2019 Challenges

accuracy afternoon alarm clock analogue
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As the new year approaches, it is time for many to start gathering their New Year’s Resolutions.  I’m not a fan of resolutions.  Mainly because I never seem to be able to keep them going for an entire year.  This year I have decided that instead of generic resolutions like, “I will lose weight” or “I will pay off debt”, I am going to give myself more specific challenges that will keep me more accountable week-by-week.  I tend to do better with things if I see progress being made.  Generic resolutions like “I will lose 20 pounds this year”, don’t and won’t work for me.  Smaller challenges however, where I can see progress throughout the weeks and months, make it more of a game and help keep me on track.

52 Week Money Savings Challenge

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This is one challenge that I started in 2018 and one that I actually completed (well, minus a few missing weeks).  First let me say that I am not at all a good saver.  When I have money, I spend money.  I am trying to change many aspects of that sentence.  I want to save more, and I also want to spend less in 2019, so to start, I am going to challenge myself to another 52 week money challenge.  For those that have never seen this challenge, you basically start the first week of the year by saving $1.00.  Week two, you save $2,00.  Week three, you save $3.00… and so on and so on.  In 2018, I used this as my Christmas savings fund.  Although it did not cover my complete Christmas spending budget, it did cover a huge portion of it, which meant for the first time in my entire adult life (no joke here), I was able to have a DEBT FREE CHRISTMAS!!  As you can see from the photo above, I was able to save $1318.00 in 2018 just by completing this challenge.  Just as a side note, I do find that this challenge is easier if you do not follow it week by week.  There were weeks when I found I had a little more money than other weeks, so on those weeks, I would jump to the $40.00-$50.00 savings.  On the weeks when things were tight, I would just stick with the $10.00-$20.00 savings.  That is why there are red check marks by the different weeks.  Each week as I would transfer money from my checking to my savings, I would just simple check off whatever amount I was transferring that week.

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30 Day Minimalist Challenge

This 30 day Minimalist Challenge is rather simple in concept.  It is rather similar to the savings challenge.  The basics are that on day one of the challenge, you get rid of 1 item.  On day two, you get rid of 2 items.  Day three, 3 items.  This goes on for 30 days until on the last day, you get rid of 30 items.  This will equal 465 items being purged within those 30 days (either donated, recycled or thrown out if it is just clearly junk).  I will be the first to admit this sounds a little overwhelming.  However, I’ve already started the process (detailed blog to follow) and I find that I have SO MUCH STUFF that this is not as difficult a task as I expected.  Keeping in mind that the items that I am letting go of do not have to be large items.  As an example, for the first week of my “purge” challenge, I focused on my makeup area.  I can honestly say that I could probably do a full 30 day minimalist challenge on JUST my makeup and toiletries alone.  Between all of the old makeup that I have held on to (for what reason I do not know) and all the little samples and things we tend to accumulate, I have easily been able to find my daily items the first week of this challenge.

I discussed my need to try and explore the minimalist lifestyle in a previous blog.  My desire to live a more balanced life without so much “stuff” surrounding me has been calling to me for some time now.  As I’ve gotten older, I notice that having “things” is not as important to me anymore.  Honestly, having “to many things” causes me stress and anxiety.  I by no means will ever reach the level of extreme minimalist.  I do still love having my hobbies and purchasing clothing, but I will just be cutting back on both of these purchases in the upcoming year to only what I need- instead of binge buying (this will also help me in my goal of getting out of debt, which is a whole topic in itself).  My main goal now is purging all of the overwhelming amount of unneeded and unnecessary items we have in our home.  With less stuff comes a simpler life.  That’s all I am really looking for.  Just to live a simpler more productive life doing the things I enjoy. I would like for 2019 to give me more experiences, rather than “things”.  I believe this challenge will help get me where I want to be.

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My 365 Day Blog Challenge

Now this challenging is really going to be a challenge.  🙂   One might wonder why would someone challenge themselves to something that is so extreme?  I guess the best explanation is that I simply love to write.  Writing is both calming and therapeutic for me. I feel my brain is a little less cluttered every time I take a minute to put down into words all the things that are floating around inside my head.  Let’s face it, life is just busy.  I truly believe we tend to take ourselves for granted because we are so busy just trying to get through the day, week, month.  Many of the things we really enjoy doing often take a back seat to work, running errands, cleaning the house and the numerous other things that take up the waking hours of our day.  This is my way of trying to make myself take the time each day to sit down and do something I enjoy.  I found this wonderful list of journal prompts one day and the thought kind of sprung into my head that I could use these as prompts to do a daily blog!  So as the idea rolled around in my brain, I decided that I would give it a try by using one of those random number generator websites and each morning, whatever number it provides, that is the corresponding prompt I will use for that day.  I won’t give up my other blog posts about travel, our debt-free journey, weight loss journey and the minimalist lifestyle.  This is just an experiment to myself to see if I will allow myself the time to do something for me.

