This month, we’re focusing on education. Before suggesting books, articles, or activities, I encourage you to review the previous 11 months. Reflecting on lessons from the past year, what worked for you and what didn’t, is the best first step in preparing for the best possible new year.
I’ll start with lessons learned from my 75-Day Hard Challenge experience.
Timing is everything!
During my semi-annual check-in this summer, I realized I had not progressed on my health goals. It was the only area where I hadn’t done the work. I started modifying my eating and exercise habits in July but was at a plateau at the end of August; I was stuck and started looking for help. A friend posted a 75-Day Hard Challenge beginning in September. Again, timing is everything. While it was more intense than I initially thought, I started strong and met all the requirements for the first six weeks. However, as my schedule filled up and life became more challenging, I waivered on many commitments. I noticed progress, which was enough to keep up some new habits- just not all of them. While I intended to return to many tasks, it didn’t happen. Regardless, there were some big wins health-wise and considerable gains in habits.
I don't have to be an emotional eater.
For the past two decades, being happy, sad, excited, tired, frustrated, or disappointed could cue me to eat. During October, one of the most devastating experiences unexpectedly occurred that brought out all my feelings. I couldn’t sleep and began to spiral out of control. Y’all, I got quiet- you know it was terrible, lol. However, I did not turn to food for comfort because of this challenge and several books I’ve read recently. BIG WIN!!! I allowed myself time to grieve, process, pause, reflect, accept, and find other ways to soothe and comfort myself besides food.
There are options when money is limited!
FitOn is a website and an app that offers a variety of exercise classes for $39 a year! Yes, a year. Some argue if a goal is important enough, you will sacrifice the money to make it happen. Being a homeschooling parent of 6 on one income for most of my homeschool career, I know that sometimes there is no extra money in the budget. I am forever grateful for programs like Fit On that remove financial barriers from quality material.
A "best practice" might not work for you.
Over the past few years, I’ve struggled with trying best practices from others because they seemed like good ideas but didn’t work for me. Earlier this year, I was walking regularly until I read a book that suggested to achieve the ultimate level of productivity, we should work for the first three hours of the day, followed by a walk to clear our head and then, anything else we tackled that day was lagniappe! That sounded amazing! I found myself more productive working from 5-8 or 6-9, but the walk didn’t happen. EVER. I tried forcing it for months to no avail. It took a while to recover from that routine. Consider the stage of life you are in and your needs when you implement new ideas. If I don't walk first thing in the morning, there's a 90% chance that it won't happen. Knowing that about myself, helps me plan my day!
Do what works for you.
I listen to audiobooks. It fits my current lifestyle. I LOVE reading, but the time I have to sit and read a book is limited. The 75-Day challenge required 15 minutes of daily reading from a book. In the time it took me to read ½ a book over that first six weeks, I finished three audiobooks. I love gathering information and ideas for improvement and incorporating the ones that work for you.
Make choices based on your current lifestyle.
It can be the difference between accomplishing a goal or not. I need structured flexibility. It is easy for me to become too rigid when following a plan, preventing me from moving forward. I was reminded to embrace my creativity to meet my needs.
Several concepts learned from the 75-Day challenge have significantly impacted my life, resulting in me creating a series of challenges for next year. Each quarter will have a different focus area: finances, health, relationships, and community. I’m excited to use what I’ve learned this year to continue on my journey of self-improvement and thrilled to take you with me!
How about you? What have you learned?
If you need help starting, pull out your calendar and review each month. Select three to five of the most impactful events of the year. Once you have that list, you might immediately know which circumstance taught you the most. If not, spend 5-10 minutes reflecting on each. It’s possible you learned one lesson from each instead of 5 lessons from one. There is no right way to complete this activity.
I’m hosting two goal-setting workshops over the next 10 days; this is prep work for 2023 planning. I’d love to hear what you learned! Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.