As the chaotic year that has been 2020 starts drawing to its conclusion, I am taking a moment to look back, remind myself of events and goals, see what lessons I learned, and analyse how life has flowed during the year.
I have included some old family photos in this post. Not my usual style, but in the spirit of keeping it real and looking back I thought they might be fitting.
Looking back over a year of monthly goals is a simple way to notice any general improvements or challenges. It is easy to notice those areas needing some attention, and celebrate any progress made towards living the life I want.
This is why I set myself challenges. They make me move towards my small and then big goals. They keep me constantly and gently striving for self-improvement.
I would recommend this practice to anyone wishing to make a few positive changes in his or her life.
My real reason to improve all the little things is that together they add up to the big thing – which is the creation and sustaining of living a simple beautiful life.
I am a big believer in aiming for continual habit change. Trying to move away from bad habits (nail biting for me, and more) and towards good habits (including like daily meditation, water drinking, stretching, and improving focus) ensures that I spend time and energy on the things that matter in moving me positiviely forward.
Here is the 2020 Challenge Recap
HEALTH sun salutations & core exercises & water & daily exercise and run 2 times a week SELF meditation & writing & visualisation & learning something new every day WEALTH spend 2 hours minimum a day on my digital business – working with a system including: Doing one thing at a time Organising my work with Leo Babauta’s Most Important Task Taking action to achieve my goals, not only laying foundations SOCIAL finish reading L’art de la Simplicité start reading The One Thing invite friends for outdoor meet-ups organise a neighbourhood get together celebrate 2 family birthdays – my husband & my youngest
HEALTH Sun salutations & core exercises & water & daily exercise Run 2 x a week SELF Meditation & writing & visualisation & French & learning something new every day Take some days off – away from everything digital WEALTH Spend a minimum of 2 hours a day on my digital business Take ACTION to achieve my goals, not just learning or list checking Do ONE THING AT A TIME (which includes closing extra tabs and turning ALL phone notifications off) – again Purpose my day with Leo Babauta’s Most Important Task – again SOCIAL Restrict my Netflix watching, if at all. Consider canceling. Invite friends for outdoor meetups
HEALTH Sun salutations & core exercises & water & daily exercise Run 2 x a week SELF Meditation & writing & visualisation & French & learning something new every day Spring clean and play the Minimalists’ 30 DAY MINIMALISM GAME to declutter further WEALTH Spend minimum 2 hours minimum a day on my digital business Take more action, not just learning Do ONE THING AT A TIME (which includes closing extra tabs and turning ALL phone notifications off) SOCIAL Restrict my Netflix watching to weekends and only life-enriching viewing! Make contact with friends for outdoor meetups
HEALTH Sun salutations and glass of water morning and evening – YES Run TWICE a week – ALWAYS ONCE, SOMETIMES TWICE SELF Meditation – spirituality YES French – 15 minutes of brain gym YES Learning – Blinkist or Medium or a podcast or video YES Visualize my future YES Write a minimum of 1 page of free-flow creative writing YES Get behind my old Nikon SLR and use it NO, NOT ONCE Get in front of my phone & video myself sharing something YES, EVERY SINGLE DAY WEALTH Spend 2 hours every day on my digital business! YES Consider what is The Most Important Thing as I start work each morning, and afternoon YES, MOSTLY, ONGOING HABIT CHANGE Read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – NO, BUT READ A FEW OTHER BOOKS SOCIAL Restrict my Netflix watching to weekends YES Restrict my choice to foreign films YES
HEALTH Sun salutations A glass of water morning and evening at least Run 2 x a week SELF Meditation French – 15 minutes of brain gym Some learning – Blinkist or Medium or a podcast or video Visualize my future Write a minimum of 1 page of free-flow creative writing Take photos of my beautiful local haunts Some quiet fun activity with the girls WEALTH Spend 2 hours minimum a day on my digital business SOCIAL Focus on social media this month!
HEALTH Sun salutations A glass of water morning and evening at least Run 2 x a week. And some cycling SELF Meditation French Blinkist – 1 book a day WEALTH Launch my own digital business! YES SOCIAL Make some new connections and contact some old
HEALTH sun salutations glass of water morning and evening at least run 3 x a week (should lockdown ease up. Here’s hoping) SELF meditation French WEALTH online business course – minimum 1 hour SOCIAL keep practising Letting It Go – unless it really matters
HEALTH sun salutations glass of water morning and evening at least SELF meditation French WEALTH online business course – minimum 1 hour SOCIAL No nail biting – so challenging at the moment! Practise Letting It Go – unless it really matters
HEALTH 4 Sun Salutations a day At least one glass of water SELF Meditation every day 10 minutes of play or rest every day to gain perspective WEALTH Considered spend month SOCIAL -
HEALTH 4 yoga Down Dogs a day Water every day & only weekend wine SELF Meditation every day – 21 day Deepak Chopra Health meditation challenge again WEALTH No spend month Cash grocery envelopes SOCIAL -
no challenges as summer holiday with visiting family
Looking back over the year the first thing I see is that I have achieved some movement in my life. I have made some progress in creating the simple, beautiful life for which I am aiming.
Changes have happened both large and small. Some of the small habits have had big effects.
I have identified some big wins and some areas needing more attention. Knowledge of both is good to know so I can continue to grow and evolve.
1. Setting Monthly Challenges Fits Habit Change Advice
The days, weeks and months keep coming. And before we know it a year has passed. Have we used our time wisely?