 

So, those are my 3 main challenges for 2019.
There are of course various other things that I am challenging myself to this year as well, such as:
1.) Working on getting out of debt
2.) Continuing my weight loss journey through Lazy Keto eating
3.) Starting an exercise routine (and sticking to it)
4.) Improving my work environment

I have a lot of work ahead of me, but I am excited to see what direction 2019 leads me in.
And the journey continues…..

 

Back from Paris and on with Life

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Four months later, here I am… finally getting back to my blog!

So much has been happening the last several months since I went M.I.A.  I successful survived my first international travel and spent an entire month away from home in Paris (both working and playing).  I’ve done some other traveling as well since returning home…. all much closer to home then France, but still fun and happy adventures.  Don and I also started a new way of eating to try and get our weight under control (I came back from Paris with about 15 pounds of croissants and baguette weight).  We decided 2 months ago (9 weeks to be exact) to start eating KETO.  High fat, moderate protein and low carb.  I’ll discuss more about our keto journey in a separate blog.  We also recently celebrated our one year wedding anniversary!  Ahhh…  1 year married, but almost 15 years together (I am apparently a very patient person).

Right now I am going to focus on looking back on the month I lived in Paris!   So many good memories and also some tribulations, but regardless of good or bad, this was probably my biggest life adventure….  so far!

I left for Paris May 26th, Memorial weekend.  I did not return home until June 24th.  I have some mixed feelings about the trip.  I am very grateful to my company for sending me on this adventure and allowing me to basically live and work in another country for an entire month.  Yet, I cannot say that if given the opportunity I would do it again.

I know it is probably difficult for people to comprehend that a free month long trip to Paris could be anything but fabulous.  Yet, it is important to keep in mind that I am someone that deals with pretty extreme anxiety and I suffer from intense panic attacks.  To add to this, I also have some OCD issues that I deal with on a daily basis.  When you add all of these things together, what I find is best for me to stay as mentally stable as possible is routine.  This is part of why I consider myself an introvert.  I feel much more comfortable and happy when I am home in my own familiar environment.  So, as one can probably detect from all of this, leaving home for a month and going to another country was about as outside of my comfort zone as I could get.

So many Paris memories to share, but to much to put into one blog.  Some of the highlights were flying business class for the first time and visiting so many different monuments and museums.  I took the most wonderful walking food tour on my first full day in Paris.  I was able to figure out the Metro and even went and saw a show at Moulin Rouge.  I had some fantastic food and got to know my Paris co-workers through some fun teambuilding activities.  However, even with all of these wonderful memories, I still remember nights of such intense homesickness that I still to this day am surprised I made it the full four weeks.

I am proud of myself that I made this journey and was able to accomplish so much on my own.  I learned a lot about myself and realized I was a lot stronger then I often give myself credit for.  By no means am I saying I was the most outgoing and adventures person while I was in Paris, but I do think that the things I did accomplish were major for me and for that reason, I am happy with the outcome.

More Paris stories to follow….. as well as many more life adventures!

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Why a Blog? Why Now?

Hello All!  I am so excited to began my first blog.

I have always been a big fan of journaling and also an obsessive photographer.  This blog seemed to be a creative way of joining these two hobbies into one.  I have done several personal journals, but I wanted to have an outlet where I could share my thoughts and experiences with others.

I decided to finally give blogging  a try because this is going to be a very active year for me.  I have some pretty amazing adventures coming up soon, so I hope you join me on this crazy ride. I am more than certain there will much comedy, good times and some life contemplation along the way.

**Keep an eye out for my posts coming in May and June when I will be spending 4 weeks in France for a work assignment.  I will be taking my first international trip and to top it off, I will be going alone (except for a week visit from my fabulous cousin – where we will be running around like American Tourists in Paris).  This is going to be especially entertaining as I do not speak any French, so I will let everyone join in on all my embarrassing and awkward moments that are assured to transpire.