Over the last couple of years I’ve seen a number of bloggers attempting this challenge of trying one new thing per month for a year. The challenges they’ve chose have differed, but the concept is still the same. This year, the twelve habits I plan to try are as follows...
Read a Book a Month
I was going to set myself the challenge of reading one book a week. After all, you see so many people doing it, including full-time business owners, so I thought it must be doable. The problem is that I often struggle to pull in time to read on a daily basis. Obviously, reading and writing are a big part of my work, so I’m always reading anyway - but not necessarily novels. I read one piece of advice that was to take a speed reading course in order to read faster and achieve the goal of reading 52 books in a year. Personally, I don’t want to have to learn how to read super fast because reading is my hobby and I don’t want it to stop being enjoyable or relaxing in the pursuit of achieving goals. That being said, reading is important and I also want to ensure that I’m reading on a regular basis. Therefore reading one book a month is manageable and a good goal!
Wake Up at 4.30am Everyday
I’ve read many a time that this is the time at which some of the most successful people in the world wake up. I’ve never been a morning person and when I do wake up before sunrise, I often prefer to spend the extra time drinking coffee and easing myself into a less rushed morning routine. Whether I will use this extra time productively is another question that I suppose I will find out the answer to when I complete this challenge. This is perhaps the one challenge I am dreading most, because waking up at 7am is a struggle for me and I’m one of those nocturnal sort who is actually most productive in the afternoons and evenings. So, I think I’ve already decided that this might be a challenge for February, seeing as it’s the shortest month of the year!
Work Just 4 Hours Per Day
I plan to work the typical 5 day working week, but only 4 hours per day. This isn’t to get out of work, but actually to challenge myself to be as productive as possible and overcome procrastination! I’ve noticed that the busier I am, the more work I get done. If I’ve got an hour to complete a task, usually an hour is enough to get the job done. When I’ve got all day to complete the same task, a full day it will take. I’m going to use the remaining hours in my day to do productive activities to improve my mindset, such as reading, exercise, creative tasks, and studying. I’m quite positive that I will be extremely productive during my 20 hour working week which I am sure I will be able to apply to my normal working days when the challenge is over.
This used to be so easy, writing a blog post a day. But the more my blog develops, the more collaborations and commitments I have - which means that my time isn’t simply readily available for writing all day. In the past I’ve signed up to “Blogmas” and “Blogtober” challenges but struggled to keep up with publishing a new blog post on a daily basis. I post regularly enough for this not to be a problem, but I’d like to fulfil the challenge of posting daily for a whole month.
Master a New Skill
There are so many things I want to learn, mainly creative skills, which I never make the effort to learn. I’ve started online courses and not yet finished them. I’ve bought craft sets and not yet used them. So this year I’m going to allocate a month to get stuck into finishing off those courses and learning (the basics of) some new skills, including acrylic painting, creative writing and photography.
Changing My Working Environment
The average working day for me involves working from home. One of the main motivators for setting up my own business was in fact this - being able to work from home. The truth is, I can actually work from anywhere I like. I’m no longer even tied to having somewhere with WiFi, plug sockets to plug in my laptop, or anything like that, because I can now do a lot of my work offline.
I love working from home but changing my working environment has its benefits too! The change of scenery evokes a string of new ideas in my mind and I always come away feeling inspired. For this reason, I’ve decided to change my office location as much as possible throughout an entire month. I plan to get creative with, so watch this space..
If you’re anything like me and have a million ideas circling your mind, journalling could help you to offload your thoughts and keep all of your plans and queries organised in one place. If I have a new business idea of a new service that I can offer, I write it down in my journal. I also use my journal to plan out my day or record what I’ve achieved at the end of the day. It’s a great way to keep me motivated and sane. One of my favourite ways to use my journal is to write down what time I need to finish work and what I’m looking forward to at the end of the working day. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. It could just be a new Netflix series or a relaxing hot bath. The point is that it’s something to reward yourself with at the end of the working day and somehow, this little habit really helps to keep me motivated.
Travel for a Month
I plan to travel more throughout the year. I also plan to make my travels as sustainable as possible. Travelling and experiencing new cultures is such a huge part of my life and business! However, in recent years I’ve done less travelling in the pursuit of setting down some roots. This year, I aim to demonstrate that you can have “roots and wings” as they say because equally, not all who wander are lost!
A Photo a Day
I love photography but rarely get to spend enough time, using photo prompts and styling the perfect shots. This is an exercise that I really enjoy and it’s one of those fun combinations where you use your brain to be creative, as well as completely switching off and allowing yourself to capture images freely. Each day I will be using photo prompts to inspire the photo I create. I will be sharing these prompts in the subsequent blog post, detailing how I managed with this challenge.
Zero Waste for One Month
I’ve tried going single-use plastic free for a month - which I really enjoyed. Now I thought I’d try going zero waste for an entire month. Of course, I do consciously try to produce as little waste as possible and I am proud to say that I am very good at it, so I’m looking forward to this challenge. The plastic-free challenge I did last year was easier than I had imagined, but was a real eye-opener to see how much single-use plastic even an eco-friendly, minimalist like myself could produce!
Use Social Media for Good
Social media gets a bad name. I know over the years that I’ve had my fair share of times when I’ve found it frustrating or false. On the other hand, it’s through the use of social media that awareness has been raised about important causes that matter! So, I plan to focus my time on using social media for good. Obviously it’s not like I’m using it in a negative way at the moment, but I’m going to spend a whole month going out my way to make new connections and inspire positive change.
Hire Help and Outsource Work
Until now, I’ve been running Minnirella alone. In the past, in the previous businesses I’ve managed, I have hired employees. Unless you’ve hired and fired before, you can’t fully appreciate what a blessing and a curse it really is. Hiring people to do jobs that need outsourcing frees up my time in one aspect, but I gain a whole new load of responsibilities at the same time. I’ve now got to the stage where I feel that I could grow the business further if I lightened my workload by hiring assistants. I am trying this for a month first to see how I get on. If it works it will be an ongoing thing and if not, I will reassess the next path I need to take in my business journey.
How will this work? Basically, I will be attempting just one challenge per month, with the exception of reading one book per month. I’m not planning to undertake these challenges in any particular order. I will probably pick each challenge at random at the beginning of each month.
Feel free to get involved. Follow me on Instagram to stay up to date with my daily life.