It’s that time of year again. The arbitrary beginning when we feel extra bold that we can develop a new habit for an entire year. My sarcasm is clear but it’s only to emphasize a remixed structure that both my wife and myself have found much more useful and appropriate.
Instead of new years resolution, we do 24 x 30 day challenges (2 per monthly cycle). Each month has a positive and a negative. In short each month we have a theme of Do ______ and Don’t _______.
This will be the third year my wife and I have done this format. The first year was shaped like a competition, with one self. Some monetary bonus if the month was completed perfectly. Even though we were competing with our selves and not one another, we stopped looking at as a competition so as to keep the peace. The second year we called them 30 day challenges, with months that had a 31st day being like a mini mardi gras. Whatever the challenge was, we splurged in its spirit.
Everyone loves lists:
Below is a list of our 2017 challenges. I’m bolding ones that turned out positive for whatever reasons; most commonly we enjoyed the challenges that developed positive habits beyond the 30 days, gave us perspective, and/or strengthened our own relationship as we pushed through together. Those with a
strikethrough didn’t work out. This may be due to timing, or how we structured the challenge, but it just didn’t jive for us. If it’s just plain text the challenge was fine but didn’t necessarily enrich or degrade or experience.
Do log our food journal daily / Don’t eat sweets.
Splurge – milkshakes at Great Shakes in Riverside, CA
Do complete our 3 activity rings / Don’t eat out or order in.
Splurge – new running shoes
Do eat a fruit and/or vegetable with every meal / Don’t eat unhealthy snacks.
Splurge – none (that I can remember)
Do read with son daily / Don’t spend overbudget (which means also track our spending carefully)
Splurge – nice expensive dinner date
Do eat utilizing local business only (grocery and food chain stores not allowed) / Don’t drink coffee.
Splurge – In ‘n’ Out
Do floss daily / Don’t eat red or white meat (fish okay)
Splurge – BBQ ribs
Do walk 10000 steps daily (weekly average okay to balance) / Don’t use electronic devices in the bedroom.
Splurge – watching TV and sitting on the couch
Do squat and push up challenge daily / Don’t have alcohol (unless used in cooking and alcohol is burned off)
Splurge – I had a beer, my wife at the time was pregnant (due April 2018) and did not.
Do walk for 30 minutes daily / Don’t have any caffeine
Splurge – COFFEE!!
Do have family dinner together daily / Don’t have any refined sugar (artificial sweetener in moderate doses acceptable)
Splurge – notice that this is Halloween candy month, and no sugar. Halloween night was a sweets fest for us, like being a kid again
Do a 7 min workout everyday / Don’t stay up late (10ish).
Splurge – none, didn’t do great this month. Weird month with lots of sickness and pregnancy discomfort that interrupted the workouts. Some months are better than others in performance.
Do read for at least 1/2 hour, on paper, with infant son if possible / Don’t purchase anything for personal use (purchasing food or drink for personal use is okay)
Splurge – we were both on Amazon as the month wrapped.
We’re recycling and remixing most of our challenges for this coming year, so far the only changes we’re seeing are
- Family Dinner is being substituted with Family Activity for 1 hour (no-electronics)
- Do meet a water intake goal (to be partnered on month with no alcohol)
Why we keep doing it.
It’s nice to be challenged together. Sometimes partners do not always have the same struggles. These are manufactured and self-inflicted, but all structure goes through mutual debate and agreement. Exceptions and boundaries are brought to the surface at the beginning of each new cycle. This experience is also more manageable in an ongoing timeline. We don’t start strong in January then completely forget what it was be June. It’s every month, every year, with a slight refresh around day 1 of 365.
For those that are interested. This is a #slowchat reply to the #IEedchat post at the beginning of 2018.
— Inland Empire EdChat (@ieedchat) January 1, 2018