February 20, 2013

52 Week Challenge: 12 New Habits to a Better You

It's been years, but I've decided to give the 52 Week Challenge another try.

I know. I know. I've burnt out before the challenge was over both times I tried before, but I've finally figured out what I was doing wrong. Even though simplifying my goals on the second try, I was still trying to do too much at one time. I have to keep reminding myself of the adage: "Keep it simple, stupid."

So, what is the 52 Week Challenge? It's based on the notion it only takes 30 days of doing something every day to make it habit. So, someone doing the challenge sets a goal for that month's area and keeps to it for thirty days. Then they move to the next area.

The challenge is meant to cultivate twelve new good habits in four key areas of your life. Those areas are: spirituality, health, relationships, and productivity.

The girls love their Nana and shower her with kisses and cuddles when she's in town.

It's best to keep them very simple and easy to keep. That way you stand a chance of actually following through each day to set the habit, and you won't get burned out easily.

I'm actually on day six of the second cycle this go around. (Sorry I didn't think of posting until today.) So, I'll use my goals so far as an example.

The first cycle is a spirituality cycle, and I'm Christian. I'm also a bit flighty, easily distractible, and I don't have the best memory these days. Before I'd try to remember to sit down and read from the Bible in the afternoon. I'm sure you can imagine how well that was working. At the end of the day, I'd think I read when I'd find my marker in the exact same place I'd set it a few days back. So, my first goal was to  read the Bible first thing after getting out of bed in the morning.

It's worked. After thirty-six days, I don't even think about it anymore. I get my glass of water and sit down to read the Bible before I do anything else.

This second cycle I'm on is a health cycle. I actually have two very simple habits I'm working on this time around. I even used my reminders ap to set reminders for myself, which wasn't something I had the first two go arounds.

The first goal is to make sure I have a big glass of water in the morning before I reach for coffee. A lot of early morning fatigue is actually being slightly dehydrated upon waking, which can mean water can be more effective at waking you up than caffeine anyhow. Plus, lots of water is a good thing for the body in any case.

The second goal is to fit in a workout, at least a short one every day. This one's been a bit harder. I'm really out of shape, so all I can manage at this point is about fifteen to twenty minutes of aerobics at a time. Still, I know I'll eventually build up my stamina if I keep it up.

This is what I do at the start of a new year in place of making resolutions I'll give up on inside two weeks. Yes, I've never made it all the way through an entire year because I still kept trying to make too many or to large of changes at once. However, those "failed" attempts still improved my life, health, and marriage. So are they really failures? I don't think so.

I know I didn't make an announcement about the challenge ahead of time, and I'm already in it. To be quite honest I wasn't sure if it would work this time either, and I wanted to know before I "opened my mouth," so to speak. But, you're more than welcome to jump in now or wait until I start the first relationships cycle in twenty-four days. That's one great thing about this challenge. It just keeps cycling around, so anytime is a good time to start in.

Are you with me?

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