Planning ahead for 2016: monthly challenges (part 1)

Like most, I love the new year and that ‘fresh start’ feeling. I also love making resolutions and challenging myself to something new.

I was part of the 2015 cohort of the New Entrepreneurs Foundation (incidentally, the best thing i’ve ever done, applications for the next cohort are now open so apply!) and I have been inspired by some other NEF alumni who have completed a series of 30 day challenges:

Mike: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2534558/Need-resolution-inspiration-This-man-completed-12-month-long-challenges-2013-including-kayaking-work-learning-sing.html

Greg: https://medium.com/the-30-day-challenge

I have therefore decided that 2016 will be the year of month long challenges. I appreciate the importance of moderation and agree that living a life stripped of guilty pleasures somewhat takes away the fun but these will be things that I would like to do less/more of and I think that focusing on each intensely for a month will help me on my way.

January – No TV. I am not ashamed to admit that I love watching TV, it’s one of my favourite ways to relax. This would be fine if I were watching documentaries or old classics but more often than not it’s Gogglebox (which I stand by as an excellent choice), Eastenders (less so) and Coronation Street (ditto). I also spend more time than I would like watching YouTube so in January, TV/cinema/Netflix/YouTube are banned!

February – Write a diary everyday. I was an avid diary writer up until about the age of 21. I still find the process of writing down my thoughts (usually in list form) very therapeutic but i’d love to return to keeping a diary and documenting what’s going on in my life. To me, the small things are the most important and it’s often those small things that I forget!

March – Wake up at 6am. I am a morning person but one of my biggest personal gripes is that I can’t wake up before 7am. Everyday I set my alarm for 6am and everyday I re-set it for an hour later. There is endless research on how waking up early is great for productivity, creativity and general happiness and man oh man do I want those things! This will include weekends which, granted, is a bit mental but i’m sure my readers with young children would find a 6am Sunday start totally normal!

April – No meat. My sister is vegan and while I am not planning on heading that way, I am conscious of how much meat I eat and the effect it’s having on the environment and my body. I do consider myself an animal lover and while I think eating meat is a natural part of being human, I disagree strongly with mass meat production.

May – No alcohol or chocolate. I’m not a big drinker so I thought I would combine this with cutting out one of the great loves of my life – 70% dark chocolate. This is more a test of character since my chocolate intake is also not crazily high but I absolutely love it!

June – 30 day yoga challenge. I have heard great things about Adriene (luckily this will fall on a month where I can watch YouTube) and I also have a friend who is an excellent yoga teacher http://www.sophieyogalondon.com/ so I will be combining the two to complete some (it may be 15mins some days and 1 hour on others) yoga every day.

Stay tuned for part 2 and my challenges from July-December. If you have any suggestions or if you’re keen to do something similar, please let me know!

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