Do you make a resolution for the new year? I usually do, but nothing formal, and it’s almost always to lose weight. Honestly, after a day or two, I forget I made one. This year I’ve decided to challenge myself to something more meaningful, and to do it in monthly segments, so it’s not too daunting. Instead of making one empty resolution to last the entire year, I’m going to try A Year of 30-Day Challenges!
I chose about seven 30-day challenges on my own, but the last few were surprisingly hard. There are a lot of suggestions on the internet and I was pleased to find that I do some of them already, like making my bed every day. I got creative with a few of the later months to combine challenges from earlier months, hoping that it means some of these stick! Will you join me and make your own challenges? If you do, I’d love to hear about it in the comments or use #sohowsittaste30 so I can find you on social media. Happy 2018!
January: Reduce My Sugar Intake
My inspiration for this entire year of challenges started with Pinch of Yum’s Sugar Free January. If you read through her post, you’ll learn it’s not entirely sugar free…but what YOU want to make it. It’s unrealistic for me to go completely sugar free (it’s in fruit!), but it is realistic for me to cut back. I eat way too much sugar, especially coming off the holidays. (I’m eating fudge as I type this. 😳) For me, I’m going to commit to reducing my sugar by not eating foods with added sugar, refined sugar, or sugar substitutes. This one will be a huge challenge, but I’m ready for it!
A bonus of starting this in January is that it will help me get back to my fitness journey. Part one I accomplished earlier this year by losing 15 pounds, woot! Part two was to continue working out and maintain my weight loss through the holidays, check! Part three is to keep going and work on losing those last few pounds and gaining muscle strength and flexibility.
February: Start a Gratitude Journal
Many of these challenges are for me to focus on, well, me. I spend way too much of my life going through the motions and taking things for granted. I’d like to take time to reflect on what is special in my life and hopefully create some inspiration to quit going through it on autopilot.
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 84 things I was grateful for in February. One tool I’m pumped about helping me do this (and maybe not just in February!) is this Commit 30 2018 Day Planner. It’s simple enough that I won’t get overwhelmed to fill out too many boxes like other planners, but also adds a fun element because I LOVE organizers and stickers! This will be perfect for my February challenge, but also all the other months!
March: Try Yoga Once a Week & Stretch Every Day
I have had these two articles bookmarked for months: Drift Off to Sleep With This Yoga Sequence and 15 Deep Stretches to Ease Everyday Aches and Pains. I even purchased tennis balls and my mom gave me a yoga block to use, and they’ve sat in the corner of my bedroom…untouched. I think stretching is really important and I tend to only do it right before and after a workout. I’ve also been eyeing a beginner yoga class offered at my gym on Tuesday nights. Have I gone yet, even though I’ve been a member since the summer? Nope. In March, I’m going to commit to stretching every day and finally going to that Tuesday night yoga class!
April: Take a Photo Every Day
This is a fun one, but I think it will still be a challenge! I chose April for this challenge because I’ll be in New York City for a few days and thought that would help keep it interesting. There aren’t really any restrictions on this one, except I’m going to try to get creative. I hope this challenge helps me look at everyday items differently, especially during the work week when I’m on a routine.
May: Practice Spanish Every Day
I have been teaching myself Spanish for several years now. The problem? I go all in for a bit, and then I forget about it. Once that happens, I have to start all over again. So I’m good on numbers and days of the week, but that’s about it. I discovered this free Spanish podcast called Coffee Break Spanish about a year ago and I took it a step further and purchased the extras for season one through their Coffee Break Academy. I’m hoping this challenge gets me back in the habit of taking time to practice and learn Spanish every day.
June: Eat Dinner at the Table Every Night – No TV
I have a bad habit of plopping myself on the couch and eating dinner in front of the TV every night. Some times I get fancy and use a tray table. 😜 It makes me completely zone out and before I know it, I’ve inhaled my dinner. I love food, so why not enjoy it! In June, I’m committing to eating dinner at the table without the TV. Listening to music or a podcast is acceptable!
July: Read a Chapter of a Book Every Day
I love to read, but I am a very slow reader, and I usually reserve reading for when I’m in bed about to fall asleep. As you can guess, this gets me nowhere in a book because I get tired after a few pages and call it quits. It takes me forever to finish a book. In June, I’d like to commit to spending purposeful time dedicated to reading. I’ve set up a cozy space in my spare bedroom where I can devote it to reading a chapter a day instead of trying to squeeze in a few paragraphs before I fall asleep.
August: Drink a Glass of Water Every Morning
This one may have you giving me the side eye. What kind of challenge is this? Well, for me, it’s a big one! I will drink coffee in the morning, eat breakfast too, and not take a sip of water until mid-afternoon. On the weekends it’s longer and I really notice when I’m headed to the gym and realize I haven’t had a single sip of water. Water is such a vital part of a healthy lifestyle and you can really give your body a boost by starting your day with a big glass. I’m pretty good about drinking water during my workouts and later in the day through the evening, but I’d like to commit to starting this habit earlier.
September: Create and Follow a Morning Routine
In the past few years, I’ve become a morning person. I never thought I would, but here I am! It helps that I have an early bird pup…Sydney gets me up anywhere between 5:45 and 6:30 a.m. She’s too cute to resist! However, I do nothing but rush through it during the weekdays or laze through it on the weekends. I’d like to start a morning routine of enjoying my coffee or tea in a relaxed environment with a lit candle or essential oils, maybe some light music, and taking time to reflect on the day ahead. This is one of those challenges that could combine earlier challenges. Stretching (from March) or drinking a glass of water (from August) could be part of this new routine as well!
October: Eat Vegetarian
I don’t eat meat that much, but I’m not very conscious about it. I know 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 October. I think this will be a great plan for heading into the holiday months. This challenge is more about paying attention to what I put in my body (like January’s challenge), rather than a “do not eat this” challenge.
November: Create and Follow a Bedtime Routine
This challenge is similar to September’s challenge in that it combines a few previous challenges. I have no bedtime routine except for brushing my teeth. I also go to bed too early. Huh? Yep, I do. I think I just love to sleep and becoming an early riser probably has something to do with it, too. I’d like to create a bedtime routine where I devote some time to myself without technology, except for maybe my Kindle! Stretching (from March), reading (from July), and working on my gratitude journal (from February) can all be part of one stellar routine for winding down! Carving in that extra time between turning off the TV and falling asleep could be so beneficial!
December: Take a Break from Social Media & the Internet
I’m committing to taking a break from social media and the internet after 6 p.m. every day for the month of December. This one is going to be tough! I think that’s why I saved it for last. My job involves the web and social media, so cutting it out completely wouldn’t be possible if I wanted to stay employed, plus let’s be realistic. 😉 The crazy thing is, after staring at a computer all day during the week, I do it at home! I can’t watch a TV show or movie without looking up everything on IMDB. A lot of times, I pause what I’m watching to scroll through Twitter or Instagram. I’m on Facebook during dinner. It’s out of control!
That’s my plan for 2018! I’m so excited to get started! I’ll check in after each month and report how it goes and you can follow me on Instagram. I hope you’ll join me if there are things you’d like to accomplish this year (use #sohowsittaste30 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, not something you feel like is a chore. Don’t make them too easy, either! And most importantly, have fun!