2020. was challenging in many ways and for some more than others. Last days of 2020. brought one of the biggest natural disasters of the last century or more, in Croatia, and we are once again faced with uncertainty, unimaginable tragedy and humanitarian crisis, on top of the ongoing corona virus pandemic. This makes me even more so aware of how lucky I have been and still am.
It also makes me look for and improve on my coping mechanism, since being an empath in times of so many crisis sure does not feel good. One of those mechanisms, which I developed last year, was setting up monthly challenges for myself. Something to structure my days, to make me stay active when all I want to do is lay in my bed and scroll endlessly and aimlessly, something to look forward to, and to keep me sane. I’ve come up with this idea at the beginning of the pandemic in Croatia, in March of 2020, and set up a total of 10 challenges until the end of the year. Some have been more and some less successful, but altogether I am quite happy with what I’ve accomplished.
This year, I’m all in – I’ve come up with 12 challenges, one for each month, and I look forward to all of them. Some are here to help me create better habits, some to improve on my health, some just for fun, and all of them to remind me daily that all I have to actually do, is try to be a bit better every day. All else is up to you, 2021.
Without further ado, here are the twelve 30-days challenges I will try to accomplish in 2021. Each will get its own blog post, with details on how I plan to do them and what my rewards will be, so stay tuned to read more!
#1 READ EVERY DAY | JANUARY | This shouldn’t be a challenge, since I really enjoy reading. This is more to remind myself how much exactly I love it. I used to be a part of the itinerary of my local library, and then went on to not even being a member for years. Life, you know? My Goodreads challenge is to read 30 books this year, and this one will sure help achieve that goal as well.
#2 EXPERIMENT IN THE KITCHEN | FEBRUARY | I’ll try and introduce some new tastes each day: new spices, new recipes, etc. I got a total of 5 cookbooks this Christmas (plus one I’ve bought for myself) so there’s more than enough of inspiration to last me the entire year, let alone the shortest month of the year!
#3 BECOME A WEB DEVELOPER | MARCH | I’ve enlisted in a course for basic web developing, and this will be the month I plan to finish this course. Hopefully, I’ll start before March, cause there are a total of 179 lessons!
#4 50x50x50 | APRIL | Each day, I must do 50 squats, 50 sit-ups and 50 push-ups. A little bit of everything, and not too much of anything!
#5 EXPLORE THE CITY | MAY | Last May, we went for a picnic at the edge of our city, after being closed off for almost three months due to pandemic, and we’ve realized there are so many places we never got to see and explore, right under our noses. So this May, we’ll explore our own city!
#6 PHOTO EXERCISE | JUNE | My brother gave me a brand new photo camera for Christmas and I plan to use it extensively. However, I would like to get some professional education on photography (not just the technical side of the apparatus, but framing, lights, etc.) and who better to teach me than a multiple award winning photojournalist, aka my brother? So, this June, I plan to take a photo each day, following one photographic rule (ie. the rule of thirds).
#7 STAY STILL | JULY | Every day, for half an hour, I will unplug from reality. No phone, no screen, no book, just silence. I imagine myself mostly sitting on my balcony, sipping coffee and doing nothing. Or, on the terrace of my island home, watching over the bay. Hopefully, there will be a moment to do that every day.
#8 INTER-MITTEN FASTING | AUGUST | Since I am terrible at sticking to the diet, I’ll try this one where I don’t actually have to give up on some of my favorite meals, but rather have them (or not) at certain times. I’ll try the 16:8 fast, and won’t eat between 5 PM and 9 AM. This schedule seems most reasonable since I have a ferry to catch at 9 AM and can then enjoy my breakfast while sailing to work, and my dinner when I return home, around 5 PM.
#9 PROJECT 333 | SEPTEMBER | “Project 333™ is the minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months”, says on the website dedicated to this challenge. I won’t be doing it for three months, but only 30 days of September. I tried this challenge once already (and failed miserably), and the biggest trouble is to plan for all kinds of weather, but I think I’ll manage.
#10 A STORY A DAY | OCTOBER | I’ll try and write a ten sentence story each day. I often think of short stories while riding to work, watching people on the ferry and imagining where they are going, or who they are. Now, I’ll try and write these down and see if there’s a chance of me becoming a writer. I already am a published author, but in a totally different genre. (Look at me, bragging about publishing one scientific article :P)
#11 ORGANIZING LIFE | NOVEMBER | For 30 days, I’ll be organizing every little bit of my life – from laptop, documents, closet, pantry, to my mind. I’m not really sure what this would entail but I feel I need it anyway 😀
#12 USE THE STAIRS! | DECEMBER | I live on the fourth floor of a building in which my family lives on the 15th. Going home might not be that difficult, but having coffee with my mom will be a real exercise! 😀 However, it sure will help even out all the cakes and cookies I’ll eat during Christmas season!
Each month I’ll publish a blog post about the challenge, with more details, and a quick recap of the past month’s challenge, so keep an eye on the blog, if you’d like.
Last year, I’ve come up with rewards for each challenge successfully finished, to keep me motivated and to justify spending way to much money on something I don’t need (such as at home gel-lack set). What actually happened was that even though I managed to finish most of my challenges, I ended up not rewarding myself (so, I didn’t buy that at home gel-lack set even thought I walked more than 10 000 steps a day). Being proud of myself, and whatever the challenge that month “made me do”, was enough of a reward in itself.
So this year, I’ll do it a bit differently. For each challenge finished successfully, I will participate in some charity event/cause (with money, work, volunteer hours or in some other way). There are way to many causes and people in need as it is, unfortunately. So, why not make it a habit of helping them out in some way, every month?
Cover photo shows a calendar which I’ve bought as a part of fundraiser for association of children with cancer, and I’m hoping to participate in similar events throughout the year. Wanna join?