them in front of my computer. So to show myself and my son some extra love and attention, we’re going to be making dinners extra special with music, themes, candles, etc. My lunchtime goal, will be one meal in public, one outdoors and the others at the table not the desk. Reading or podcast listening is allowed; but no screens.
RESULTS: Dinners were much more fun. Candles, themes and music did happen although not every night. But being more cognizant is there. Epic fail on lunches away from the desk.
March: Perform Yoga Twice a Week & Stretch Every Morning
When I envision my ultra-healthy, super-balanced self, I hike and do yoga all the time. Everytime I have to reach and it causes a strain, I think “this wouldn’t be so achy if you were doing some yoga, lady!”
So the yoga mat, blocks and ball are coming out of their corner and getting used! Plus I found this wonderful article of 15 deep stretches to start a morning regime. In March, I’m going to commit to stretching every day and performing along with an online beginners yoga class twice a week.
RESULTS: So this one has taken a slight twist since now yoga time is now a “recess” break my son and I take during our mornings. A hidden blessing is that we have been doing this almost daily – these fun 15-minute videos from Cosmic Yoga. Not slow, meditative style but moving my body is the goal!
April: Participate in #NAPOWRIMO
Many people know about NaNoWriMo in November for fiction writers but there is also a month-long challenge for poets. National Poetry Writing Month aka NaPoWriMo is an annual project in which participating poets attempt to write a poem a day for the month of April.
I had a strong interest in poetry during my college years, lovely pieces of kindling that lit my soulfire. Plus I believe poetry strengthens my prose no matter which genre I’m writing for. And unlike novel writing, poems have no length so there is no average word count I need to hit – less pressure.
May: Take Two Photos Every Day
This is a fun one, but I think it will still be a challenge! I chose May for this challenge because it is such a beautiful time of year. Plus my son and I will likely be up to some adventures to capture. I decied to make this two photos a day: one of a life moment captured and one of me (preferably with others). Like many mothers, I put together our family yearbooks and realize I wasn’t in a whole lot of pictures.
I like to be very present when we do an activity but I’d like to balance “being there” with also realizing I can take a few photos and be fine. There aren’t really any restrictions on this except be creative.
June: Drink a Glass of Water Every Morning
Even though I limit the beverage choices in my house, even though I have special glasses for the event of drinking water (they say “Foxy Lady” for the curious) and even though 64 oz. water is on my daily task list, I struggle to drink water daily. I drink about 2 oz to take my 6a.m. thyroid meds and then get back to drinking water around noon. Coffee tends to be my morning go-to. It is said that drinking water first thing in the morning really helps the body “wake up” for the day. So my goal is 12 oz of clear goodness first thing to get going plus 64oz more during the day.
July: Eat Vegetarian
There are a ton of health benefits from eating a plant-based diet, so I’m going to be purposeful in not eating meat for the month of July. I chose this month because there is so many wonderful fresh vegetables and fruits available this time of year. Much of our summer day is about doing and being, not eating. Plus we have a wonerful Farmer’s Market. This challenge is more about paying attention to what I put in my body, rather than “do not eat that animal” challenge. This may be get tricky if we’re doing some road trips so preparation and recipes at the ready will be key to my success I think.
August: Be consistent with a Gratitude & Joy Journal
Many of these challenges are for me to focus on, well, me. I give thanks on a daily basis but am not great about writing them down for those “darker” moments in life. I got this wonderful book “Three Moments A Day: A Guided Journal for Recording Everyday Joy” in July 2019 that was perfect for me. “Yes, I can do this. I can keep this little journal.” It sits right beside on my desk. And I look there and see I made exactly four entries. Boo! So one year later, let’s try again.
Every night, I’ll challenge myself to write down three things I was grateful for that day or that put a smile on my face. At the end of this challenge, I’ll have a list of over 90 things I was grateful for in August.
September: More SoulFire – My own challenge
A few years ago, I created set my own 30-day challenge for being more audacious. It was fun, insightful and I really stuck to it. For September, which is self-care month, I plan to set up a new 30-day challenge. Each day will be something a little different than the day before. The goal being to rekindle the inner soulfire by stepping and stretching beyond complacency zones.
Would you like to join this challenge? Click here to sign up!
October: Create and Follow a Bedtime Workout Routine
I know… workout right before bed – how will you sleep?! But actually I found this great Shape.com article which inclues 5 minutes of yoga and 5 minutes of some calisthenics to do in the evening that can help boost metabolism. And if I can get my metabolism to work even more when I sleep then I need to try it out!
November: Participate in #NANOWRIMO
Since 2013, I have been attempting the phenom that is NaNoWriMo. In long form, National Novel Writing Month “began in 1999 as a daunting but straightforward challenge: to write 50,000 words of a novel during the thirty days of November.”
And that my dear readers, it what I attempt to do each fall. Typically, I get excited. I plan a little. I do a fair amount of research in October on my ideas and then… November 1. Nothing. Nothing, nothing, nothing for the entire month. But I love the idea, the structure, the site, the camaderie, heck I even have the hoodie. So here is my intention once more to some day obtain the 50k word count. We all have our marathons and this one is mine.
December: Read a Chapter of a Book Every Day
I love to read, so I know I will have read many books before December. But if these challenges above turn into the habits I hope, then some time devoted to reading daily will be well earned. My son and I read aloud nightly from great children’s literature however I don’t read a lot in front of him for my own enjoyment. I deeply believe in showing not telling my son that reading is a better activity than watching a screen… and even though we can read on “screens” I do want to limit both our screen exposure so this is about tangible, hold-in-your-hands book time on the couch each evening after dinner. Maybe thirty minutes of reading, then family stretching, one more glass of water and then a family movie. Ooooo, I like that plan a lot!
That’s my strategy for 2020! I’m so excited to get started! I’ll check in during each month and report how it goes. You can follow me on Twitter (@soulfiregypsy). I hope you’ll join me if there are things you’d like to accomplish this year (use #soulfire30 so I can find you!). Make your challenges challenging, of course, but not too hard that you give up. Make them something you want to do, that get you excited. Most important, have fun!