"Don't live the same year 75 times and call it a life." Robin Sharma
I'm well into my third round of the year long challenge. A different "30 Day challenge for each month of the year. I did the first round in 2016, the second round in 2018, and this third round now in 2020. I never had the intention to start the challenge. On New Year's Eve 2015 I was suffering from a pretty gnarly hangover. I'll be honest though, all my hangovers are pretty gnarly and a big reason I don't really drink much these days. Anyways, it was a rough hangover. I'm talking bad. I was crying, so disappointed in myself, didn't like who I was, and decided to change. I wanted to give up drinking alcohol for the entire month of January 2016. I was joining in on the "Dry January" trend and I did. I completed it.
I was really surprised how easy it was and that I didn't miss it at all. My energy doubled, my skin had a little glow, and there was a fog that started to lift off of my mind. When the month ended I was still flying high and inspired to do another 30 day challenge and then before you know it, "My Year of 30 Days" was made.
2016. That was the year that drastically changed my life. Not only did I complete a new challenge each month for the entire year, (I'll list out the monthly challenges for each year at the end of this blog post) I lost nearly 50 lbs, ran two half marathons, and half a dozen other trail races. I had never been a runner before then. In highschool, I would walk the mile and smoke cigarettes. I tried to run here and there as an adult but it just never really stuck. Not until I started trail running. My feet just prefer the dirt of the Earth and not the asphalt of man. And God forbid I have to run on a treadmill. That's the hardest for me of all.
I now had all these challenges to complete each day. Some physical, some mental, some personal, and some spiritual. Those challenges helped give me confidence in what I could accomplish. That I could work hard, train, stay focused, and that I could do anything. Even run a biggilion miles. I don't particularly like running, either. I much more prefer hiking. I do, however, like what running teaches me. I crave the discipline. I need it. I never had discipline as a child. I had abuse. There's a difference.
The discipline keeps my fire contained. Some of the most difficult challenges for me to complete weren't the physical ones. A morning routine has just been so difficult for me to cultivate. It was my challenge for January 2020 and I've tried it in in previous year's challenges. It just doesn't stick. I completed 26 of the 31 days of the month, (we had a major injury to the family that caused a sudden interruption and needed 100% of our focus) I felt like I was just going through the motions. I wasn't really gaining anything or really connecting with what I was doing but I really enjoy each step of the routine and like what I gain from each individual piece. I think I just need to cultivate it in a different way. Try it more like a check list for what I want to complete in each day. Check it off when it's complete as apposed to get it all done before you start your day. I'm a list girl. Like, a crazy list girl. They are everywhere. Haha. I need to see my needs listed out for my brain to register it. I don't think I was gaining anything from containing the routine to a particular time of day. There were a couple things that are just now a part of my waking up process and then there were a couple of things that I just want to make sure has it's own time in my day. Morning routine listed below.
January 2020: Morning Routine
1) Oil Pull- I've been doing this one for years. This topic needs it's own blog post so that will be up soon but in short....I put about a tablespoon of raw virgin coconut oil in my mouth. Once melted I swirl it around gently for about 20 mins. Blog post to come.
2) Morning Papers- Another topic that will be getting it's own blog post. This is just one of those habits that stuck. I love to write. To physically put pen to paper and ramble. Ever since I was a little girl. Waking up each morning and writing out 3 pages of morning papers helps me to clear my mind of noise and chatter and get to the good creative bits.
3) Morning Movement- which always involved some sort of Yoga. It feels good for me to slowly warm the body up but it also seemed that I wanted to linger a lot longer in poses to feel the openings. In the morning that's hard to do. I just always seem to be a little bit pressed for time. Not to mention that my husband fractured his leg and dislocated his ankle halfway through the month. My to do list grew a bit longer and I found myself with a lot on my plate. Morning Movement took the hit and so did...
4) Morning Meditation- they were shortened to about 7-10 minutes of mindfulness. That's it. That's not enough for me. I need that space to cool the fire. My energy. I missed a total of 7 days of meditation. That's sad. The only days that I had missed oil pulling or my morning papers were the days that Josh was in the hospital. (I'll see if I can get his blessing on sharing his story here. It's a crazy one and needs to be made into a movie. LOL)
I'll do a separate post about about February's challenge, which was Breathwork. Once I've had a moment to reflect on it I'll write it up. I've been studying breathwork techniques and using pranayama for a while now and I really loved this challenge. It's also one of my favorite things to teach and always a major part of my classes. Breathwork really resonates with me. It's painful and tough at times but I can feel it penetrate right through to my heart. A massive opening. I really look forward to writing about it. It's a practice that is sticking and I plan to study it even deeper. Look for the blog post in the next week or so. I'll share a technique I use to balance both sides of the body and mind.
In the meantime, I'll be throwing some words out here and there as they come to me. Topics that speak to me and what I care about. This blog is for me. To get my words out. They are trapped inside and make my mind noisy. Some topics may be deeper than others. Some filled with gear and maybe even educational. Some may just be rambling rants. LOL. Who knows. We shall see.
I'll leave the list of all the challenges and their Year below. 2018 was tough to complete as you can see. Some years are just harder than other and that's ok. Maybe all of this will inspire you to create your own set of challenges. You don't really need a new year or a new month to make a change. You need not wait for any particular day. Everyday is a new day. Every moment a new moment. Every breath a brand new breath. They are all chances to start over.
My Year of 30 Days 2016
January- 30 Days no alcohol
February- 30 days of Yoga
March 30 Days of Meditation
April- 30 Days of oil pulling (where it all began)
May- 30 Days Vegetarian
June- 30 Day plank challenge
July- 30 Day crunch challenge
August- 30 Day butt and gut challenge
September- 30 Day Beach Body challenge
October- 30 Day creative writing challenge
November- 30 Day squat challenge and Gratitude challenge
December- 30 Days of vitamins and suppliments
My Year of 30 Days 2018
January- Goal Setting and visualizations ( I even wrote and recorded a meditation for manifesting this)
February- "Financial February"
March- "Minimilist March"
April- 30 Day Burpee challenge
May- 30 Day Ab challenge
June- Morning Routine
July- No challenge complete (the summer consumed me)
August- Self Care month
September- no challenge completed
November- Gratitude challenge
December- Running challenge
My Year of 30 Days 2020
January- Morning Routine
March- Osho’s Kundalini Meditation
May- Squat Challenge
June- Plank Challenge
August- Positive Affiliations
October- No Social Media
December- Random Acts of Kindness