Challenges, Happiness, Lifestyle


April 13, 2016

One of the reasons I wanted to start this blog was to come up with challenges that I could do on a monthly basis. I would write about my experiences during the challenges and this blog would act as a sort-of diary for me, while maybe acting as a reference for anyone else thinking about completing a similar (or exact) challenge. The internet is abuzz with 30-day challenges for things ranging from planking to veganism to well, blogging. So why shouldn’t I partake and throw my proverbial hot into the ring?

one thing I won’t challenge myself with is being disorganized.

I have gone through some challenges in my life (haven’t we all), so now I am making up official-sounding titles for them and writing about my experience. That is what I aim to do. I will create a category for these challenges, naturally, because one thing I won’t challenge myself with is being disorganized. Before I started the blog, I made up a list of things I would do and what month I would do them. I was very ambitious, you see, and I haven’t gotten to a lot of them (luckily it’s not even mid-April as I write this). I did start a challenge at the beginning of April that wasn’t on my list, but more on that in a bit. Here’s the list I originally made for myself for 2016, annotated with progress:

  • Start a blog! February: well, it was started (built) for me by ThirdValve (thanks!) and my first post went up on February 8, so I guess I can check that one off as a success!
  • Be vegetarian for a month March: I actually went vegetarian for a solid four days, then got derailed because Wonderful Steve made me dinner and forgot that chicken was temporarily out of my diet. It’s good for the planet and good for your body so I vow to return to this one at a later time. Stay tuned…
  • Run a non-stop mile March: well now this one was not even attempted. Of course, I have high hopes that it will, and soon, but I cannot make any promises.
  • Write a letter to someone once a weekday for a month April: this one, I really SHOULD do, since I have plenty of wonderful family members to write letters to.
  • Compliment a new person once a day for a week, see how it goes and try again another week April: this one was dreamed up after a stranger complimented me on my hair (“you have great hair,” he said, very unexpectedly while I was on a walk, probably with a scowl on my face about something. I think he knew I needed it and it made me smile. Scowl was gone. It was very nice of him and I thought maybe I should do the same for someone.). This one is also a must-do for another time.
  • Graduate from school May: working on it! I’m in graduate school and am nearing the term where I have to “s*** or get off the pot”, as my mother would say. I need to finish what I started and graduate. That is the plan. I will probably blog about this one day.
  • Read a new book every month into 2017– that’s 12 new books a year, which is currently at about a 12-more-per-year pace than I am at now! June: ambitious that I will actually do this one. I have great books to read in my bookcase.
  • Turn 34 – it’s going to happen, I hope, so I might as well plan for it in July: still on track for this one.
  • Obtain my Professional Engineering (PE) license December: working hard on this one as well. Hence, the not reading any books or running any miles excuses.

One challenge I did start in April was to give up alcohol for a month. I had been having some digestion and heartburn issues (thanks in part to Celiac disease and just having a poor diet in general). I got the idea after reading Going Dry: The Benefits of a Month Without Booze, which sited some health benefits. Apparently, it’s not that uncommon of a practice. People will sometimes have a “dry January” to sort of ‘reset’ things and take a break after the holiday indulgences. I am not treating the rest of my year like it’s constantly New Year’s Eve, but I figured I could use a break. I decided to make April my dry month for a couple different reasons. Here they are:

  1. I had PE exam 2/3 (California-specific seismic principles) looming (just took it this past weekend)
  2. I had my school journal review paper to finalize, a presentation to make and give on the paper, and an 8-hour comprehensive exam to prepare for to satisfy my graduation requirements (still looming)
  3. I wanted to see if I could do it. So far, so good
  4. I thought my sleep would improve, that I would be more (better?) rested

Not drinking for the last 12+ days (I had a gluten free beer at around 2PM on March 31 and nothing since) has been a little challenging. Like I said before, I’m not a partier, but I do like a glass of red wine at night and a couple beers on the weekend, especially when I do yard work. Regardless, taking something out of your diet always feels like a restriction and sometimes, that makes you crave it more. Those feelings come and go, but mostly, they are gone.The indigestion has gotten a lot better, and I haven’t had a heartburn ‘attack’ since that last beer. I have also been good about portion controls, cutting out soda, and limiting my sugar intake. I have not been in social situations where I have had to defend myself or felt like I was ‘going without’. I simply have been too busy. In this way, it’s not a true challenge, right? But that is alright, we do the best with what we’ve got at the time.

I’ll work on completing challenges and coming up with new ones once I get on a roll. For now, I have some catching up to do and a master’s degree to get! Take care and don’t forget:

“Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.” -George S. Patton

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  • Reply BILL Henn April 14, 2016 at 12:05 am

    Charming, as usual. Erin writes witty and pithy … but most importantly … interesting prose. I’d be a big fan even if (full disclosure here) she weren’t my friend.

    • Reply Erin April 14, 2016 at 2:23 am

      And I am oh-so-glad to be your friend. Thank you for the comment!

    Leave a Reply to BILL Henn Cancel Reply