Every goal guru tells us if we want to change, we need to take small, consistent action.
Habit change advice also tells us that a certain period of time needs to pass before a new habit is formed. The figure varies from 21 days (which can be traced back to Dr. Maxwell Maltz’s “Psycho-Cybernetics,” published in 1960), to 90 days and even beyond.
I have found that setting monthly challenges is such a great way to take small steps over 30 days. The challenge can always kep going for the following months if need be.
2. Monthly Challenges DO Help To Change Habits
Looking back over a year of monthly challenges is such a valuable exercise, I say again!
It is motivating to see that change has happened. Because it is not easy to see any life change while plugging away day in and day out.
Looking back over the year, however, is one able to see that the small daily decisions to try, accumulate. They have a domino effect (as discussed by James Clear in his book Atomic Habits_ Tiny Changes) and can create some sizeable change. Seeing change has happened is thrilling!
3. Monthly Challenges DO Support Big Goals
By consistently taking small steps every day, time passes and these all add up to making big changes.
Some of the life-changing things I have accomplished in the past year include:
- I launched a business, and am learning every day, keeping me feeling inspired and purposeful.
- I have developed a regular meditation practice, which has improved the way I interact with life.
- I stretch every day, and am taking care of my back this way, saving me pain and money, and empowering me in self-care.
- I drink lots more water, and my alcohol intake has plummeted, which leads to improved overall feelings of positivity.
- I journal every day, which helps to clear the mind and help me focus on the essentials.
4. Monthly Challenges Can Be Tailored
There is always room for more evolution. More flexibility and movement and change, in all 4 areas – Health, Wealth, Self and Social. So monthly challenges can be kept, but tailored to meet us where we find ourselves. Here are some personal examples:
- My meditations could get longer, and deeper. So I could add in a detail now that I have secured the goal of daily meditation. For example 20 minutes of meditation.
- My visualisations could gain clarity and focus. For example specify that I do a month of 5 senses reality visualisation.
- My journaling could be longer. For example I could add 3 pages, now that I am in the habit of journalling 1 page a day.
- My work can certainly improve with a focus on the most important thing. This will be a primary focus in 2021.
- Linked to this my time spent with my family could become more simple and clear. For example I will put my phone away during breakfast and dinner to be completely present.
- And in 2021 I WILL stop the nail biting. Just watch me!
5. Monthly Challenges Simplify Life
Looking back over the year I notice how my life has become more, but less?!
My challenges have become more structured. They have also become more numerous. But they have also become easier to achieve because I am in the habit of habit change.
I now have a simple system to change – namely a handful of habits that I prioritise, every month. They are now better organised, into the 4 quadrants, and so more clear, and simple to achieve.
Some of the challenges which have continued through 2020, I can now consider regular healthy habits in place:
- drinking water
- running twice a week
- creating work with my business
With all these healthy habits in place, my quality of life has improved.
6. Monthly Challenges Support Big Life Stuff
With my ongoing focus on myself, my mindset is changing. This is the foundation upon which I create the way in which I spend my time, and my life:
- I am now more comfortable with self-care. Before I did not give myself that much consideration. I now take better care of myself.
- I am getting to know myself better. With this journey of self-knowledge go the lessons of self-acceptance. I am easier. Life is easier.
- Better self care and self knowledge is improving my relationships, because I am more ok with me.
- Meditation and coming from this, the spirituality and philosophy which I am learning, is suporting me through the challenging times. As such I have improved coping skills. And if ever a year needed those so far, it has been 2020.
7. Monthly Challenges Forever
I am not sure why I began with monthly challenges. But I have found it to be a life-enhancing way of improving my quality of life. It is a way of living with which I intend to continue.
I could shout it from the mountaintops – JOIN ME!
I am no habit guru, just a girl, wanting to live well. And I have found that setting monthly challenges really helps to do this.
So go ahead. Create some small, doable, actionable habits. And your life may well begin to change.
For me having some form of accountability and support makes the journey so much easier.
I was fortunate enough to have found a community this year. The teams and members have supported me through much personal growth and helped when I was stuck in business too.
I have learnt current and practical skills which have enabled me to start my own business. The fundamental learning however, has been the personal evolution.
I can not recommend this journey enough. But I do. And you can have this too. I started by watching their free training videos. I then continued through so much ongoing mindset education.
So if you want to grow and learn and enrich your life, join us. Click on the button if you would like to get started just like I did by watching the training videos.
It all began because I joined up with an amazing online community of educators in the digital entrepreneurial world.
To say 2020 has been a life-changing year for me would be true.
- Along with learning relevant digital skills which have enabled me to start a new business online, I have experienced vast levels of personal growth.
- I have a better idea of areas which need a bit more attention as the year winds down but as I keep 2021 firmly in my sights.
- I have an idea of the areas which are now flowing well; my foundations – like meditation, exercise and hydration.
- My 2020 challenges have made me move. Sometimes I did not achieve my goals, but quite often I did. And the small goals are adding up to become the big goals in my life.
- Thanks to ongoing habit change I am observing myself co-create a simple beautiful life. That is a link to my Instagram page which is full of serene seascapes around my home, and wise quotes.
So if you are ready to start heading in some new direction (even if you don’t yet know what it is) and learn new relevant skills to create your own income, add your email to the red button below and watch the free videos you will receive.
It might just be as life-changing for you as it has been for me, so far.
If you want to join me in going through 2021, please leave a comment below. I would be happy to have the company and the accountability.